By Carson Haneke
Purpose of Project
The main purpose of this project is to show the injustices of Solitary Confinement. Many see Solitary Confinement as a very wrong act. They also see it as violating our Due Process rights. In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the mockingbirds symbolize innocence. There are many injustices in the town of Maycomb, just like everywhere in the world. Also, in his "Ted Talk", Bryan Stevenson talks about how we have lost our identity. He said "(people say) It's not our problem, it's not our burden, it's not our struggle." There is a way we can regain our identity. We must become attentive to the dark and difficult things in the world. Solitary Confinement has not gotten the attention it needs to get. The purpose of this project is to get people to reclaim our identities by facing the injustices we don't want to believe.
Modern Day "Mockingbirds"
One social injustice of today is people going into Solitary Confinement. The victims of this are people who are isolated by themselves in institutions for very long periods of time. The prison rulers are exploiting these victims. They know what they're doing is wrong, but they are still isolating these people and violating their Due Process rights. Here is a direct quote from afsc.org: "If one is not mentally ill when entering an isolation unit, by the time they are released their mental health has been severely compromised." This is honestly wrong and unacceptable. When they are being isolated, the prison rulers know for a fact that they will become mentally ill to a certain extent.
Social Context: "The Disease"
The disease in Maycomb that caused injustice in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is racism. This can be classified as a disease because it can spread from person to person like any deadly disease. Tim Johnson symbolized this disease in a huge way. Tim Johnson was a rabid dog;alike most racists, he was blind to everything and he had no control over most of his actions. They are misinformed and ignorant, spreading their racism to others without even realizing it. In the novel, Atticus also represents a part of racism. He represents those that confront the injustice and do something about it, thus killing the dog. We contribute to the disease by ignoring to these injustices.
Becoming Atticus Finch
Atticus' definition of courage is "... being licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.". With most of the victims of these injustices, they were already "licked" when they started off; like Tom Robinson. These are the victims that are courageous to see everything through no matter what. We, like Atticus must defeat the social injustice by coming together as a community. Our personal role in this injustice is to realize that every person can contribute to the hope of a community. We must all face the things we don't want to believe and contribute to stop this injustice. We must also have a positive attitude and a courageous behavior. Even as small as creating a petition and signing it, we must do anything we can to overcome this injustice and any other injustice in our world. This helps us reclaim our identities because as Stevenson argues, "we will create a mind-heart connection", "commit self to a process of truth and reconciliation", and realize our "humanity depends on everyone else's humanity."