PROTESTOR BLAKE WORTHY IS SLAMMED TO THE GROUND BY A CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER
The Moral Bankruptcy of a Violent StateProtesting Prison Expansion& Documenting a Police Beating at the Arkansas State Capitol (including video).
THIS WAS MY FIRST TRIP TO THE ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL.
Full video of the rally is here:
The full of the beating is here (skip to middle):
Today was an exhausting day. With that said, I wanted to quickly put out a blog with everything that I have. Links to the full video of the rally and the beating are above and below. We undoubtedly live in a police stateArkansas.
These are the initial words from the press release I sent out for UNITED AGAINST CAGES.
On Feb 10th, Governor Hutchinson announced support for an expansion of 500 new cages to the Calico Rock North Central Unit. This budgetary expense is projected to cost close to $100 million. Surely, budgets indicate what we value. Rather than propping up problematic systems of incarceration, shouldnt we be spending such money on efforts that build and foster community? Imagineaffordable housingpre-k expansionpretrial diversion programsmental health facilitiestuition-free community collegeand on and on and on. The possibility of community is why were UNITED AGAINST CAGES!!!
UNITED AGAINST CAGES
11AM / MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2022
ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL STEPS
On Monday, February 14th, members of decARcerate, Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition and concerned citizens will gather on the Capitol Steps to voice their opposition to a recently proposed prison expansion.
These are the words that I delivered at the rally, UNITED AGAINST CAGES.
The Moral Bankruptcy of a Violent State
Got it. Thank you. Thank you. Well, good morning. Ive lived here for six months, six months, six months. We got here in August.
You know what? When we pulled up. And I started hearing people talk about more prisons, more cages, a lot of the racism, a lot of the other things you experienced almost packed up and turned around to find it. Yeah, thats true. But ultimately, I have a firm belief that God calls us to spaces of differencedifficult spaces.
Thank God calls us to spaces that are tough. And this is a tough space. This is a tough spot. Thats excuse me. A tough fight for just a second. I want to get everybody involved. We talking about a hundred million dollars. I want you to think about what you could do with a hundred million dollars.
Hold on, hold on. Im coming around. All right. One at a time. Hit me with it: social workers, peer support specialists, substance abuse treatment. adequate food, adequate housing, mental health support, free healthcare for everyone, job training. A hundred million dollars could go a long way couldnt it
Well, you know, we got a lot of Christians, Arkansas, a lot of people that say that Christians in Arkansas, including the. Well, you have heard all of these examples of ways to love your neighbor as yourself, as opposed to locking up your neighbor.
You know, sometimes I worry that our governor left his Bible at home because when you talk about loving your neighbor as yourself, youre talking about providing resources to your neighbor. Youre talking about providing education for your neighbor. Youre talking about providing mental health services for your neighbor. Youre talking about healthcare for your neighbor, but no, our governor seems to think that the best way to love your neighbor. Is instead of helping people instead of educating people, instead of providing a quality of life for people, you get ready to lock them up, what does it say about a society that builds prisons instead of schools? What does it say about a society that builds cells instead of mental health clinics? Ill tell you what it saysThat the society is morally bankrupt.
We are here to create a moral society. It begins today.
Lastly, I got a phone call last night from a member of the news media. The asked me a question I get asked often about these rallies, Will there be any violence at this rally? Everybody is always scared of violence. Immediately I responded, isnt Governor Hutchinsons proposal already violent? Hes the one talking about locking criminals up that dont even exist yet. Its the bullies/the establishment who always want there to be no violence. Well let me make something very clear I am a man of peace. But I am also a man of common sense. You cant keep on putting your heel on the throat of marginalized and oppressed populations and not expect them to respond. So, if you dont want violenceit would be wise to listen to their cries.
Amen. Amen. and Amen.
Full video of the rally is here:
These are quotes that I gave during interviews after the rally.
Ultimately the question is why? I mean couldnt we use that money to build up communities, couldnt we use that money for education, pre-k, mental health clinics, Hood said.
Hood said when the state uses huge funds that go to prisons, they are taking away other opportunities to grow the community.
When you spend 100 million dollars on new prisons, you are taking 100 million dollars away from our seniors, our kids, and all kinds of spaces and places and communities that need it, he said.
Wouldnt it be amazing for every child in the state to have the opportunity to get a good start, instead of what the governor is suggesting giving them a good finish, he said.
No one should have to exercise their rights under such duress. Unequivocally, Arkansas is a police state. -Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood
I was kicked out of the gallery for refusing to stand for the pledge.
I entered the gallery of the Arkansas State Senate. During the national anthem, I remained seated (I pledge to no one but God). Immediately, I was kicked out of the gallery. When I protested that my first amendment rights were being violated, I was told that I could not return to the gallery. Furthermore, the guy screamed at me and said that I wasnt a real minister. I filed a complaintand then proceeded to Gov. Hutchinsons State of the State address.
During the address
Members of our group interrupted the State of the State address to protest Gov. Hutchinsons 100 million dollar prison plan.
Then the violence began.
We were all forced down the stairs and out the door. Tensions were undoubtedly high. When we arrived at a tunnel (under the capitol stairs)where there were seemingly no camerasthe police rushed us and began to beat protestors. Eventually, we were locked out of the capitol behind an iron gate.
Last press release of the day.
On Monday, February 14th, members of decARcerate, Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition and concerned citizens gathered on the Capitol Steps to voice their opposition to Gov. Hutchinsons recently proposed prison expansion. Later on, nonviolent protesters interrupted Gov. Hutchinsons State of the State address and were removed from the Capitol. Upon forcing the nonviolent protesters into the tunnel, officers (state troopers and capitol police) proceeded to escalate the situation by rushing and brutalizing protestors in a covered tunnel under the capitol steps. The incident led to numerous injuries and two arrests.
The full of the beating is here (skip to middle):
THIS WAS MY FIRST TRIP TO THE ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL.
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