In 1972, incarcerated men formed the Black Prisoners Caucus (BPC) in Washington state. They took part in a radical legacy of political prisoners coming together for Black liberation, their influence reaching both behind and outside prison bars. Think Assata, Mumia, Black Panthers, and MOVE activists.
Nearly 50 years later, 22-year-old Darrell Jackson joined that legacy - and it saved his life.
Jackson’s sentence is life without parole. But he described the difference he experienced in shifting his view from his individual condition to a collective perspective. The BPC organizes workshops, legislative action, and educational, charitable, and cultural events. It also partners with churches and community organizations.
For Jackson, the love he shared with his neighbors to work on all of these projects became his home. And that home was built by solidarity.
“For the first time in my life, I had found a place where I felt I truly belonged, that gave me purpose, focused on goals greater than myself,” he said. “Investment in the collective goes a lot further than investment in the chosen one.”
As the political prisoners of our history have illustrated in their lives, and organizations like the BPC continue to show, acting in solidarity is necessary to fight for better conditions and achieve Black liberation as a whole. And on an individual level, solidarity is transformative for the soul.