Our Common Cause
By Hubert Jason, Wallens Ridge State Prison
To all my brothers and sisters under the sight and comprehension of my words, I implore you all to wake up and band together for this common cause. I have written several of our lawmakers applauding their support and passing of the good time earning bill. However, I asked them to revisit their support for expanding the bill to cover ALL felonies, period. I am only one man, with one pen, pushing for one message. We need as many men and women pushing their pens, writing the same message. That message as two points and is as follows:
Since the murder of George Floyd, Black people, Black voters, American advocates and lawmakers around the world have been marching and outwardly fighting for one main thing - Equality! By VA lawmakers amending the Good Time Earning Bill to exclude some violent crimes such as murder, robbery, sex offenders, etc. that does not promote the concept of equality. Governor Ralph Northam has been clear in saying all these prison reform bills he has signed into law are about second chances. The Governor himself received a very public second chance so is that to say that murderers, robbers, sex offenders etc. are not worthy or do not deserve a second chance? Cannot murderers, robbers, or sex offenders etc. be rehabilitated? Has a murdered, robber, or sex offenders ever been released from prison and lived a productive, successful life? Then why exclude them from the good time earning bill?
The African American culture has fought against inequality for over 400 years. We all agree that Jim Crow laws were oppressive and flat out wrong. What is the difference between "white only" "colored only" and "offenders with these crimes that display good behavior but can earn 30 days off their sentence for each 30 days they do but other offenders that display the same good behavior can only earn 4.5 days off their sentence for every 30 days they do? Excluding certain crimes for earning the new good time is the same as not allowing me to use this restroom or eat at this restaurant cause of the color of my skin.
So if these lawmakers really support the concept of equality, we all need to write them and bring these two points to their attention. Hopefully, our perspectives will impact them to support parole and good time earning for ALL. Please do you your part and write these lawmakers and get your friends, family, and associates to do the same. One man with one message is easy to go unnoticed but thousands of people with one message can't be denied.