This Christmas Eve, JusticeLA is “dropping” beds outside shopping centers across Los Angeles County—from Inglewood to Calabasas—to encourage a public conversation about the fight for abolition. We are demanding an end to mass incarceration in the U.S. and our county’s investment in policing and jails.
JusticeLA was formed on Sept. 26, 2017; we are a campaign that fights for the dignity of our communities. Currently, Los Angeles County is the largest jailer in the world and emblematic of the U.S. prison-industrial complex.
This September, we stationed 100 beds in front of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to defend our communities’ right to lives free of jails and policing. We took a stance against the city’s plans to spend $3.5 billion to expand the local jail system. Los Angeles County must reinvest in opportunities for our communities and loved ones who are incarcerated.
#JailBedDrop is one of our latest actions that merges art and activism while also exposing how this holiday season is yet another reminder for millions in the United States that our families are separated by bars.
“This project is about showing the love and compassion to my family. Our community has been separated, caged and sold off for generations. I hope the bed inspires people to write and think of their loved ones in prison,” shared artist Jasmine Nyende, a member of JusticeLA.
Mass incarceration, from prisons to deportations and detentions, teaches us to be silent about our loved ones who are locked up. #JailBedDrop hopes to challenge this. We see #JailBedDrop as an integral piece of our movement’s legacy to art as a form of resistance. Art and activism are not silos; rather, when interwoven, we’re able to better express, engage and encourage others.
We invite everyone who comes across these beds to join in the larger conversation and take action against the county’s $3.5 billion prison plan. #JailBedDrop is about our movement’s call for abolition, for envisioning a world and a county where our communities are free and not restrained by the prison system.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors is an artist, organizer and freedom fighter living and working in Los Angeles. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, she is also a performance artist, a Fulbright scholar, a popular public speaker and an NAACP History Maker. Follow her on Twitter.