I am not a criminal. I am a human being.
Categorizing and labeling me a criminal as if it were a universal and everlasting classification and definition is not only detrimental to myself, but also our society. I am a human being who at some point in my life committed what has been called a crime.
It is called a crime when people steal food to survive, or clothes to stay warm, or sell drugs when all other work is inaccessible. Yet, when corporate CEO’s rob billions of dollars from our economy and force thousands into homelessness, they are rewarded with severance checks. Pharmaceutical corporations monopolize the “legal” drug market that gets countless people hooked on opiates. The U.S. government kills indigenous people and topples their governments at a whim, but that is also legal. We must challenge what is labeled a crime and why!
The stigmatizing label of “criminal” is dehumanizing, and is inescapable. The ideology of individualism it’s founded upon denies any context, or any future classification. It further creates a renewing and eternal criminal class in American society whereby we are barred from employment, education, and residence. All clearly understood to be dehumanizing practices.
The Prison Industrial Complex is a vicious, insatiable monster that must be dismantled with all of the ideologies that support its existence.
I am a human being.
I was born a human being and I will die a human being. When someone digs up my bones 5,000 years from now and finds my femur they will determine that it belonged to a human, that it is human. There will be no question whether it was a criminal. When my mother was pregnant with me, the doctor did not walk into the room and tell her, “well it looks like you’re having a criminal” when she asked if I was a boy.
I am a human being who has done some things that were wrong, some things that caused harm, and some things that were necessary for my survival. That however, did not augment me from being a human being.
Any concept, argument, justification, or action that asserts otherwise must and will be challenged.