Stop Mass Incarceration Network Marches in L.A. MLK Parade

February 1, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Led by a 10-foot banner reading “MASS INCARCERATION + SILENCE = GENOCIDE / Break the Silence," a lively and passionate group of people—of diverse ages, nationalities, and backgrounds—marched with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) contingent in L.A.’s huge Martin Luther King, Jr. parade this year. The parade attracted tens of thousands of people and had over 300 floats and marching units this year. 

In the SMIN contingent: an ex-Pelican Bay SHU prisoner marched with a mother whose son was part of the prisoner hunger strike in 2011; a young woman whose father, brother and step-father are all in jail marched with others who don’t have these personal experiences but don’t want to live in a world that has no future for the youth. Some people wore t-shirts matching the slogan on the SMIN banner and some wore t-shirts with the words: I am part of the thousands working on the revolution." A group of 20 Aztec dancers with placards against mass incarceration attached to their drums, danced the whole parade route. And a crew of young women who had just met each other that day worked out their own dance steps to the drums, full of excitement and real determination, as they chanted out the slogans to the crowds. “Mass incarceration / NO MORE! / Solitary torture / NO MORE! / School-to-prison pipeline / NO MORE! / Police killing youth / NO MORE!” 

All along the way, people watching the parade joined in yelling out “NO MORE” as the contingent passed them. A few people, like two young women who had been beaten by the police outside their high school, jumped in to march for a ways. Stop Mass Incarceration stickers and Bear Witness! flyers, which detail the facts about the genocidal direction of mass incarceration, were distributed along the route and some copies of the "Call to End Hostilities" among the different racial groups in prison from SHU prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison were distributed at the closing festival.

Revolution Club members were an active part of this Stop Mass Incarceration Network contingent and also went into the crowds of thousands, passing out cards widely, promoting the Bob Avakian interview currently airing weekly on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio, calling on people to get into the leadership we have to make the revolution we need and to donate for the BA Everywhere campaign. A couple of hundred Revolution newspapers were distributed. The parade also passed by a banner promoting the BA interview that was put up along the route by supporters of the BA Everywhere campaign. Two girls who got a card, looked at it and said, “Hey, WE were passing out these cards too! We got them from people who came to our school.” After the parade plans were made for a listening party of the upcoming interview segment.

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