A Partner Post and Announcement from our Friends at Pittsburgh Freethought Community!

In her preface to The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander writes, “This book is not for everyone. I have a specific audience in mind – people who care deeply about racial justice but who, for any number of reasons, do not yet appreciate the magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration.” Since its publication in 2010 there have been more books, studies, documentaries, all demonstrating not that our criminal justice system is failing, but rather that in enforcing a racial caste system, it is doing exactly what it has been designed to do. Register below for this virtual lecture to learn more about the harm resulting from mass incarceration and how we can work toward real justice and true public safety.

Please share this widely.

Ending Death by Incarceration and Prison Abolition 
PFC’s monthly virtual lecture is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13th at 7pm. and will feature Xelba Gutiérrez and Jennifer Black from Straight Ahead

There are 2 million people in the nation’s prisons and jails–a 500% increase over the last 40 years. Changes in sentencing law and policy, not changes in crime rates, explain most of this increase. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and fiscal burdens on states to accommodate a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not an effective means of achieving public safety. The reach of carceral control, which disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities, also impacts greater numbers of poor, white rural communities, as well as growing numbers of women of all races and ethnicities. Our speakers will address what we can do to understand the issues, to advocate for change based on evidence, not myths and prejudice, to reduce the harm it causes, and to build a system that works to protect and promote public safety.

Register here!  

More about our speakers:
Jennifer BlackJennifer Black (she/her) is the Central PA Community Organizer for Straight Ahead and hails from a background in both activism and academia. Shaped by her experiences in the Free Mumia movement and other important initiatives for justice, Black began to understand prison justice as the foundational linchpin for all aspirations towards transformative social change.Following this recognition, Black attained a Master’s degree in African American Studies and a PhD in Comparative Studies where her research focused on high-risk activism, state terror, criminal (in)justice, police brutality, Black Power, the Free Mumia movement, mass incarceration and social movement theory. Since graduating Black worked as a college instructor at The Ohio State University, and for the non-profit organization Prison Radio doing research, educational support work, and prison outreach. Whether in the street, or meeting hall, a prison visiting room, or the classroom–the focus and commitment is the same: to coordinate, unite, and build on the activism occurring around prison justice issues, to envision an abolitionist future.
Xelba GutiérrezXelba (they/she) is the Political Educator for Straight Ahead. They are a queer, immigrant, community organizer, educator and facilitator made of fierce indignation and gentle compassion. They were born in Venezuela, from revolutionary parents, and spent their formative years between Santiago, Chile and Miami, Florida. After living on the West Coast for some years, Xelba made Philadelphia home where she became increasingly involved in organizing across many issues and earned a master’s degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Justice from UPenn.Xelba brings a global view, heavily influenced by their South American roots and they are passionate about challenging systems and having hard conversations about decolonizing and unlearning harmful frameworks. They firmly believe that there is a world without prisons and police in our future and is happy to join Straight Ahead to deepen that work.

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