THERE IS STILL WORK TO DO!
WE have been discussing and committing to various actions WE wish to
engage in. WE continue to host community online (Zoom) dialogues
where WE gather, exchange ideas, develop action plans, programs, and
resources in support of men & women who have been incarcerated and
have returned home (DC). If you would like to jump in contact US via the
"Contact Us" link above. Here is what we have been discussing:
> How can I support men & women presently incarcerated in DC?
> How can I support men & women who have recently returned from
incarceration to the DC community?
After meeting on 4/14 we believe that the issues related to
assisting returning citizens are impacted by each topic discussed in
our other four zoom dialogues (i.e. mental health, congregational
support, etc.). We will wait until each zoom dialogue has taken
place to determine what actions to take regarding this issue of
supporting men and women who have recently returned from
> How do congregational Freedom Circles provide spiritual support to
returning citizens in the DC area? /
Learn about Freedom Circles on this website "About Us" tab. Others
have similar approaches to spiritually assisting returning citizens in
the DC area. Here are a few:
1. Healing Communities (www.healingcommuntiesusa.com)
2. Church of Christ Right Now (www.churchofchristrightnow.org)
3. Prison Fellowship (www.pfm.org)
4. Bible Way Church (https://biblewaywashington.org)
> What is restorative justice? What are Re-integration Circles?
Learn about Re-integration Circles on this website "About Us" the tab.
After discussing the differences between Freedom Circles and
Re-integration Circles we determined it was prudent to combine both
under the segment above under the topic "How do Congregations
provide support to returning citizens in the DC area.
> How can I engage locally in the big, systemic issues: Prison reform,
racial disparities, advocacy?
Discussions have focused on ensuring we repent of our role in
perpetuating systematic systems that don't provide equal
opportunity. We should forgive ourselves and others and advocate
for change. There are an abundance of issues that impact
incarceration and re-entry (abortion, fatherless families,
police reform, mental health etc.). Each should ensure they are
educated on all aspects of the issue one wishes to engage in before
taking action. Both sides of the issue need to be heard. After first
determining your own beliefs begin to establish relationships so
your views can be heard. Mass gatherings have some impact but the
greatest change takes place during one-on-one discussions.
The Re-Think Justice DC Coalition (www.rethinkjusticedc.org) is a
great place to plug in. Other resources:
Online Petitions: www.change.org
Moms Demand Action: https://momsdemandaction.org
Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform: www.ma4jr.org
Equal Justice Initiative: https://eji.org
Interfaith Action for Human Rights: https;//www.interfaithactionhr.org
Half of all people incarcerated in the U.S. have some form of mental
health concerns. About 10% to 25% of these suffer from serious
mental illnesses (schizophrenia etc.)
Believing that by (1) building a bridge between those who desire
change and those who can make change and (2) advocating for a
change to the way mental health issues are currently addressed
during arrest, conviction, incarceration, and upon return, Reunion DC
continues to build community and seek support.
More to come! Reunion DC continues to "do the work".