Stand Strong, Stand Long

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Stand Strong, Stand Long

by Loretta Pierre
Southern Cultures, Vol. 27, No. 3: The Abolitionist South

"While I struggle, I will continue to study and learn about the struggles of others."

After spending almost thirty-three years in a Mississippi prison, on a hot summer day in 2020, I was contacted and invited to be a host of a radical study group.¬†What intrigued me about this program was that it was facilitated by grassroots organizations within the state, faculty members at universities across the country, and authors and civil rights activists around the world. Upon reading the literature provided free of charge, I now realize what I have thought and voiced for many years: prison is big business. Prison industry corporations in every state are making huge profits on the labor of incarcerated people. Commissary and phone companies are using price gouging tactics to profit as well. Jails, prisons, regional facilities, and immigration detention centers have become the ultimate examples of human trafficking and bondage. There are very few wealthy people in these types of institutions. Prisoners or detainees are mainly poor Black, white, Hispanic, or transgender people. In ice prisons and state-designated women’s prisons, people are undergoing unwanted hysterectomies at an alarming rate, literally making it impossible to have children and further reducing their bodily sovereignty.