Things That Matter

Here’s How You Can Support Your Incarcerated Family Members If You Don’t Know How

Talking about our primos in prison is taboo. If you ever had a family member in prison, you may avoid talking about it outside your family circle. The incarcerated family member then becomes a ghost, a cautionary tale, or a source of shame. We forget how they arrived in this situation and hesitate to offer support. Looking closely at issues that contribute to mass incarceration in this country can offer insights into the matter. It’s time we take a new approach to incarcerated family, and offer help in ways the correctional system refuses. It’s time to humanize our imprisoned primos and primas, showing love and empathy that we would want to see if we were behind bars.

Considering the U.S. census shows Hispanics make up 18.3 percent of the population, it is bewildering how they come to make up 32 percent of the Federal inmate population.

However, looking at social issues that plague the Latinx community, it is no surprise that low levels of education, poverty, and structural discrimination lead to incarceration. With the latest instances of aggression toward the Latinx community at the presidential level, it will be no surprise if acts of discrimination and targeting of Latinos continues to rise.

What other factors contribute to the incarceration of Latinos?

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The Pew Research Center reports that in 1991, 60 percent of Latinos were sentenced in federal court for drug-related offenses, and 20 percent for immigration crimes. Yet, these figures changed dramatically, with 48 percent of sentences for immigration crimes, and 37 percent of sentences for drug-related crimes in 2007.

The incarceration of Latinos is feeding into the conversation around the school to prison pipeline.

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What is the prison experience really like? Netflix series like Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” and “Orange is the New Black” help pull back the curtain on the harsh realities of prison life. More than just TV shows, these depictions exposed micro and macro ways the U.S., home to the largest prison population in the world, focuses not on prisoner rehabilitation, but recidivism instead.

When we think about our family members in prison, we need to remember that they could be facing sexual violence, lack of access to mental health services, solitary confinement, and denial of their reproductive rights.

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It may be the case that an incarcerated family member’s situation is shrouded in mystery and whispers, but this need not be the case. It is not only time to confront these matters at the family level, but to address them at the social level as well. The first step may begin with actually accepting that inmate call. Ask what your family member is going through and share that with the family if he or she permits. You may feel a sense of hopelessness, but there is so much you can do to help not only your own family members but the greater incarcerated Latino community too.

Moving beyond thoughts and prayers—although they’re good too—here are substantive ways you can help incarcerated family members.

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  • Visit if you can. Even if it is only a few times a year, the impact of human contact cannot be overstated. Ensure you are on the approved visitor’s list before you go. Bring identification and arrive early. Be a good listener and most importantly, show that family love.
  • The experience of visiting prison can be inconvenient or even traumatic, so if you feel you cannot commit this fully then try a virtual visit. Apps like JPay offer inmate services like email, video visitation, and secure payment transfers. Send pictures of the family or a video of a holiday gathering.
  • If apps prove to be intimidating, try sending a letter. Have picture printed out—old school style—and include them in your letters. Families are full of births, marriages, and so many other beautiful life events. Share them with your primos and primas who can’t be there with you. If you feel like you simply don’t want to communicate with your incarcerated family member, but you still want to contribute to the cause in some way, join a prison pen pal organization and bring a sense of human connection to others.
  • Another way to help the family behind bars is to send books. The organization, NYC books through bars, understands how much books can help with the rehabilitation and the education process in prison.
  • With vulnerable peoples such as the trans community,  women in prison, those with mental health needs, simply raising awareness on their behalf can be a radical act of kindness.
  • Another act of solidarity with your incarcerated family member is to donate to the ACLU Prisons Project. “Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, we work to ensure that conditions of confinement are consistent with health, safety, and human dignity and that prisoners retain all rights of free persons that are not inconsistent with incarceration.”

If you have a family member in prison, it is important to their own recovery and reformation to know they have people who love and support them.

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With an array of opportunities to help our family members in prison, it is important to note that reintroduction to society can pose a major challenge for former inmates. These are areas where you can help too. Our imprisoned family members may have been victims of the system, they may have survived the only way they know how, or maybe they just made a mistake. Whatever the circumstance, the key is to remember they are human, and most importantly, they are familia. So ask yourself, for their sake and the sake of our community, what can you do to help?

