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viewpoint

Jail and Bail fundraiser is disrespectful

| Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Many people in the Notre Dame community supported and participated in Relay for Life events last week. I would like to acknowledge their good intentions and the time, money and hard work they committed to raise money for cancer research. With that being said, I must express my disgust with the Notre Dame chapter’s annual “Jail and Bail” fundraiser, in which people pay a fee to have their friends and co-workers “arrested” for a cause.

We live in a time of unprecedented mass incarceration in the United States. A staggeringly disproportionate number of incarcerated individuals have black or brown skin. And emerging evidence, such as the Justice Department’s report on policing in Ferguson, Mo., demonstrates that discriminatory police practices contribute to the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of black or brown skinned individuals. Against this backdrop, prank “arrests” such as the “Jail and Bail” are in extremely poor taste. I believe we only find them funny because we at Notre Dame are members of a privileged community. Few of us will ever be arrested in real life; when we do have encounters with police, we can expect them to be reasonable and respectful. This is not true for many of our black and brown brothers and sisters. Next year, I implore ND Relay for Life to find a new way to raise money for the cause of cancer research. Singing telegrams? Skywriting? I can think of a hundred other fundraisers that both align with Catholic Social Teaching on human dignity and respect the tragic reality of 2.3 million incarcerated Americans.

Amy Jonason
Ph.D. Candidate
Sociology
April 21

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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