Nipsey Hussle Recently Visited Cleveland To Talk About Voting

 Photography by Tyler Shaw (@tylerevanshaw)

Photography by Tyler Shaw (@tylerevanshaw)

Local collaborative INDI Media Group and Shooting Without Bullets hosted a conversation featuring none other than Nipsey Hussle to engage the community to get out and vote this past month.

The event took the form of a panel of creatives, entrepreneurs, and local political figures that held a dialogue about the importance of what the vote meant in the community. The focal point seemed to hover around Issue 1, which would basically reduce penalties for the crimes of obtaining, possessing, and using illegal drugs. It’s a topic that draws much debate because the subtext of the issue doesn’t quite paint the whole picture of what the issue could potentially impact.

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Initially we sought to create an article that focused on the event, which was incredibly well-put together - but after seeing what we came together for not come to pass we thought our time might be better spent compiling a list of statistics that reflect why Issue 1 was so important in the first place. There’s a great book called The New Jim Crowe by Michelle Alexander that you should pick up if you haven’t yet.

It espouses that by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. The thesis of the book presents itself as a bold claim, yet presents sources that are hard to dispute. Issue 1 wasn’t just about letting drug dealers and users off the hook, it was an opportunity to begin to heal a cycle and ultimately impact the fate of a community.

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The U.S. has over 2.4 million behind bars, an increase of over 500% in the past thirty years

75% of people in state prison for drug conviction are people of color although blacks and whites see and use drugs at roughly the same rate. In NYS, 94% of those imprisoned for a drug offense are people of color.

The number of drug offenders in state prison has increased thirteen-fold since 1980

One in eight black men in their twenties are locked up on any given day

Over the past two decades, state spending on prisons grew six times the spending of higher education

From 1997 to 2007 the number of women in prison has increased by 832%

We have 5% of the world’s population; 25% of its prisoners

Facts VIA*