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Dear Human Rights Supporter,


156 years after the fact the US has made Juneteenth a federal holiday. While we can say better late than never I also wonder at the cognitive dissonance it takes for politicians like President Biden to go to other countries and claim to be the leader of the “free world” when they preside over the country with more prisoners than any other, both in terms of raw numbers and as a percentage of the population. Juneteenth celebrates when the last Black slaves in Texas in 1865 learned that President Lincoln had freed all slaves with the emancipation proclamation two years earlier. Yet even with a new federal holiday commemorating the event, the 13th amendment continues to enshrine slavery in the constitution, limiting enslavement to people who have been convicted of a crime. American ruling elites and media deem prison slave labor a heinous human rights violation when practiced in China and other countries but great public policy when carried out in the US. The time has come to end slavery and forced labor once and for all.


With over 2 million slaves of the state locked up around the country, Juneteenth reminds us how far we have to go as a nation to finally be done with the vestiges of slavery. For 31 years Prison Legal News and the Human Rights Defense Center have been organizing, advocating and reporting around the issue of prison slavery and have put it on the political map. We are able to do a lot with very limited resources and against long odds but we need your help to do it. Sadly, we do not have a lot of foundation support or billionaire donors. Instead, our support comes from people like you who donate what they can and from readers, in and out of prison, who subscribe to our publications and purchase our books. Please make a donation to help fight against prison slavery and mass incarceration.


Earlier this week we broke the story about how Casey Sixkiller, the deputy mayor of Seattle now running for mayor, has made millions lobbying on behalf of the private prison industry. And he claims to be “progressive”! This is a story ignored by the corporate media in Seattle who don’t think voters would want to know how their “progressive” candidates earn a living. The story is here: Let others know about it on your social media feeds. If you like reading this kind of journalism and think that those who profit from mass incarceration should be politically toxic, then make a donation to help us keep publishing this type of article.


Happy Juneteenth!


Paul Wright

Human Rights Defense Center, Director

Prison Legal News, Editor