Cookout and Ride for Prison Justice (photo credit: Nola to Angola)
You may have seen the bikes covered in lights riding through the dark city at night. And you may have seen teams of riders hitting the streets in the fall on their way to Angola Prison. Now, there is another bike ride in town–this one is paired with a cookout, and it is a ride for prison justice.
On Saturday, April 7, 2018 Nola to Angola, along with their co-sponsors RUBARB, a volunteer run community bike shop, and Get up and Ride, an organization that puts together social bike rides, will be leading bikers around New Orleans in the name of prison justice. Many know about Nola to Angola’s fall ride that raises funds for The Cornerstone Builders Bus Project, which provides free transportation to families of incarcerated peoples across Louisiana, allowing them to reunite. While the ride taking place on April 7 is sponsored by Nola to Angola, it is a bit different than their fall ride. This spring ride will be raising funds for organizations that have been and continue to do work around prison justice. Specifically, the ride will raise money for Women with A Vision, Congreso, The First 72+, and Voice of the Experienced.
“We wanted to use our model of fundraising through a bike ride to orchestrate an event that supports organizations who are already doing work around prison justice and doing work to support people who are disproportionately affected by mass incarceration,” Sarah Hollows, one of the ride’s organizers, explains. Not only will the ride support the aforementioned organizations, but these organizations will also be stopping points along the eight-mile ride. The intention is to raise awareness about the establishments and the continuous work they are doing for the community, families, and people affected by mass incarceration.
With Louisiana having the highest mass incarceration rate in the nation, the effects of the prison system extend well beyond the walls of the prisons themselves. Rodeos, craft sales, prison-dependent jobs, food items, and much more make mass incarceration present in anyone’s life who lives in Louisiana. The prisons themselves are within view, biking distance, and at the very least driving distance from New Orleans, but there is a much deeper vein when it comes to mass incarceration. Thousands upon thousands of people are family members, friends, advocates, and loved ones of those who are incarcerated.
With many people wanting to help, these bike rides are one of the few ways people can get involved in order to fight for prison justice, and the ride on Saturday wants to help people know what avenues they can take.
The Ride and Cookout for Prison Justice begin at 10:00 AM, and they will be meeting at shelter 1 in City Park. There will be a greeting, and a recognition about what the ride is about, and then the eight-mile bike ride will begin. Of course, coming out to support or participate in the ride is a great way to get involved, but it is not the only way you can be part of the Ride and Cookout for Prison Justice. If you can’t make it to the ride, everyone is invited to the cookout, which will occur at 1:00 PM at shelter 1 in City Park. There will be food, face painting, games, and various activities to celebrate the ride’s completion.
Local chefs are volunteering to cook for potentially the 100s of people that may show up for the ride that day, and although Hollows was keeping the menu rather secret, there was talk of “…shrimp and grits, etouffee, beans and rice, [and] maybe some punch and pie.”
No matter what the food, the ride aims to educate as well as fight for prison justice, and they recognize that they are in no way the first to be doing this. The Ride and Cookout for Prison Justice wants to support the many organizations that have been speaking out, fighting, and doing work for years and even decades. In that way, it’s a group ride in more ways than one.