Alan Bean and Melanie Wilmoth
Just a few nights ago, activists, former prisoners, and concerned citizens gathered at Riverside Church in New York to discuss mass incarceration and the criminal justice system. These individuals are launching a campaign built around the ideas expressed by Michelle Alexander in her book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” Especially concerned with the effect our broken justice system has on people of color, these organizers are advocating for a complete transformation of our system of mass incarceration. MW
I met Jazz Hayden at a conference in Chicago a while back and have been following his work ever since. Pockets of resistance to the New Jim Crow are popping up across the country and Jazz is at the forefront of this movement. AGB
On a quiet Friday evening, a band of grizzled but passionate prison activists wound its way through the corridors of Riverside Church, into a bright business-like meeting room. On the agenda this night: the launching of a campaign to end what they call the “New Jim Crow.”
The phrase refers to academic Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” which argues that the American criminal justice system is both unjust and racist. Several city-based activists dealing with the rights of prisoners have heard of the book: more than a few highly recommend it, too.
Among those present at this private meeting were two Harlem residents who have endured the prison system for decades and survived to tell the tale. (more…)