Mr. and Mrs.Mike and Debbie Africa are in each other’s arms again on the outside for the first time in 40 years. They both served 40 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Debbie was 8 1/2 months pregnant with her and Michael’s son, Mike, Jr. when she went into prison. Her baby was born in prison and kept from both his parents for his entire life up until now. Yesterday, they were united. Their embrace says it all.
Additionally and equally as awesome, after 40 years of being separated from one another due to incarceration, Michael Africa, Jr. and Michael Africa, Sr. are reunited on today! Michael Africa, Sr., a member of the MOVE9 from Philly, was falsely incarcerated for 40 years — his son’s and namesake’s entire life. The stark separation that incarceration imposes delivers a pain that is indescribable to those who don’t know it first-hand.
When people advocate for more prison time and longer sentences, they often don’t consider the impact that one’s time in prison has on not only them, but their family. To deny Mike Africa, Jr. of both his parents for his entire life is heinous. That is cruelty. Incarceration — particularly the way and at the rate it is executed in the US is disgusting.
To see the light in both of their eyes is nothing short of a miracle and a true testament to the truth that “Love Never Fails.” May long, healthy life be both of their portions.
As a society — especially those of us who are facing this in a very raw, personal way - we need to continue to fight and win against the pervasive culture of mass incarceration that disproportionately plagues the Black Family.