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The Film

It’s been over a year since the President has been in office, and we are asking him to address what is happening in the prisons and on our inner city streets because for the people on the bottom there is no “agenda.” He has to answer this because 6.7 MILLION of us are under “correctional supervision” and we are losing our communities.

This video is an excerpt of a letter written to Obama; see actual full letter here.

“Mr. President”

What It’s About:

1. Alienation

By ignoring the problem, we create refugees among our own people. Inmates return to society without a positive sense of community. They have lost the meaning of “we the people.”

2. Family

Unreasonable prison policies and a socially oppressive culture divide families and communities. Why doesn’t our system support fathers, husbands, and sons after they have already taken responsibility?

3.  Transparency

There is no accountability in Massachusetts’ Department of Correction (DOC) when the media is barred from facilities and independent oversight does not exist.  Why isn’t media allowed in? If the DOC claims to be open about abuse and mismanagement, why is the press constantly denied access?

4.   Leadership

We are in need of a shift in focus. How can our President visit Guantanamo Bay but fail to closely monitor our domestic prisons where 2.3 million Americans are held?

5. Accountability

Every prison system is different. Who is responsible for maintaining consistency? In coordination with the president, each state must be held accountable for rehablitation efforts. As citizens of Massachusetts, we must hold ourselves accountable for voicing our concerns on a local level.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2009 1:31 am

    Great video. Lets hope our President sees it!

  2. Dan Johnson permalink
    March 11, 2010 4:38 am

    Welcome to the United States, “the land of the prison.”

  3. March 15, 2010 4:35 pm

    I love this you have my permission to use “Street Serenade” from my album “God.Love & Music” available on all digital stores and Best Buy

  4. March 28, 2010 5:21 am

    An outstanding video. No one can tell the truth about our criminal injustice system the way our youth can, as it is their future being erased through mass incarceration, their families destroyed through the criminalization of entire communities. Hopefully Obama will hear their call and answer with justice.

    Prof. Michelle Alexander

    • June 28, 2010 3:37 pm

      Prof. Alexander;

      It is not the President that your statement should be put too. But rather have the incarcerated ask ” It is not why am I here, but rather why did I put myself here”. If all the incarcerated can answer that question then the population of the prisons and jails would be close to none existent. To often we seem to put blame on to others before we actually put the blame where it should be – on ourselves. Teaching and learning first comes from the family before you get it from the streets. Families no longer take the time or effort to teach their kids right from wrong or show tough love when they know their kids have done wrong. So a lot if not most of the blame comes from the family and not our legal system (yes there are a few bad apples with in the system). We as country vote in people to run the country the we they think we want then to run it. But ends up them running us and dictating on how we have to live our lives. In doing so it has allow this country to become more of a police country instead of a free country.. We need to police ourselves and our families then police those we vote into office. So in ending lets have the incarcerated answer their reasons why they are where they are and how can they help our future generations not to fellow their foot steps..

  5. Howard R. Lee permalink
    April 1, 2010 1:41 pm

    Why is the President a target here. To those 6.7 million that are under correctional supervision. President Obama didn’t put you there! I know there are injustices that happen in the world but let’s take some responsibility for the troubles we bring on ourselves. The whole world is watching President Obama. Don’t be stupid! Let’s get him re-elected first!!!!!
    Stop crying and help yourself!!!

  6. April 7, 2010 12:51 am

    We all say “our youth are our future” but this goes beyond words and rhetoric to illustrate the power of youth organizing. Using multi-media to convey their message, it’s hyper-local activism for a new generation of young people who care enough about their communities to question policy and promote transformation.

  7. May 10, 2010 12:23 pm


  8. Regina Kaniewski-Turcios permalink
    October 11, 2010 9:03 pm

    There are more than “a few bad apples” in the U.S. justice system. My husband grew up in a close – knit , Catholic family in Central America where the U.S. were training right wing assassination squads. He left to escape the brutal killings and the certainty of enforced conscription into the army, aged fifteen. He couldn’t have imagined that he would be fighting a more sinister war on the streets of L.A. which were filled with refugees. If he asks why he has spent the last 22 years in prison his answer will be simply that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time…it could have been ANYONE else ….as long as they were Hispanic. Someone fired a pellet gun at a party, no-one was badly hurt and he may NEVER get out of prison the way things are going …WAKE UP the U.S. is reaping what it has sown and it will only get worse.

  9. Clifford Gooden permalink
    October 23, 2010 5:12 pm

    I used your web-site to connect with the world about today’s modern day slavery issues. I want to join forces with your organization. I know that the 13th amendment is a weapon designed by our own government to destroy a mass of people. It is purely an evil amendment and if we fail to get involved to make changes, we become our own failure. I refuse to allow the government to have the power of modern-day-slavery to control us like he did our forefathers. Please go to change .org and review my petition titled: “Challenge the 13th amendment”. I need your help by signing that particular petition. Also to spread the word that a movement is being created to force Congress, under Article 5 of the U.S. constitution, to write an amendment in place of the unconstitutional 13th amendment. Let’s take action together. Also I will recruit others to sign your petition as well.

  10. Clifford Gooden permalink
    October 26, 2010 7:59 pm

    I got you 17 signatures for your petition on titled: obama answer this. I hope this will help you in your cause. I still would be interested in joining forces with your cause concerning my petition titled: Challenge the 13th amendment. Is there any way that you could get me signatures as well? If not, can you help me by signing my petition entitled above and spread the word to others you may know so that they can sign it as well? Please get back in contact with me asap at my e-mail address. thanks!!!!

  11. Sue deNimme permalink
    December 20, 2010 7:16 pm

    Obama did not invent nor do anything to perpetuate the ‘thug culture’ in our cities and schools. Only if we take action against the glorification of violence, crime and ignorance as a means of obtaining material possessions and social status, which is held up as a standard in our media and our communities, can the crisis of losing our community to the prisons be addressed.

  12. December 20, 2010 10:48 pm

    Please check out my petition and supporting video on, titled: Challenge the 13th amendment. I need peoples support to sign that petition to help try to make a change in the federal constitution.

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