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Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform

But where are those supporters when ordinary folks are facing injustice?

 
Meek Mill supporters rally outside Philadelphia's City courthouse. LBWPhotoMeek Mill supporters rally outside Philadelphia's City courthouse. LBWPhoto
 
The recent incarceration of star Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill brings up many issues beyond how the justice system should handle obstinate individuals. A judge imprisoned Mill for serial violations of his parole conditions.

One issue is many of those supporting Mill have never engaged in activities to address structural injustice in the justice system – the kinds of problems those supporters say must be reversed in the case of their revered rapper.

Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s highest racially disproportionate prison populations where 47 percent of the inmates are black and 10 percent are Hispanic. Blacks comprise less than 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population and Hispanics are seven percent. Nearly 30 percent of all inmates in Pennsylvania’s state prisons are from Philadelphia only accounts for 12.8 percent of the state's residents.

Another issue implicated in the Mill matter involves the advocacy for more minorities in the criminal justice system as a remedy for reducing structural inequities based on race/racism. The two Philadelphia police officers that severely beat Mill severely during an arrest were black as is the judge who sentenced Mill.

The imprisonment of Mill for parole violations provoked condemnation around the world. A Change.org petition calling for Mill’s release contained over 351,000 signatures one week after his sentencing to a 2-4-year prison term

The recent celebrity-studded rally outside of Philadelphia’s City courthouse, where hundreds demanded the release of rapper Mill, included sharp criticisms of inequities in the criminal justice system.

Speakers from popular hip-hop artists to pro football players to State Representatives and a sports legend all slammed the prison sentence meted to Mill and serious racial inequities in the justice system like race-based Stop-&-Frisk policing – a scourge in Philadelphia for decades.

Basketball legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, the NBA Hall of Famer who played for the Philadelphia 76ers, called Mill’s sentence cruel and “rendered under unsavory circumstances,” a reference to alleged antics by Mill’s judge.
 
Basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving at Meek Mill rally. LBWPhotoBasketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving at Meek Mill rally. LBWPhoto
 
Current 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin requested leniency for Mill in a letter he sent to that sentencing judge. Rubin and Mill are personal friends.



story | by Dr. Radut