Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill visited Virginia, the first state to institute hereditary slavery, to speak to the Governor about prison reform.
The symbolism was rich, as incarceration is actually the only form of legalized slavery, according to the constitutional amendment, left in this nation.
The 13th Amendment, though it does abolish slavery, it also allowed for individuals to be “slaves of the state.”
The Roc Nation rapper became an advocate for the prison reform after being sentenced to two to four years in prison after he violated his probation for a gun and drug crime he was convicted of almost 10 years prior.
Now, as a justice reform leader, he travels to share his story. On Thursday, June 10, he met with Gov. Ralph Northam to present his case.
He started by revealing he was born in poverty and how he was addicted to Percocets after getting his tooth pulled.
“I used to step in the courtroom. I was addicted to Percocets,” he shared. “I started taking Percocets at the age of 23 when I got two wisdom teeth pulled. I never stopped taking him from that point and that lasted for like 2 years.
“I had a dirty urine at one point my judge sent me to prison for about six months and gave me two years added extra probation on my 10 years sentence,” he continued. “So, it became a 12-year sentence.”
This was one of the examples of how the laws are complicated and are not intended to actually rehab those caught up in the system. Check out his remarks and see how he used his own personal experiences in
According to research composed by the Virginia Compensation Board, “in 2017, Black men made up 31 percent of the jail population compared to their white males’ counterparts at 41.6 percent.”
“In 2018, 30.6 percent of Black men and 45 percent of white men made up the jail’s population. And in 2019, Black men accounted for 32 percent of the entire jail’s population while white men made up 42 percent.”
Seems like there are more whites than Blacks, yes?
Not when you consider the percentage of whites vs. Blacks in the state.
In 2020, there were more than double the amount of white people (67.63% ) in Virginia than Blacks (19.18%).
The numbers are way off. Hopefully, the advocacy work that he is doing will shift this dynamic — one that historically supports Virginia as America’s first slave state.