by Karima Amin
Reducing Recidivism will be the focus of the upcoming PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO’s Regional Conference. We are excited to be able to share information with you on May 3 (5:30 to 8:00pm) and May 4 (8:30am to 3:30pm) at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, located at 701 East Delavan Avenue in Buffalo, NY, in collaboration with the Alliance of Families for Justice. We hope that the information we share will encourage you to join us in a fight for justice that impacts everyone. Since 2005, PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO has provided advocacy and education, bringing awareness and empowerment to our community around the issue of how legislation that comes from Albany in general, specifically focused on “Corrections,” actually impacts the lives of families and people in our communities, sometimes in ways that they are not aware of. If a person has not spent time in prison or has never had an incarcerated loved one, oftentimes assumptions are made. Prisoners become “the other,” un-worthy of respect, care, or concern. The stigma that results, happens because we rarely talk about a system that ignores the humanity of all people.
Prisoners are all of us. Anyone of us could find ourselves behind bars. There are men, women, and children who once thought, “This couldn’t happen to me.” But it did. There are thousands of adolescents in prison. Only NY and NC will place some in adult prisons. Today in the USA, there are 2.7 million minor children with incarcerated parents. Imagine your childhood with one or both parents in prison. The imprisonment rate for prisoners age 55 or older continues to grow. Imagine your grandparents in jail or prison. Imagine your sibling, or child, or classmate, or childhood friend, or neighbor, or teacher in prison. I could go on; the impact on re-lationships is endless. Hence, our communities suffer. Our conference will high-light the strategies that we can use to improve the lives of the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated, and the victims.
We are honored to have Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. as our Keynote Speaker on Saturday, May 4. Dr. Taylor is the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Studies at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. His re-search, focusing on issues of race and class, and the needs of traditionally margin-alized groups, has made him an expert in assessing systemic factors, fueled by rac-ism, that frequently lead to criminal convictions. The presence and words of this activist-scholar should ignite conversation and actions for positive change.
The next monthly meeting of PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO will take place on next Monday, March 25 from 7:00 to 9:00pm at the C.A.O. Masten Resource/Rafi Greene Center, 1423 Fillmore Avenue @ Glenwood. As always, our regular monthly meetings are open to the public. Plan to attend. Also make sure to post our Conference dates on your calendar: Friday, May 3, 5:30 to 8:00pm and Saturday, May 4, 8:30am to 3:30pm. For more information: Karima, firstname.lastname@example.org, or BaBa, email@example.com.