Prisons in Michigan are banning several non-English language dictionaries – specifically in Spanish and Swahili. Why? Because staff have literally argued that learning a new language is a threat!
These bans are an attempt to stop incarcerated people from organizing for their rights, educating themselves, and connecting with their culture.
Kwesi Osundar, for example, has been trying to research more about the African diaspora in Swahili since 2009. Spanish-speaker Rodolfo Rodriguez has been trying to learn English to navigate his legal process since 1993!
Prisons attack every part of a Black person they can think of: from our bodies to our mental state to our spirituality; now it’s our knowledge. But from prison cells to plantations, we have ALWAYS educated ourselves when it's outlawed – and that will never stop.