He has taken up a new initiative, and I am so thankful! Russell Simmons is leading a campaign charging President Obama to effectively address the unfair & unjust prison system in the USA. His main issues are the fact that American prisons are now increasingly becoming a “for-profit” venture, openly traded on the stock market. These prisons are overwhelmingly filled with African-Americans, who make up 13% of the USA’s population but are 40% of the USA’s prison population. This creates several issues, especially given the fact that African-Americans are unjustly targeted by laws & sentencing guidelines. There are more African-Americans in prison NOW than there were enslaved when chattel slavery was legal in America. With 2 of my own younger brothers recently becoming unjustly incarcerated, this chilling statistic has gotten ALOT closer to home.I understand this issue at a much deeper level.
The way prisons are blossoming in America affects all communities, as America houses a whopping 25% of the world’s prison population. Prison labor a.k.a slave labor is increasingly being utilized by corporations in America, and many goods that proudly display, “Made in the USA” are made from slave labor. Places like Macy’s & Target have goods that are created from imprisoned laborers who are getting paid as little as .87 cents/hour. This is a major issue, and most people are oblivious to it….but that is soon changing!
Russell Simmons has written a soon to be released open letter to President Obama charging him to take action about this issue. He has enlisted every celebrity from Kim Kardashian, to Jay-Z & Beyonce, to Lady Gaga to support this initiative and lead the charge with their voices as well. Like Gay Marriage or Immigration, PRISON REFORM will be America’s great next issue to provide a real solution for.
Enjoy the interview with Mr. Simmons on this subject, share your thoughts and share this experience!