The name of this exhibit ‘All of Us or None; Responses and Resistance to Militarism’ was inspired by the poem ‘This Time’ by Aurora Levins Morales. We wanted to use a name that makes people think about how our collective survival is on the line. While many of us experience militarism differently - some hold the guns while others die from them - we all have a stake in the work of building a better world. A system that is exclusive, racist, oppressive and militarized cannot and will not last. We must work to create peace and justice that works for all of us, or none of us will ever see it.
We want to clarify that this exhibit is not affiliated with the group of formerly incarcerated people and their families, All of Us or None, a project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. We support their work, and believe they are a powerful example of a community of people working tirelessly to resist state violence that threatens their lives and livelihood. We encourage you to visit their website, learn about what they do, and consider making a donation to sustain their work today.
Many formerly incarcerated people have survived militarized violence, be it prolonged time in solitary confinement, assault from corrections officers, or trauma from living under lock and key. Upon their release into society, formerly incarcerated and convicted people face numerous barriers in securing housing, employment, education, and even voting.
On their website, All of Us or None explains that their goal is “to strengthen the voices of people most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the prison-industrial complex. Through our grassroots organizing, we are building a powerful political movement to win full restoration of our human and civil rights.”
And they are doing just that. Just this week, All of Us or None and their allies celebrated a huge victory, securing the right to vote for 60,000 formerly convicted people throughout the state of California.
They are contributing to widespread change that is being felt across the country, and shifting the narrative about mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex. In 2004, they began a campaign asking employers to ‘ban the box’ that ask employers to remove questions about criminal history from their job applications. Ten years later, there are over a hundred active Ban the Box campaigns around the country, in 18 states. Even President Obama endorsed the idea of banning the box last month.
We applaud the visionary work of All of Us or None, and hope that you will take the time to learn about them.
We encourage you to use our full name ‘All of Us or None; Responses and Resistance to Militarism’ when describing our exhibit, to avoid confusion.