Deep in the recesses of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website (and first entry in a google search) there exists an article on the trauma and damage that incarceration does to the mind. It’s from 2001, but the stated official results are still incredibly relevant to today’s prison industrial complex. How this got past the Trump censors, I’ll never know – it outlines in simple but effective terms that imprisonment, of any kind, takes a toll. “Few people are completely unchanged or unscathed by the experience.” And yet, we continue to claim that this “institutionalization” is a form of “rehab”. If so, what are we teaching people?

They’re learning just who we are, is what.

You can’t send a tweet at this moment without seeing the hashtag #FamiliesBelongTogether. Of course, any well meaning and empathetic human with a heart will take part in this online activism, protesting against the cruel treatment of immigrants and refugees by separating parents from children and locking all up essentially. The outrage is palpable and strongly felt, especially when so called “intelligent” media personalities (I refuse the term journalists in this case) from Fox News try a defense. Laura Ingraham, for example, took to her show to comment on these caged up ex Walmart child concentration centers as being like “summer camp”.

It’s difficult and painful, when barbarism is framed and slanted as being tolerable or “just the way the law works”. I couldn’t wrap my head around it in 5th Grade history class, where I was taught of WWII, and I can’t comprehend it now. Some things are just universally wrong.

As part of Big Easy Magazine’s staff, I’ve been tasked with the opportunity to create a video series that satirizes and skewers current events and leaders, with the edge of a Fat Tuesday parade or costume. How does one parody what is happening now? I can’t just lighten it up – it’s got to be lit up. We in New Orleans have a sense of humor about who we are and where we live, but also with regards to the times. No doubt, next Mardi Gras is gonna be something (as it always is). Until then, I’m searching and scouring youtube, looking to land content that will juxtapose and contextualize this shameful moment in our country’s history.

On June 30th, we join the rest of the country in protest. On July 1st, we’ll continue our policy of covering everything/anything affecting this city and her citizens, including what’s happening to our neighbors at the southern border. Our neighbors that helped us rebuild after Katrina. Our neighbors that feed and entertain us. Our neighbors that care for us. Our neighbors that keep the city running 24/7 and are as important to our economy as tourism. Our neighbors, period. We celebrate our diverse residents, no matter what. We celebrate.

Has anyone requested that Ingraham’s children spend some time at these “summer camps”? I understand they’re a riot. I hear they’ll leave a lasting impact. I hear they teach the kids stuff, too …

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