Actor, director and political activist, Danny Glover attracted a full house of students and faculty in CSUN’s Grand Salon to have a conversation about political incarceration Tuesday night.
Accompanied by former black panther Hank Jones, Glover covered the prominence of the issues inside the “war on drugs” and the incarceration of American activists for the last several decades. The activists urged students to take what they were learning about the topic into a mode of action.
“The steps between being conscious of the problem and concrete action is often where we get bogged down,” Glover said, “We should ask ourselves where we take our information. We should ask ourselves ‘What can I do right here?'”
Jones described his call to action as a moment of redefining democracy with his direct experience in civil rights activism.
“This government doesn’t forget those who stand up against it. They have a long memory, which is why we have to have a long memory. We can’t forget. We can’t go to sleep.” Hank said “We can’t throw out a democracy that we haven’t seen.”
Moderator of the event and Pan African studies professor, Dr. Theresa White described the topic of the event as “worthy of discussion and a call to action.” White named several facts that provide evidence of unjust targeting toward African -Americans in jails and law.
“The war on drugs has cost over a trillion in spending” White said, “A majority of incarcerated Americans are African-Americans while only 13 percent of America’s population is composed of African-Americans.”
Two films were shown to project the relevance that the issues still have on America.
“The House I Live In” focused on the disproportionate number of African-Americans being arrested and incarcerated in line with the war on drugs. It highlighted the reasons drugs become an independent economy in certain communities, and how the youth has become trapped by the idea to have money.
“Bring Herman Bell Home” was a film about an incarcerated political activist who still served the country as an educator, coach, leader in sustainability and defender of social justice.
“I believe the film was received well, and I was surprised by the Oscar Nomination,” Glover said regarding The House I Live In. “Questions arise in the minds of those who begin to challenge the structures.”
The event’s organizers awarded Glover with a commemorative plaque after his question and answer session with attendees.