The Moral Bankruptcy of a Violent State…protesting prison expansion and documenting police beatings at the Arkansas State Capitol (VIDEO INCLUDED).

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PROTESTER BLAKE DIGNE IS KNOWN TO THE GROUND BY A CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER

The Moral Bankruptcy of a Violent State…protesting prison expansion and documenting a police beating at the Arkansas State Capitol (including video).

THIS WAS MY FIRST TRIP TO THE ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL.

The full video of the rally is here:

https://fb.watch/baUb0jA4KT/

Plenty of shots is there (pass in the middle):

https://fb.watch/bauTSeS7Ic/

Today was an exhausting day. That said, I wanted to quickly create a blog with everything I have. Links to the full video of the rally and shots are above and below. We definitely live in a police state… Arkansas.

These are the first words of the press release I sent for UNITED AGAINST CAGES.

On February 10, Governor Hutchinson announced his support for the expansion of 500 new cages in the Calico Rock North Central Unit. This budget expenditure is expected to cost close to $100 million. Certainly, the budgets indicate what we value. Rather than supporting problematic incarceration systems, shouldn’t we be spending so much money on efforts that build and foster community? Imagine…affordable housing…pre-k expansion…pretrial diversion programs…mental health facilities…tuition-free community college…and so on. The possibility of community is why we are UNITED AGAINST THE CAGES!!!

UNITED AGAINST THE CAGES

11 AM / MONDAY FEBRUARY 14, 2022

ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL STEPS

On Monday, February 14, members of decARcerate, the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, and concerned citizens will rally on the steps of the Capitol to voice their opposition to a recently proposed prison expansion.

These are the words I spoke at the rally, UNITED AGAINST THE CAGES.

The Moral Bankruptcy of a Violent State

Understood. Thank you. Thank you. Well, hello. I’ve been living here for six months, six months, six months. We arrived in August.

You know what? When we stopped. And I started hearing people talk about more prisons, more cages, a lot of racism, a lot of other things that you’ve experienced almost wrapped up and turned around to find. Yeah it’s true. But ultimately, I have a firm belief that God is calling us into spaces of difference…difficult spaces.

Thank God calls us in difficult spaces. And it’s a tough space. It’s a tough place. It’s excuse me. A tough fight for a second. I want to involve everyone. We are 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. I’m coming. Very well. One at a time. Hit me with it: social workers, peer support specialists, addiction treatment. adequate food, adequate housing, mental health support, free health care for all, job training. A hundred million dollars could be a lot, wouldn’t it…

Well, you know, we’ve got a lot of Christians in Arkansas, a lot of people that say Arkansas Christians, including the. Well, you’ve heard all those examples of ways to love your neighbor as yourself, as opposed to locking them up.

You know, sometimes I worry that our governor left his Bible at home because when you talk about loving your neighbor as yourself, you’re talking about providing resources for your neighbor. You talk about providing an education to your neighbour. You talk about providing mental health services to your neighbour. You talk about health care for your neighbor, but no, our governor seems to think that’s the best way to love your neighbor. Is it that instead of helping people instead of educating people, instead of offering a quality of life to people, we are about to lock them up, what do we say of a society that builds prisons instead of schools? What about a society that builds cells instead of mental health clinics? I’ll tell you what it says… That society is morally bankrupt.

We are here to create a moral society. It starts today.

Finally, I received a phone call last night from a member of the media. They asked me a question that I often get asked about these rallies: “Will there be violence at this rally?” Everyone is always afraid of violence. Immediately I replied, isn’t Governor Hutchinson’s proposal already violent? He’s the one talking about locking up criminals who don’t even exist yet. It’s the tyrants/establishment who always want there to be no violence. Well, let me clarify something… I am a man of peace. But I am also a man of common sense. You cannot continue to put your heel to the throat of marginalized and oppressed populations and not expect them to respond. So if you don’t want violence… it would be wise to listen to their cries.

Amen. Amen. and amen.

The full video of the rally is here:

https://fb.watch/baUb0jA4KT/

These are quotes I gave in interviews after the rally.

“Ultimately the question is why? I mean, couldn’t we use that money to build communities, couldn’t we use that money for education, pre-kindergarten, mental health clinics,” Hood said.

Hood said when the state uses huge funds that go to prisons, they take away other opportunities to grow the community.

“When you spend $100 million on new prisons, you’re taking $100 million away from our seniors, our children, and all kinds of spaces, places, and communities that need it,” he said. he declares.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if every child in the state had the opportunity to get a good start, instead of what the governor is suggesting giving them a good ending,” he said.

“No one should have to exercise their rights under such duress. Unequivocal, Arkansas is a police state. -Tower. Dr. Jeff Hood

I was expelled from the rostrum for refusing to appear at the pledge.

I walked into the gallery of the Arkansas State Senate. During the national anthem, I remained seated (I promise no one but God). Immediately, I was expelled from the gallery. When I protested the violation of my First Amendment rights, I was told I could not return to the gallery. Also, the guy yelled at me and told me that I was not a real minister. I filed a complaint…then went to Governor Hutchinson’s address on the state of the state.

During the speech…

Members of our group interrupted the state of the state address to protest Governor Hutchinson’s $100 million jail plan.

Then the violence started.

We all had to go down the stairs and out the door. Tensions were undoubtedly high. When we got to a tunnel (under the Capitol stairs)…where there were apparently no cameras…the police started beating the protesters. Eventually we were locked out of the capital behind an iron gate.

Last press release of the day.

On Monday, February 14, members of decARcerate, Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, and concerned citizens gathered on the steps of the Capitol to voice their opposition to Governor Hutchinson’s recently proposed prison expansion. Later, nonviolent protesters interrupted Governor Hutchinson’s state of the state address and were evicted from the Capitol. After forcing the nonviolent protesters into the tunnel, officers (state troopers and Capitol Police) escalated the situation and brutalized the protesters in a covered tunnel under the Capitol steps. The incident resulted in numerous injuries and two arrests.

Plenty of shots is there (pass in the middle):

https://fb.watch/bauTSeS7Ic/

THIS WAS MY FIRST TRIP TO THE ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL.

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