Much of the conference on ending mass incarceration at Pendle Hill was focused on listening and learning about the issues, but also considering effective strategy: how to build campaigns, how to center the leadership of those formerly or currently incarcerated and their families in movements, how to do this work in a way that can have the most impact.
Below is an excerpt from a plenary session at the recent Ending mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow conference at Pendle Hill. Michelle Alexander was interviewed by Daniel Hunter and Jondhi Harrell. This excerpt has been edited for focus and for the written page, so that it flows more easily. Watch the video below to hear the full, very rich conversation.
Call for Spirited Action: Quaker Network to end mass incarceration
Have you heard about the new growing network of Quakers working together across the country to end mass incarceration? What started as a small group of Friends meeting during mealtimes at the 2014 Friends General Conference Gathering has burgeoned into a movement of Quakers connecting across the country to see how we can pool our knowledge and resources on shifting our prison system.
St. Louis resident Diamond Latchison joined the protests five days after Mike Brown’s death. “Once I started seeing firsthand what the people were doing and what the police were doing, I never left,” she says.
The human experience is a beautifully complex one. In our 21st century lives, it seems that our online newspapers, twitter feeds, and emails are filled with stories of hate, injustice, oppression and violence. We often need to look a little deeper to find the stories of hope, faith, compassion, and love, and by the time we get to them, we are often too weighed down with challenging stories to recognize the uplifting ones. But we must be resilient. We must stay encouraged.
This is the final in a series about Quaker healing justice work, including Quaker activist J. Jondhi Harrell and AFSC’s Lewis Webb. I interviewed Marshall “Eddie” Conway at his office at the Baltimore Real News station, where he works as a TV producer when he’s not organizing at AFSC’s Baltimore office.
Note: Recently Lia Lindsey, Policy Impact Coordinator for AFSC, traveled to Geneva with a delegation to testify to the UN Committee against Torture about solitary confinement in the United States. She joined many others, including Mike Brown's parents, to bring the voices of those most impacted to the halls of the United Nations to consider actions to disrupt injustice, including solitary confinement, in the United States. - Lucy
Since August I’ve seen banners, signs, Facebook statuses, and Tweets with the message “Pray for peace in St. Louis.” I’ve heard prayers for peace as people of faith gather in response to events in Ferguson, MO. In recent days I’ve seen an increase in the calls to pray as people waited for the Grand Jury announcement. I’m tired of hearing the calls for peace. Let me be clear: I do not want violence, destruction, or death. I care about the well-being of all parties from police to protesters. However, when I see some call for peace I don’t think they understand it to mean what I understand it to mean.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.