By Karima Amin

The weekend of May 3 and 4, 2019 will long be remembered as the time of a very successful hosting of PRISONERS ARE PEOPLE TOO’s REGIONAL CONFERENCE.  Attendees came from across the State of NY to participate in an event that focused on Mass Incarceration’s impact on Families and Communities. Our local theme, “Changing Criminal Injustice,” with an eye focused on reducing recidivism, took a closer look at legislation coming out of Albany that has brought us to our present condition with the stats that I have written about before.

The USA has the highest incarceration rate of any other country in the world. 2.4 million people are imprisoned at this time. Our panelists, on Friday evening, shared data that was both interesting and heart wrenching as well as strategies for gathering the people-power that is needed to challenge the powers that be.  Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of the Alliance of Families for Justice, opened our eyes to strategies that work to engage our lawmakers. Our Saturday Keynote Speaker, Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., Founding Director of UB’s Center for Urban Studies, took us on a journey with a “follow-the-dots” analysis from Slavery to the 13thAmendment to Harry J. Anslinger to Herbert Hoover to Cointelpro to today. Eyes were opened and minds were elevated.

This 9-hour conference resulted in fruitful networking and camaraderie as attendees heard from various prisoner justice advocates.

Due to the upcoming Holiday, Prisoners Are People too will meet on Monday, May 20 at 7 to 9pm at the CAO Rafi Green Center, 1423 Fillmore Avenue, @ the corner of Glenwood.

Our 14th Anniversary is coming soon. SAVE THE DATE, June 24, 2019. We’ll have a video to show from the Regional Conference.