Black Prisoners’ Caucus – Clallam Bay chapter hosted their annual Youth Summit on October 12, 2018. It was well attended by many community organizers, youth and family advocates, outreach specialists and program policy coordinators from established organizations doing effective work in the community. These organizations included: The Village of Hope, New Horizons, NEXUS, Future Labs, YMCA, Fabians Fund, Youth Care, Friends of Youth, Columbia Legal Services, Sub Pop, Seattle Office of Civil Rights, Seattle Goodwill, KEXP, as well as, The Seattle Times. Each guest made the 4-hour trek up to the Peninsula Coast to sit with the Black Prisoners’ Caucus to learn, share and collectively strategize around what we all can do better to prevent youth of color from being abandoned by institutions and damaged by the Prison Industrial Complex.
The Black Prisoners’ Caucus Youth Committee used the BPC “Circle of Life” to share their pain and lived experiences, because it is only through opening yourself up and becoming vulnerable when the necessary steps can be taken to build authentic relationships. Sharing their stories was one way to begin the healing process, but these stories needed more than being heard, they needed to be felt, because feeling is what compels us to act.
Even with a 4-hour summit there wasn’t enough time in the day to build in depth on all the issues that were unfolding. We worked to gain some clarity about the issues we are most up against; and what accountable relationships look like, how they function, and most importantly, how are they maintained. Our young voices of the Black Prisoners’ Caucus helped our guests understand the power of staying connected.
Everyone was asked to meet again in 60 days on December 12th to come together so we can build better relationships with one another for our youth and build a calendar for the new year. However, we don’t have to wait until December 12th to get to work. We can act now on the momentum that was made, so we are asking that we all make a conscious effort to get connected to the Black Prisoners’ Caucus and our network. The BPC has regular meetings inside (at multiple locations around the state) which you are welcome to attend, as we are always in need of more active supporters and volunteers from the network. There are also weekly community meetings we are a part of that take place at the Village of Hope in West Seattle on Wednesdays from 6 pm to 8 pm. Those willing to connect, work and build; get connected and become a part of the work that needs to be done. Everyone is welcome.
This youth summit was to make sure we understand that our children will continue to be consumed by the Prison Industrial Complex until we learn to stand firm against oppression and speak truth against the power structure which does not reflect our values. Ultimately, what we need, we must build for ourselves, because changing the systems is a waste of energy and resources. However, it must be done in an accountable way, in such a way that it doesn’t recreate an oppressive institution for another. If we should be clear about anything it is this… the only way for us build community is together, so let’s get to work.
Let’s work in truth,
while we fight for justice
with a liberated mind.
Black Prisoners’ Caucus (Clallam Bay)