VIDEO DESCRIPTION: Malik Morris, a Black Indigenous man with long natural hair slicked back into an afro puff ponytail. He stands in front of a reddish concrete wall while wearing a bold yellow short shirt with a black magnetic bracelet and signing. He signs in Black ASL.
Title: HEARD COVID-19 updates: 6/29/20-7/3/20
This vlog is a continuation from our previous vlogs about COVID-19 in jails, prisons, and other incarceration facilities. We want to share an update with all of you about what’s going on right now in those buildings for deaf/disabled/blind/immigrants +imprisoned people who are still experiencing human and civil rights violations.
There is a lot going on with protests and police violence. HEARD wants to ask you not to forget our imprisoned people are still suffering.
HEARD is still collecting reports from imprisoned community members, their families and advocates. We also are still working with many different organizations/advocates to support deaf/disabled/blind people in prison, jail, mental health facilities, immigration detention nationwide during this pandemic.
As we shared in the last vlog, covid-19 testing and data is still not %100 percent accurate. From the best information available, we know that covid cases in incarceration facilities has increased by 73% percent– resulting in over 600 COVID-19 related deaths. According to that data, based on our previous vlog from 8,500 to now 48,764 incarcerated people and from 3,276 to now 10,342 staff people have tested positive but now since mid-may. Numbers continue to rise and many organizations, including HEARD are still engaged in non-stop advocacy to support and free incarcerated people.
Many deaf/disabled/blind Inmates still don’t know or aren’t aware of covid-19 to this day. For example, our team today was on a call with one deafdisabled person jailed in the South. This person did not have a mask on and could not explain what COVID was. Incarcerated people in this facility are not wearing masks at all but the staff are wearing masks. Even more shocking, the person mentioned no interpreters before having been given some type of medicine a couple months ago. The person said they believed this medicine block/prevents COVID. Of course we know there is not yet any COVID vaccine.
At a prison in another state, we spoke with a person who said that they started receiving the masks and other PPE to protect themselves from coronavirus just three weeks ago. We had to fill him in the information that he needs to know so he can pass it to other inmates about this information. This is the conditions in our jails and prisons.
To the community, here’s a few ways you can help:
Put pressure on the leaders of the states, jails, prisons, immigration, ID/DD facilities and psych facilities, to use their power to release our community members who are incarcerated in prisons and other kinds of facilities with social services and resources.
Call, email and tweet to governors, prosecutors, sheriffs and county commissioners and city council members.
Donate to grassroots advocacy groups fighting to protect and support incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people during COVID-19 such as V.O.T.E. (Louisiana), All of Us or None, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls ,Release Aging People From Prison (RAPP), and of course HEARD!
Join the movements, share information with friends and family, and do everything you can to save and protect our beloved community members!
Stay tuned, more vlogs will be coming on COVID and our incarcerated communities and their loved ones.
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