READ: Cyntoia Brown Was Finally Released From Prison After 15 Years– This Is What Resistance Looks Like

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Doorbell Camera Captured The Terrifying Moment A Neighbor Saved A Family From Their burning home

Things That Matter

A Doorbell Camera Captured The Terrifying Moment A Neighbor Saved A Family From Their burning home

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A family from Arizona has tragically been without a home since New Year’s Day. Fortunately, however, thanks to the swift efforts of a neighbor, they still have each other.

On New Year’s Day, the Salgado family was asleep in their home in Avondale, Arizona when they heard a frantic knock at their door. Nicole Salgado’s husband, who lived in the home with their children, opened the front door to find her neighbor shouting at her to get her family out of the house. It was on fire.

The Salgado family woke up New Year’s Day to find their house in flames.

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“We were all asleep,” Salgado explained to CNN in an interview. “Then all of the sudden around 7:30 in the morning, we hear banging on our door and our doorbell is going off and we kind of get scared.”

Their neighbor, Carolyn Palisch, was there telling them to get out of the house. Footage from the family’s home security video shows their neighbor running past flames to get to the home.

“He opened the door and all I heard was our neighbor Carolyn saying your house is on fire you have to get out,” said Salgado.

Salgado, who is a mother to four children, hurried to gather her children. Together, all of them escaped the burning home safely. “It was just kind of frantic at first, making sure we got everyone out and the dogs out,” she explained. “Then once we realized the full extent of it we were just in shock as we watched our home burn.”

Sadly, the Salgado family lost all their belongings in the fire

Salgado explained that the roof of her house collapsed moments after they escaped. According to CNN, firefighters at the scene claimed that if the family had still been sleeping at the time the roof had collapsed they would have inhaled the smoke and likely passed out immediately.

We are so thankful to just be alive,” Salgado explained in a post to her TikTook page. She also included doorbell camera footage of the moment their neighbor came to the rescue.

Salgado’s video has been liked nearly 7 million times on TikTok.

“Never did we think it was going to blow up the way it did. But we are so grateful,” Salgado explained. “We are so glad it did for Carol, to show how amazing she is. If it wasn’t for her it’d be a totally different story. We feel so thankful to her. We’re always going to consider her family. She not only saved us, she saved our kids.”

Salgado says that the cause of the fire is still under investigation and shared that her family has created a Go Fund Me account to help them rebuild their lives.

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5 Tips So You Can Succeed At Your 2021 Resolutions

Culture

5 Tips So You Can Succeed At Your 2021 Resolutions

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Your resolutions are your goals and aspirations. This means you can’t leave it up to anyone else. That is a surefire way to fall behind and not accomplish everything you put your mind to. Here are some tips to help you get through the new year and achieve your goals.

Don’t feel bad about being seflish.

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You are trying to better yourself. That is the point of making resolutions. This means that sometimes you have to be selfish and think about yourself and only yourself. If you want to get in better shape, you might have to tell your friends you can’t go eating with them all of the time. Or you want to follow your passion and need to create time to do you and block off time to do it. You deserve the investment so take the time to invest.

Your mom will love to keep you accountable.

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Latina moms are always here for you for anything. This also definitely absolutely goes for keeping you accountable. This is something that she already does naturally. You never have to remind her of a goal of yours because she will always remember and she will always follow up. She wants to know that her baby is getting everything they want out of life. Let them know your resolutions and you will get weekly check-ins to be held accountable.

Don’t go for those fad diets.

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Be good to yourself and your body. Make better food choices. We all have some kind of healthy food that we like. If you are trying to lose weight, let yourself enjoy the journey Find those foods that you already love that are good for you and your goal. Now, find ways to introduce more of that into your life. Those foods and replace the not-so-good foods to give you a better food option. Don’t go to the place of scarcity and famine. That won’t do you any good.

Light a candle to Saint Anthony, the Saint of Lost Causes.

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We have seen abuela and mami light candles to Saint Anthony so many times. At this point, he is legit a part of our family and there is a reason that he is so beloved in our homes. If you find yourself really struggling, go ahead and give this a trick. You might be surprised by the results of putting your faith in him.

Visualize the moment you are working towards.

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Take the time to see this through first. Don’t just jump into it without knowing where you are going. This will give you a roadmap that will lead you right to where you want to go. It is so important to visualize our goals if you want them to become realities.

READ: Reddit Users Are Sharing Their Craziest New Year’s Eve Stories And I Can’t Believe Some Of Them Didn’t Make The News

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