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By Scotty Reid – ACLU Action which is a division of the American Civil Liberties Union, is showcasing Black actor Michael Kenneth Williams in a email campaign. Williams is an American actor and dancer and he is best known for his portrayal of Omar Little on the HBO drama series The Wire. The Wire is a cable television series that looked at the drug war scene in Baltimore through the eyes of law enforcers as well as the drug dealers and users. Other facets of the city that are explored in the series are the government and bureaucracy, schools and the news media. The show was created by former police reporter David Simon, who also wrote many of the episodes.
The email campaign reads as follows,
Did you see Anthony’s email, asking you to sign the ACLU’s petition asking the Senate to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act? It’s the most significant criminal justice reform legislation to be considered by Congress in the last five years.
Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it’s particularly timely to talk about ending mass incarceration. This is unquestionably the greatest civil rights struggle of our time.
This issue is urgently important – to me and to millions of Americans. I grew up in New York City’s public housing and lost loved ones to the criminal justice system. I know what these reforms will mean for the thousands of people in our federal prisons – overwhelmingly people who are Black and Latino.
Dr. King said that his dream was “deeply rooted in the American dream.” President Obama made his own vision clear in his State of the Union address. It includes a system where an American may serve their time and start over – not be locked away in darkness and despair under an overly harsh sentence or punished in disproportionate, discriminatory ways.
We don’t have this system now. But we can begin to shape a new one.
Let’s honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and the millions he stood up for. Let’s commit to fighting for justice for all of us – and call on our leaders to fight, too.
Thank you for taking action,
Michael K. Williams for the ACLU Action team
Here is the problem with Mr. Williams and the way the ACLU Action team is framing the issue. Their point of view legitimizes the political position that people should have their freedom and liberty stripped away in accordance with unconstitutional drug laws. They are settling for less harsh prison sentences rather than calling for the outright abolishment of these laws. By invoking Dr. King, they seek to frame the issue as one of civil rights instead of as a matter of human rights. Human rights as defined by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 A as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.
Article 4 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all forms.
Article 4 is in steep contrast with the 13th Amendment of US Constitution which states that involuntary servitude and slavery can be used as a punishment for crime obtained through a conviction by a jury. There can be no doubt that through the drug laws today and enforced in the same manner and for the same reasons as the slave codes prior to 1865 and the black codes of Jim Crow after 1865 and the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
The prison slave labor force in the USA is the world’s largest and generates billions of dollars annually for the federal and state governments as well as Fortune 500 Companies who utilize prison slave labor in their business practices.
One cannot reform slavery nor the laws used to strategically target portions of the nation’s population base and subject them to 21st Century Slavery and Human Trafficking. The laws like the institution of slavery must be abolished and not reform as was the case after the civil war and why this problem still plagues the USA 150 years later.
Showcased celebrities and the ACLU must stop legitimizing modern slavery.
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