Photos: Holyoke March Against Police Killings, Racism

On December 12 in Holyoke, there was a march to protest recent killings of unarmed black men by white police officers around the nation. At the head of the march, people carried a sign that read, "Black lives matter."

Photos of the march are below. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

photos by Joe Oliverio

As of 2003, an African American man in the USA had a one in three chance of spending part of his life in prison. The same year, a white man in the USA had a one in 17 chance of spending part of his life in prison. That's according to:

www.sentencingproject.org/template/page.cfm?id=122

The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond explains why the average black person is much poorer than the average white person. Rich people can afford better lawyers.

No other nation on earth incarcerates such a high percentage of its people. As of 2008, the USA had about 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. "England's rate is 151; Germany's is 88; and Japan's is 63." That's according to "U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations," an article by Adam Liptak that appeared in the New York Times on 4/23/2008.

According to the New York Review of Books, "Now and then a book comes along that might in time touch the public and educate social commentators, policymakers, and politicians about a glaring wrong that we have been living with that we also somehow don’t know how to face. 'The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness' by Michelle Alexander [published in 2010] is such a work."

On the book’s web site, she lists groups that work to reduce the number of prisoners in the USA:

www.NewJimCrow.com/take-action

Under pressure from grassroots activists, on December 11 Congress passed the Death in Custody Reporting Act. When signed by President Obama, the law will require the government to keep public records of how many people are killed by police, the race of the people involved, and more information about each police killing. Currently, these statistics don't exist.

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