How Students Are Getting Involved With The National Prison Strike

How Students Are Getting Involved With The National Prison Strike


Today marks the first day of the 19-day national prison strike by incarcerated Americans against inhumane conditions in their institutions. Incarcerated people in 17 states are participating in various ways, such as through peaceful sit-ins or hunger strikes.

Organizers of the strike have released a list of demands, as seen in the tweet above. The list includes improving treatment of incarcerated people, repealing specific initiatives that target prisoners, and more.

The national prison strike calls for an end to modern day slavery within the American prison system. August 21 is a significant day to begin the strike because it’s the same day Nat Turner led a group of slaves in a rebellion in 1831. The end of the strike is September 9, the same day as the Attica prison uprising that took place in 1971.

This strike is sweeping the nation and looking to be one of the biggest prison protests the country has seen yet. There are a few ways that students who are interested are getting involved in the movmemt.

Spreading The Word

Organizers are asking people to spread the list of the demands everywhere. They want volunteers to retweet the Jailhouse Lawyers Speak with the list of demands. They’re hoping students share why they support and are in solidarity with prisoners, and that social media platforms get flooded with the hashtags #August21 and #prisonstrike to magnify incarcerated voices.

Acting Locally

This may be a national movement, but strike organizers are looking for help on the local level. So they’re asking people to reach out to community organizations. There may be ways to volunteer on a smaller scale. Those uncertain about where to start are connecting with organizers via email.

Making Noise On Campus

National Prison Strike poster created for people to use to amplify strike. Poster courtesy of Amanda Priebe.

It’s back-to-school season for many. Student activists are able to print out posters made by other strike supporters to hand out or set up on bulletin boards. Going analog sounds a little dated, but with everyone scouring the walls right now to see what’s going on around campus, there are few more effective ways of getting messages out no matter your political leanings.

Following The Money

There are a number of companies that exploit incarcerated people’s labor for profit. According to the Marshall Project, prisoners are forced to work under dangerous conditions making little to no money from these jobs. Allies outside of prison are being asked to be careful with their spending. Whether you intend on participating in a boycott or not, it can prove interesting to see which companies are cashing in on U.S. prisoner’s labor.

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