Activist Amory Zhou-Kourvo began a ten-day sentence yesterday for blocking the entrance to the Bristol County House of Correction on August 20, 2018. Zhou-Kourvo and Holly Stein were arrested after their arms were removed from a concrete filled tire. Stein served a similar ten-day sentence in June.
Zhou-Kourvo issued the following statement on Facebook through The FANG Collective:
“Last summer, some friends and I demonstrated outside the Bristol County Jail, a jail and ICE detention center in North Dartmouth, MA. We were there to protest the caging of human beings––by ICE and the rest of the carceral system, too––and to support the prisoners’ hunger strike. After police officers recklessly and haphazardly tore two of us out of our tripods and jackhammered Holly and I out of our blockade, the four of us sat in jail overnight. Today, after a long and confusing legal proceeding, I am returning to a jail cell for 10 days for that action.
“I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic or pessimistic about a future without incarceration and other weapons of colonial control. Rather, I am certain that the future is an infinite compilation of presents, and what we choose to pursue now creates the next now. I am certain that through action, a world without ICE, without prisons, police, or military of any kind is not just possible, but inevitable if we decide it is. Blocking entry to a detention center is just one action among many we can take to chase that future.
“The New Bedford District Court knows this sentence is a repressive political strategy to discourage dissent. This may put us away for a week and a half each, but it will not cover the shame of caging people and their children for being born on the other side of an arbitrary colonial border, of the state’s history of incarcerating and brutalizing Black and Indigenous people, of buttressing the US military’s crimes against humanity, of continued environmental devastation the state oversees, or of sustaining an irredeemable nation built by stolen labor from stolen people on stolen land. Nor will it cover the necessity of continued opposition to ICE; in fact, it exposes how scared the state is of our power, and how impactful we can be should we choose to forego fear of these courts.
“Being 19 years old makes me 4 years older than ICE. Envisioning a future without such a law enforcement agency doesn’t require any imagination; we’ve very recently lived in a world without it. If we can envision a future without ICE, we can dream of a world where the notion of “citizenship” is an unpleasant memory, composted into a flourishing decolonized present — I can, anyway, and it’s wonderful. Without ICE, we can start to see a world without other forms of police, borders, and militaries. So what actions are necessary to grow this? What can we do in this present?
“Hey, by the way, speaking of actionable things: Sherrie Andre, a co-defendant and one of the coolest people I’ve had the privilege of sharing space/action with, is still fighting their charges. If you can, you should come to their court dates to support them!
“After I sit in jail for 10 days, many others will stay longer, with less support than me, with fewer resources after getting out. This sentence, heavy handed as it is, is nowhere near the worst the courts have slapped people with. My hope, then, is that those who support us and advocate our freedom will extend that compassion to every victim of incarceration. Every single prisoner is a political prisoner, and every single one deserves our solidarity. Nutty, an activist fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia (and whose beautifully eloquent statements are the main inspiration for this one), said it best:
“‘Fuck the liberal ideologies of people who take offense at the punishments endured by some land defenders while they proclaim how distinct we are from those who share our jail cells. The courts are wrong for prosecuting us. And they are wrong for prosecuting all those who lack the extensive networks of support that our movement provides. The courts take people in the hardest moments of their lives and make them even harder, steal people from their families, jail them for not having the money for bail and then imprison them for not being able to afford a fancy lawyer.’
“Instead of courts, cops, and any arms of the state which help white supremacists and capitalists lock children and families in cages and profit off it, instead of prisons descended from slavery and Jim Crow, what we need is solidarity and radical neighborly love for each other. We need to see no one as disposable and everyone as precious. And ultimately, we need to be free to grow together beyond what white supremacy would have divide us. Strong communities make the state obsolete.
“Thank you to the people who came to the courthouse to support me today. My love and rage goes out to organizers and friends everywhere fighting ICE and linked oppressive machines, as well as those gathering the courage to get involved now. Together, we are sowing the seeds of a better world.”
See also: ICE protester at House of Correction in Dartmouth gets 10 days by Curt Brown at the The Standard-Times
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