Closing Jails One Playground at a Time

Photo of a jail in child's playgroundYesterday, we achieved another victory with the closing of a jailon the playground of a local housing project sponsored by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Sound weird? It should!! Last week, MXGM members noticed that a playground in the Tompkins Houses featured a “jail” section and immediately sprung into action. The playground was photographed and then posted on Black and Brown News which publicized the offensive playground and gave the people the tools to demand its removal.

It is rumored in the past that the “jail” was painted over by residents, but the same feature was reinstalled. The buzz generated around the offensive “jail” element this time got swift response from NYCHA. On Wednesday afternoon, NYCHA sent employees to the House’s playground to paint over the jail and bars as a temporarily solution. A more permanent solution will be coming soon. Chapter members are actively checking other playgrounds throughout  the city which may feature similarly dangerous images for our children.

The message sent to our children by a jail in the middle of where they live and play is one that we cannot afford to go unanswered. With the ever increasing schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline, we have to be very sensitive to the ways that our community is characterized and how folks try to socialize our children. With more Black people in “correctional control” now than were enslaved in 1850, it’s too common for our families to be broken up by the criminal injustice system. As we celebrate the closing of a jail for our babies, let’s continue the work of supporting our political prisoners and arming our people with their rights for self-defense. Salute to Ademola, Lumumba, Monifa and everyone who used people power for this victory!!!

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2 thoughts on “Closing Jails One Playground at a Time

  1. Aisha M says:

    When I read the NYT article on the wonderful work that Lumumba, Monifa and Ademola did to shut this “pipeline” down, much of the commentary sought to demonize parents in NYCHA housing.  Sadly, people were saying things such as “teach your kids how not to be criminals and you wouldn’t need to worry about this” and other similarly ignorant commentary.  I think this is a prime example of how our community has been desensitized to the plight that befalls all too many black and brown children.  Too many of us accept the school to prison pipeline as status quo — this is why I applaud the work of MXGM.  Get the word out! end injustice!


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