On the morning of May 31st, Biannela Susana will find out how much more time she’ll spend in prison in connection with the death of her youngest son. Whether the judge sentences her to the maximum 30 years or not, it’s hard to imagine that any punishment will top the nightmare that her life has been so far. In 2011, Biannela and her then 12-year-old son Cristian were charged in the death of two-year-old David.
Martin Luther King, Jr., the drum major for justice, might have some difficulty today raising an army of soldiers for justice! The time for marching is not over as civil rights struggles continue. Witness the pandemic levels of mass incarceration. In many cities the young men, the men who used to march in an earlier era, are gone away to years behind the fence of jail or prison.
In the mind’s eye, in the press, in the common vernacular, the African American man is not a responsible parent as there are so many single women raising the children alone, in poverty. Often children are raising their siblings while the mother works, but we rarely think or speak of them. To understand how we came to this place it is necessary to take a trip back to the future.
The impact of the mass incarceration of African American men in the U.S. for largely the same group of drug-related crimes are monstrous and devastating on all of society. In the United States, African Americans, who are 12% of the population, are 44+ percent of the prison population.