Incarceration Nation @ UNC Charlotte

Our chapter did a lot of promotion for our activism event, spending hours outside handing out flyers, putting posters up all over school, and even requesting that the school send out an announcement for the event through their system.

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A couple days before the event we ran into a weather related problem, it decided to storm the entire week with thunder and lightning. We decided to make the best of it, and set up in the student union in a major thoroughfare.

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Decked in our finest Reno 911 and prisoner costumes, we asked students passing by whether they thought they were criminals, and found that most students initially said they were not.

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After going over specific questions that mainly regarded alcohol and marijuana, most students later admitted that under federal laws, they were in fact criminals.

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After talking with each of them and inviting them to our speaker panel that night, we asked them to take their picture with our makeshift jail to show their support for criminal justice reform.

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We teamed up with Generation Opportunity for a speaker panel event featuring Alex Johnson (NC State Director for Generation Opportunity), Daniel Rufty (12th District Chair, NCGOP), William Gechtman (ACLU), and Vince Coakley (radio host/formal congressional candidate.)

We started off by watching a documentary on the story of Weldon Angelos, a man who was sent to prison for selling marijuana to a police informant. Thanks to federal mandatory minimums, Weldon was given 55 years in a federal prison. We talked about many of the injustices in the systems, and what we as everyday citizens can do to help bring about change.

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After we discussed the issues for a while, we opened the floor up to Q&A, and some of the audience members were able to ask questions.

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We had over 50 attendees, and gained many signatures in support of criminal justice reform. It was a fantastic event, and we believe we made an impact in the hearts and minds of students on campus.

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