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As Sessions presses racist policy, see ’13th’ on May 13 in Seattle

SEATTLE — If you understand the direct link between America’s shameful history of slavery and the mass incarceration of Black people, you won’t be surprised by today’s news from the other Washington. Attorney General and renowned racist Jeff Sessions just ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects, including nonviolent drug offenders, reversing Obama administration efforts to ease some of those penalties.

If you don’t understand the link between slavery and mass incarceration, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists will be hosting a timely screening of the film 13th. Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

The screening — which is free and open to the public — will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 13th (get it?) at the Washington State Labor Council hall, 321 16th Ave. S. in Seattle.

This Academy Award-nominated 2016 documentary explores the economic history of slavery and post-Civil War racist legislation and practices that replaced it. The criminalization of minor offenses and the “War on Drugs,” which was pursued by both Republican and Democratic politicians — and is clearly a priority for people like Jeff Sessions to this day — is a deliberate effort to disenfranchise and suppress Blacks and take away their rights, including their right to vote.

Here’s an event flier for Saturday’s screening of 13th and here’s the trailer for this extraordinary film. Come see it!


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