A month with no national holidays, August is often considered one of the hottest months of the year. The heat rises as the sun blocks our view of the dog star, Sirius, giving August its own personal phrase, “the dog days of August.” It is the same month that Dutch sailors brought Africans to Jamestown in 1619. Twenty human beings that they traded for food and supplies, and the long road through history for those people and their descendants was never the same.
For so many oppressed people of all kinds, of a multitude of ethnicities, races, and orientations, the word freedom has had endless connotations about not just physical freedom, but as Bob Marley might say, freedom from “mental slavery” as well. Inspired by Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, this month we explore internal and external freedom through the view of those who’ve been incarcerated and seek freedom from the slavery of their own hearts and minds as well as freedom from a system that unjustly imprisons many.
Lest we forget, this month Ramadan begins, a month of purification and fasting for Muslims worldwide.