As Día de Muertos celebrations honoring late loved ones kick off this week, several southern cities will stage a powerful demonstration to protest the deaths caused by the prison industrial complex. Southerners on New Ground (SONG) will hold funeral processions in front of offices of local enforcement to make a statement about the policing and imprisonment of communities of color.
“Día de los Muertos is a tradition of remembering our ancestors and loves ones we’ve lost,” Alan Ramírez, a regional organizer with SONG, told Remezcla in an email. “This tradition also pushes us not to forget who or what is separating our families. Our hope with this action is to highlight the deaths and displacement caused by the Prison Industrial Complex throughout communities in the South.”
While we often associate immigration as the biggest hurdle for Latinos, our community is also disproportionately imprisoned. Though Latinos make about 17 percent of the population, Latino men make up 22 percent of inmates in state or federal prisons. Blacks and African Americans are about 13 percent of the population, but make up about 37 percent of male inmates, according to NBC. As private prisons profit, it’s our communities who suffer.
“Mass incarceration and the issue of money bail heavily impact Black, Latinx, undocumented, poor, queer, and trans communities,” Ramírez said. “We hope the Día de los Muertos Action can be a space for us to identify this beast for ourselves and to not forget who or what is separating our families through criminalization and deportations.”
The protest will take place on November 2 in four cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Hendersonville, North Carolina; and Durham, North Carolina. That same day, organizers will build ofrendas in the memory of their ancestors. To learn more about the event, visit Southerners on New Ground’s Facebook page.