By Selinda Guerrero
As Minneapolis rose up in rebellion, my husband and I stepped up to organize a Black Lives Matter protest in Albuquerque. In the days that followed, we found ourselves under constant surveillance by the police until June 1, when a squad of unmarked cars descended on us.
Then I watched as my husband, Clifton White, was put in handcuffs and dragged away by the Albuquerque Police. Now they’ve locked up my husband on a trumped up parole violation — effectively making him state property — and there is no bail nor courts that can set him free.
In less than 10 days, the New Mexico Parole Board will decide if Clifton can be released and be reunited with his family. The New Mexico Parole Board reports to Governor Lujan Grisham, and she has the power to free Clifton.
Clifton hasn’t committed any crime — and he hasn’t even been charged with one. Too many people are behind the walls right now because of technical parole violations — even made up ones like Clifton is facing.
Right now, Clifton is in a “pod” that holds 16 prisoners, and 11 are there on probation or parole violations. Like Clifton, they are considered state property and have no right to a trial. That’s why we must call this system what it is: modern day slavery.
The last time I spoke to Clifton, he told me that a COVID outbreak had occurred among Correctional Officers and that prisoners were going to be locked down because they had been exposed. That was 11 days ago — but when we went to protest at the prison in Los Lunas, guards still weren’t wearing masks or social distancing.
After being imprisoned at 18, Clifton trained himself and became a jailhouse lawyer — then he used that knowledge to help hundreds of people behind the walls. Together, Clifton and I organized in the streets and in the prisons for Black liberation. We worked together to distribute packages of food and supplies to help hundreds of families affected by COVID.
They fear us because we’re leading with love and uniting our communities to fight for a world without prisons and police. They beat us, arrest us and tear apart our families, but we will not be silenced. We will not stop until our people are returned home.
Tell Gov. Lujan Grisham: we demand freedom for Clifton White.