ON THE NIGHT of August 14, a small group of around 20 Tucson, Arizona-based activists and community members stood outside the Pima County Adult Detention Complex, making noise. They sang, they chanted, they banged drums and pans loud enough to reach the ears of those caged behind the facility’s beige concrete walls. Standing on a sidewalk, some lit small, handheld fireworks; others held up a large banner bearing the famed prison abolitionist refrain, “Fire to the prisons.” The message to those inside, as with most every noise demonstration held outside a prison: “You are not alone.”
Noise demonstrations are a well-established practice, held all around the country, for showing solidarity with incarcerated people. They are a gesture of community, against the prison system’s brutal enforcement of isolation. In Tucson that August night, according to one attendee, the inmates could be seen dancing and waving in response.