Amani Sawari interviewed on Democracy Now! about #august21 prison strike

protesters holding prison strike banner

IAS alum Amani Sawari (’16, Media & Communication Studies and Law, Economics & Public Policy) was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on 21 August 2018.  The focus of the interview was work she is doing on #august21 prison strike.  Sawari was the station manager for UWave Radio and also the Program Coordinator for Student Media at UW Bothell.  The whole program is available on the Democracy Now! site.  Here is a short excerpt.

AMY GOODMAN: Amani Sawari, you’re on the outside. How did you get involved with organizing this strike? And what do you think people on the outside can do? 

AMANI SAWARI: So, the way that I got involved was actually through Twitter. One of the jailhouse lawyers reached out to me, direct message, and asked if they could host the strike on my website, SawariMi.org. And I was happy to do so. And there is where the demands were posted, after they had put them out on Twitter originally. And then there is also where the list of endorsements, which is businesses and organizations—there are about a little over 200 right now, throughout the country, that are saying, “We’re behind this. We’ll do what we can to support.” There is also where the news and press releases are collected. So, that is how I got involved. After accepting that request via Twitter, I talked to one of the jailhouse lawyers on the phone, and he let me know why they were doing this. They originally had planned to do this in 2019. But after Lee had happened, they expedited the date and brought it up to 2018, so that they could have a direct response to what happened.

And then, what people can do on the outside is really find—we have a list of events on It’s Going Down, as well as SawariMi.org, around the country that are happening. Just show up at one of those events. We’re going to have marches. We’re going to have protests, pickets in front of businesses that use prison slave labor. That’s another thing that people can do, is be really intentional about where they’re spending their money. Our dollar is our vote in this system, and when we choose to buy clothes or fast food or get our insurance or our gas from places that participate in prison slave labor, then we are fueling that system and allowing it to persist. But when we choose to just make that alternative choice, then we can really suffocate that system. And prisoners are doing that. They have to do that when they boycott. All the money that they spend goes towards the prison, so they’re not allowed to get any of those privileges. But we could just make the simple choice of just making that alternative. They have no alternative. So if they can do it, we can definitely support them by doing the same out here.

[Update] Amani was also interviewed on August 23, 2018 for the radio program On Point