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If we are not careful we will end up paying for our own destruction

Today, I stand before you with a mix of emotions—disappointment, disgust, but also a resolute determination to fight for justice, equality, and a better future for our community. It saddens me deeply that once again, I find myself here, feeling personally attacked, as we confront the looming specter of a billion-dollar jail.

From the very inception of this misguided idea, the People’s Council for Justice Reform has been steadfast in our opposition. We've tirelessly protested, spoken out, and educated our community about the grave implications of this endeavor. Three years ago, we stood before the Jail Trust, the Board of County Commissioners, and our fellow citizens, urging them to see reason.

Our message has never wavered: We cannot stand idly by as our brothers and sisters are disproportionately incarcerated, victims of a system that fails to see their humanity. It's not a coincidence that our community, comprising less than 15% of the county's population and less than 8% of the state's, fills nearly half of the beds in our jails and prisons.

We've advocated for a smaller jail, for bail reform such as ending cash bail  and we have members of the legislature who are here that voted against ending cash bail,  for alternatives to incarceration for minor offenses such as a site and release programs. We've pleaded for the implementation of comprehensive mental health and substance abuse programs to address the root causes of crime and prevent recidivism. We've demanded a separate mental health facility, because we refuse to criminalize medical conditions just because we don't understand how it works.

Yet, time and again, our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Those in positions of power, those who claim to be our allies that sit here right now proclaiming to be appalled and angry, have failed us. They are the same ones who advocated for the FIX THE JAIL CAMPAIGN without doing any research on what a larger jail costs, the land space it was gonna reside on and the demographic of those it is going to affect. They've made decisions driven by ignorance and self-interest, leading us down a path fraught with injustice and suffering, and now sit here in those of your faces who are unaware of the things that happen behind closed doors when it comes to politics.

But I implore you, my fellow citizens, to open your eyes, to see through the propaganda and lies that seek to divide us. We must tap into our spiritual intuition, our innate sense of right and wrong, to make informed choices for the betterment of our community and our future.

The People’s Council for Justice Reform will not back down. We will continue to demand an end to cash bail, to advocate for a smaller, more humane justice system, and to fight for holistic, restorative approaches to healing. We refuse to allow our jails to become modern-day concentration camps, draining our resources and robbing us of our humanity, and I say that with the confidence to know that Oklahoma has a past of having a strong footprint on the eugenics program. If we are not careful we will end up paying for our own destruction.

It's time to reclaim our power, to assert our right to determine how our tax dollars are spent. The government was meant to serve us, not oppress us. We must hold it accountable, demand transparency, and insist on policies that reflect our values and aspirations.

Let us educate ourselves, let us stand together, and let us forge a path toward a brighter, more just future. The power to effect change lies within each and every one of us. Let us not squander it.


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