Rap duo, Dead Prez, teamed up with the Hip-Hop Caucus, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International to spark a movement calling for a shutdown of the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
During a news conference in Capitol Hill on Tuesday (June 19), Dead Prez’s M1 compared the targeting of African-Americans by the U.S. government to current policies that deny accused terrorists the right to challenge their accusers in court, according to AFP.
“We are victims of a war that has been directed at our community under the guise of the war on drugs,” M1 told a group of anti-war activists and reporters.
“I come from the ‘hood. I represent what people call OGs,” continued the rapper. “But I want to talk about the OVs, the original victims. That’s what we are in our community, we are the OVs. We are the original victims of terrorism.”
Civil liberties activists have long accused the government of using torture and coercion while interrogating terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay facility.
The organizations involved are planning a petition urging Congress to restore habeas corpus — the legal action that allows a prisoner to challenge their detention in a court of law — via a “Hip-Hop for Habeas” concert at Washington’s famed 9:30 Club and a rally in the nation’s capital on June 26.
The press conference and concert both coincide with the unofficial “Juneteenth” celebration, which marks the day slavery was abolished in the United States on June 19, 1865.
“We are here to link that struggle to this struggle,” said Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr., head of the Hip-Hop Caucus. “It is not about us or me when the richest country in the world is rolling back our rights.”
According to the AFP, the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed a bill, earlier this month, that would restore the right of habeas corpus to those detained by the United States.
The next step will be to go to the full Senate floor for consideration.