For me, I had no choice but to take a stand for justice and join in the struggle to end mass incarceration. Injustice was my reality. I saw firsthand the impact of the tangled web of mass incarceration with far too many entry points and far fewer exit points. There are over 2 million people incarcerated in the US.
America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with 5% of the world’s population and 21% of the world’s prison population.
When compared to other industrialized nations:
And when we look at the fact the majority of those incarcerated are people of color with more black men under the control of the criminal justice system in America today than who were enslaved in the 1800’s– it is clear race matters.
Gender matters also matters: Women in jail are the fastest growing correctional population in the country— between 1980 and 2014 the population of incarcerated women grew over 700%. There are nearly one million women incarcerated and under some type of supervised release, 60% of women incarcerated in state prisons are mothers with children under the age of 18. And when we look at the fact black women are incarcerated more than twice the rate of white women – it is clear once again that race matters.
I grew up as a child witness to the War on Drugs during which I saw my community being destroyed as our moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles entered the prison gates for nonviolent drug offenses. They were locked up and locked out. Locked out of society- when they returned to their communities with a permanent scarlet letter (F for Felon) which restricted their access to jobs, voting and even housing.
Our community is broken..
It became clear to me at the intersection of race and poverty- Our policies are broken…
I had a choice to make, I could stand on the sidelines while reading the headlines and observe the social justice challenges of our time (and simply say- “isn’t that too bad.”) or I could be a part of the solution. I decided to take action. I recognized that law is a language of power so I needed to become well versed in this language in order to ensure that my community could exercise their rights and had a voice to shape their destiny. So, that’s when Miss Freedom Fighter Esquire stepped on the scene. Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire is my inner superhero who seeks to advance the cause of justice by ending mass incarceration. Her sword is her legal training and her shield is unshakable faith.
Here are the eight strategies that Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire is using to end mass incarceration in partnership with community leaders across the United States:
- Redefining Leadership
- Creating jobs to end poverty
- Promoting educational opportunities
- Disrupting the school to prison pipeline
- Addressing implicit bias
- Engaging in policy reform
- Taking a comprehensive approach
- Building restorative communities