Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Each month, I try to write letters to young men who grew up in the neighborhood and are now in prison. I have seen lines of boys become young men, make mistakes, and end up in court with no advocate, sentenced to prison for decades. I am asking you to pray for African American men, particularly young ones, in prison. And I want to invite you to learn about the United States prison system, just as I am trying to learn more about it myself.
Over the past three decades, the U.S. prison population has exploded from 300,000 to 2 million. Twenty-five percent of these prisoners are African American, while only 13 percent of the U.S. population is African American. The work of Michelle Alexander in her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness and the work of Bryan Stevenson at Equal Justice Initiative have spotlighted the legacy of structural racism from slavery to Jim Crow to mass incarceration.
It would be easier to judge and write off those who are in prison. But I urge you to check out these resources. I know we can do better, and I believe wholeheartedly that God wants better for us.
Lord, you created us full of potential, promise, and beauty. Corporate and individual sin and injustice corrupt what you have created for good. We pray for all who are in prison, and may we work to create institutions that bring justice. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!