Incarceration Nation event draws attention on Winona campus

On the morning of March 31 our Winona State University YAL chapter set up for the Incarceration Nation activism event in the center of campus. We stayed there most of the day, trying to engage passers-by. We drew students in by asking them if they were criminals. Most students denied that they were, at which point we told them that their government probably disagrees.

Quincy the puppy doesn't want to be shot by unaccountable police!

We got a good number of students to hear us out and sign up for our mailing list. Though our attention-getting tactics were relatively successful on young people, we didn’t need any gimmicks to draw in older adults, who seemed much more interested in what we had to say and approached us unbidden. In this way we discovered (to my relief) that there are at least two libertarian faculty members on campus.

Libertarian faculty member discovered!

We were also approached by a concerned citizen who wanted to tell us how uncomfortable the message of liberty made him feel, since, as he said, more taxes are a good thing and the US should emulate all socialist elements of European government. One young woman, when asked if she was a criminal, retorted with “I hate everything you stand for” as she briskly strode away.

Engaging the students

These are the stories that make the event interesting. They were the exception, as almost everyone we spoke to was approving. It felt great to hand out cards with tips about interacting with police, and to help formerly unaware young people realize just how bad many elements of the criminal justice system are in the US. I felt like our chapter really made a difference that day by our on-the-spot education and display of taking action.

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