Yes, people are beginning to wake up around the country. It is a long journey ahead of Americans when we will finally meet on one page in unity some day, but taking one small step for mankind is a start. The consciousness of the University of California possibly woke up one morning understanding that there is a crisis happening in the United States and they no longer want to be a part of the problem. Many want to believe the university decided they no longer want to feed the beast that has been growing for centuries. By pulling out their resources used to invest in building and maintaining prisons in America as opposed to nurturing education instead, the University of California just set the example that human lives are more valuable than their bottom-line figure. But, of course, they needed a little nudging to arrive to this level of humanity.
The growing number of student activists around the nation has been a beautiful feat to witness in my life time over the past few years. Their focus is not just on making money to live a fabulous, blinged-out lifestyle they see on television or zoned out on social media all day. There is a new generation of young people who are about justice for humanity and they are on a mission. It is as if the children from the 1960s reincarnated into the generation born just 20 years ago. Ever since the tragic murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was armed with a bag of Skittles to defend himself from a 32-year-old neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, young activists have been organizing by the thousands, achieving awareness around the country fighting every injustice that arises.
The University of California students discovered that the very institution they pay tuition to had invested well over $30 million in stock in for-profit prison companies. Anyone with a conscience and access to the news have seen countless men and women of color put away in prison for many, many years for crimes they either did not commit or for small petty crimes that deserved a slap on the wrist. Why have so many been falsely accused and charged? Investors such as the University of California needed to end the fiscal year with a healthy bank balance so they can possibly buy that new sports car, finally put that new addition onto their home, or maybe take that much-needed family trip across Europe while innocent people of color get ripped from their families for crimes they did not commit.
Student activists confronted the institution arguing that they were profiting from the over-criminalization of Black and Latino men and women. The African Black Coalition pointed out that the university had blood on their hands. They reminded them that prisons are centers for White Supremacists to dehumanize people of color for profit. It is modern-day slavery. And as much as many want to turn a cheek, refusing to believe that racism and slavery still exist in modern-day time, the University of California was investing in plantations called prisons. Wake up!
The students protested and won a historic victory, causing other institutions and big businesses to shake in their suits because they know this new crop of young activists are on a mission and will not stop until justice is served and change occurs. Corrections Corporation of America and The Geo Group were sold and confirmed by University of California president Janet Napolitano who was also the former secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Arizona. Interesting and frightening all at the same time.
The university claims the students did not pressure them to sell their stocks. They reported the stocks were performing poorly. I am still hoping that the university had developed a conscience recently and did this for humane reasons and not fluctuating dollar figures. Maintaining that only $30 million made up their $100 million portfolio, I am still believing there was a good soul in there somewhere saying,”Stop breaking up families, destroying the lives of young Black and Latino children by unjustly locking them up, and murdering them behind bars.” The institution is also sticking to their story that they have no say in who gets convicted, prison sentences, prison treatment, etc. They were simply just funding the operation.