Group marches for justice and dignity

Posted at 11:53 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 02:53:19-04

A community group is asking for dignity and justice for those in the prison and immigration system.

This comes after Pope Francis asked for Americans to remember prisoners, who are often neglected and forgotten.

Marching for dignity and justice. It's what dozens outside of prison walls are fighting for - standing in for those who can't.

"We see them. We do recognize that we see them and they are worthy of human dignity and we want to stand with you," Joseph "Joey" Williams, director at Faith in Action Kern County.

Williams said people in prison and immigration detention centers deserve to be treated with respect, which they don't often get.

"A lot of the times we do punitive and penal measures to punish people for a crime and then we throw them away, pretty much condemned to a life not being able to find jobs or housing. We want to be able to change that ," said Williams. 

Tonight, the community organization, along with people of faith, marched from central park in Bakersfield to the Mesa Verde Detention Facility, praying for those who are behind walls.

This comes after Pope Francis' visit to prisoners in Philadelphia last week, where he asked Americans "to tend to the poor, forgotten and neglected."

"All of us are part of that effort. All of us are invited to encourage or enable your rehabilitation," said Pope Francis. 

Those words resonated to many in Kern County, including Shawn Newsom, who, himself, spent time behind bars.

"When I see that people are being locked up without access to the system, my heart breaks for my brothers and sisters," said Newsom. 

He said he was in jail 10 times and imprisoned three. He saw first hand the injustices of the system and hopes to change that in any way he can.

"A felony conviction creates this huge hole for you that you have to try to climb your way out. For most people, to climb your way out, it's so difficult, they slide back in and there's just no escape from it," said Newsom.

While those detained can't always fight for themselves while behind bars, Faith in Action said they won't stop fighting.

"We're here with you, we love you, you're a human being, you're our brother and sister," said Williams. 


Like Grecia Aguilar on Facebook:

Follow Grecia Aguilar on Twitter: