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Community Advocacy Organization

Claretta Duckett-Freeman Lansing City Council Candidate imagines more than police and prisons

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Courtesy Photo-Claretta Duckett-Freeman Lansing City Council At-Large Candidate

In my mind prison serves two purposes in the United States. One is that it helps people feel that they are safer because a person deemed dangerous can no longer harm some people. The other purpose is that it helps private companies employ cheap labor. Before 1863 they could have used enslaved Africans. Why does this matter? It matters because we have to question if prison makes society safer and if it is moral to cage people and make them slaves as long as they broke a law first.

Courtesy Photo-Claretta and Family pose for portrait in REO Town Lansing. (L to R) Vickie, Daro Jr., Claretta, Daro III, Clara. Front left: Mishael and Iris

Imprisoned people in the United States fight fires, make computer chips, clean streets and parks as well as other useful things. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates make 12-40 cents an hour. For those of us who descended from stolen people, it should be no surprise that the majority of prisoners are poor and white or Black or Latino. These are groups of people who have been abused to “make this country great” since colonization began in the Americas.

Isaiah 61:1 says “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

What if instead of being the country with the most people in prison, we were the country with the most people in therapy? What if we were the country with the most people in safe and affordable housing? It takes courage but we can do this in Lansing. If we invested significantly more money in communities, our crime would drop. I can’t change the world but I do believe that together we can change Lansing and we can show the forgotten, the thrown away, the forsaken human beings that they are in fact, loved. They have a reason to live a good life and that people will fight for their wellbeing. Lansing did this for me, we can do it for others.

For more information or to connect with Claretta please visit

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