A Risk of Genocide in the Age of Black Lives Matter

An international nonprofit advocate is spotlighting the State of Louisiana — America’s “Incarceration Capital” — in warning that African Americans are at risk of genocide due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on incarcerated populations. Belinda Parker-Brown, Co-founder and CEO of Louisiana United International, Inc. (LUI), contends that most people incarcerated during the pandemic are enduring cruel and unusual punishment, including large populations of African Americans. She explains, “they are crammed in little more than hell-holes; forced to interact with people less than 6 feet away who may not be wearing masks and may even exhibit classic symptoms of COVID-19 infection.” When asked how those circumstances are any harsher than other aspects of lawful incarceration, Parker-Brown emphasizes America’s responsibility for the health and medical-care of those it confines. She says, “getting locked-up for any length of time in America may not be pleasant or particularly safe . . . but it’s not our government’s job to make the experience unhealthy or unsafe. Right now, U.S. states and our federal prisons are keeping people confined without minimizing their exposure to the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus. It's like locking people in burning buildings.” Parker-Brown adds, “no one was sentenced to a potentially agonizing and fatal COVID-19 infection. Massive, controlled evacuations should have started months ago and by now, America's carceral facilities should meet the guidelines of Centers for Disease Control.”

LUI cites the lack of conspicuous, intense, widespread public outcry and political pressure on behalf of people incarcerated in America as an indicator that the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to genocide. Today, the grassroots civil, constitutional, and human rights organization submitted a 15 page chart of relevant risk factors and indicators to the U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. Addressing the submission to the Honorable Adama Dieng, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, LUI states: “the factors and indicators hereby identified are probative of deliberate, otherwise avoidable exposure of incarcerated African Americans to potentially deadly environmental toxins as well as the COVID-19 virus with intent to destroy that large population rather than release most of its members as part of controlled evacuations that comply with CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, the U.S. Constitution, and international human rights law, while helping minimize public health risks and recidivism.”

“It’s unfortunate and ironic that in this age of Black Lives Matter, a red flag must be raised signaling a risk of genocide based on America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on incarcerated African Americans”, observed LUI’s Belinda Parker-Brown. “Too much emphasis is placed on addressing the crisis through class actions and other lengthy resorts to court” says LUI’s Assistant Chief of Operations, Juris Doctor Zena Crenshaw-Logal. “LUI’s U.N. submission makes clear that what’s needed most is lawful political pressure such as through online signature drives, car caravan protests, phone/fax/email campaigns and similar, hopefully robust initiatives” according to Crenshaw-Logal. Parker-Brown interjects, “U.S. courts are NOT going to pressure our executive branch leaders into saving lives through controlled evacuations of incarcerated populations, especially if average Americans seem content to watch COVID-19 infection and death totals rise while simply believing unverified government reports of what’s happening behind the walls of our country’s detention centers, jails, and prisons.”

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