On July 28th, the Brooklyn Movement Center, in partnership with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, hosted a Grub Party focused on the links between food justice and the new Jim Crow. This conversation was organized as part of a reaction to an amendment written by Senator David Vitter of Louisiana that would have barred anyone convicted of a violent crime from receiving food stamps (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). As part of the Farm Bill, this amendment was accepted by the Senate in late May 2013.
Ultimately the entire Farm Bill legislation failed to pass, but when the amendment passed, black and brown bodies got the message their basic right, the right to eat, was not valued by our society. How’s that you ask? Well, people of color are just more likely to be convicted in this country. Blacks and hispanics make up 60% of the total prison and jail population, while only being 29.9% of the U.S. population. In her op-ed, Criminalization, Race and Food Access in a Time of Hyper-Afrophobia, Dara Cooper sounds-off saying, “Black and brown people do not commit murder or sexual violence any more than white people. But the fact is they certainly are policed, profiled and convicted (guilty or not) at a much higher rate than whites.”
So when policies like stop-and-frisk criminalize people of color and push us into prisons, our food access rights also begin to be jeopardized. During our Grub Party, we discuss how this reality impacts our community. Watch the video below to hear from some of our attendees on how the capital punishment system contributes to creating an unjust food system and vice versa. Then comment and let us know your thoughts.
Learn more about our food justice work here.