By Ryan Velez
Christmas is a time to be spent with family, but many others take the time to use it for philanthropy and even activism. The Root reports that Justice L.A. is “dropping” beds outside of shopping centers across Los Angeles County—from Inglewood to Calabasas—to encourage a public conversation about the fight against mass incarceration.
“Justice L.A. formed on Sept. 26, 2017; we are a campaign that fights for the dignity of our communities. Currently, Los Angeles County is the largest jailer in the world and emblematic of the U.S. prison industrial complex.
This September, we stationed 100 beds in front of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to defend our communities’ right to lives free of jails and policing. We took a stance against the city’s plans to spend $3.5 billion to expand the local jail system. Los Angeles County must reinvest in opportunities for our communities and loved ones who are incarcerated,” explains Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and writer of the article for The Root.
This combines art and activism to make a powerful message. “This project is about showing the love and compassion to my family. Our community has been separated, caged and sold off for generations. I hope the bed inspires people to write and think of their loved ones in prison,” shared Jasmine Nyende, artist and member of Justice L.A.
“Mass incarceration, from prisons to deportations and detentions, teaches us to be silent about our loved ones who are locked up. #JailBedDrop hopes to challenge this. We see #JailBedDrop as an integral piece of our movement’s legacy to art as a form of resistance. Art and activism are not silos; rather, when interwoven, we’re able to better express, engage and encourage others.
“We invite everyone who comes across these beds to join in the larger conversation and take action against the county’s $3.5 billion prison plan. #JailBedDrop is about our movement’s call for abolition, for envisioning a world and a county where our communities are free and not restrained by the prison system,” adds Khan-Cullors. It is indeed easy to forget the troubles of others during the holidays, so a project like this fulfills a vital function.