“What does it mean, individually and collectively, to create a strategic nonviolent revolution against injustice—not only against the prison system, but against America’s recurring forms of racialized social control?”
That question has been posed by Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” a book that demonstrates how the era of mass incarceration has created a new caste system with devastating consequences for people of color.
As individuals, it can be hard to see how we can turn the tide on this issue. But Michelle’s question is a powerful call to action to anyone who recognizes the God in all of us. And many individuals are answering this call with passion and commitment as part of the new Quaker Network to End Mass Incarceration.
The idea for the Network began at the Gathering of Friends General Conference in 2014. More than 100 people across the country have already pledged to take part in the Network, which seeks to facilitate an exchange of resources among individuals and organizations; connect people with advocacy efforts in their area; and organize joint campaigns in our communities and states.
“The racist exploitation of blacks over the years in the U.S. has taken many forms: slavery, segregation and Jim Crow laws, and now, mass incarceration,” says Philip Stone, a member of the Worcester Meeting in Massachusetts. “There are people across the country working on the various aspects of mass incarceration, but they are isolated and fragmented. The Network meets a critical need to weave people together and increase our effectiveness.”
The Quaker Network to End Mass Incarceration is open to all people. To learn more, contact Lucy Duncan, AFSC director of Friends Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-241-7062.
—JOHN MEYER AND LEWIS WEBB
John Meyer is the education coordinator at Pendle Hill. Lewis Webb, Jr. is the Healing Justice Program coordinator of AFSC’s New York office.