The Invisible Labor of Women Who Love Incarcerated People
Essie Justice Group
by Kelly Phipps
1w ago
For the first two years of [Cassandra] Butler’s brother’s current sentence, he was in Walla Walla, and the drive to visit him took about two hours. When her brother was transferred to Clallam Bay around 2010, Butler’s journey grew to eight and a half hours each direction. Now, Butler lives in Puyallup and her brother has since been moved across the state to Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, still over 200 miles, or three and a half hours, away. The long distance requires Butler to get a hotel for the entire weekend so she can visit on consecutive days and make the most of the long drive. In a ..read more
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2023 Fall Healing to Advocacy Graduations — featuring our 50th cohort!
Essie Justice Group
by cim-developer
2w ago
“We can build a path to freedom, not just for ourselves and for our families, but for ourselves as a people against all these systems that need to go. And that’s what we’ve been up to. Fifty cohorts later we’re still standing right here.” — Gina Clayton-Johnson, Essie Founder & Executive Director During our Fall 2023 Healing to Advocacy Graduation season we celebrated our 50th cohort since launching our Healing to Advocacy Program in 2014! And if there’s one thing that never fails to come out of Essie’s Graduation Season, it’s the confirmation that there is love, unity, and power i ..read more
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What does the loneliness crisis mean for Black women? It is time to tackle incarceration’s isolating effects.
Essie Justice Group
by Shanice Watkins
1M ago
Written by Gina Clayton-Johnson, originally published by The Grio. Mass incarceration is family separation “on repeat,” creating mass isolation and loneliness. And Black women, who often have incarcerated family members, are an unrecognized casualty of those isolating effects. I first met Tyshion when she came to Essie Justice Group in 2019, right before the pandemic. Like many of us, Tyshion had loved ones who were incarcerated. Through our Healing to Advocacy program, she was beginning to understand just how deeply isolated she felt and what true community felt like. And ..read more
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2023 Fall Healing to Advocacy Graduations — featuring our 50th cohort!
Essie Justice Group
by Olivia Christian
3M ago
“We can build a path to freedom, not just for ourselves and for our families, but for ourselves as a people against all these systems that need to go. And that’s what we’ve been up to. Fifty cohorts later we’re still standing right here.” — Gina Clayton-Johnson, Essie Founder & Executive Director During our Fall 2023 Healing to Advocacy Graduation season we celebrated our 50th cohort since launching our Healing to Advocacy Program in 2014! And if there’s one thing that never fails to come out of Essie’s Graduation Season, it’s the confirmation that there is love, unity, and power in Sist ..read more
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Essie Justice Group Statement on the Re-Introduction of the People’s Response Act
Essie Justice Group
by Tanasia Newman
8M ago
Transformative safety is possible when we follow the leadership of Black women.  History is clear that we cannot achieve genuine safety and liberation for all people until we abandon policing, prisons, and punitivity. As Black people continue to experience violence at the hands of police and disproportionately higher rates of incarceration, and as our communities face mounting attacks against our bodily autonomy, lawmakers must prioritize the safety of our communities. Essie Justice Group supports Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo) in her reintroduction of the People’s Response Act — a movem ..read more
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One Year Post Dobbs
Essie Justice Group
by Kelly Phipps
8M ago
A year ago today, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for the criminalization of Black women. The Dobbs decision removed constitutional rights to abortion set forth from the historic Roe v. Wade ruling. Essie Justice Group stands against this ruling and is raising the alarm against laws that target bodily autonomy, like anti-abortion and anti-trans laws, for their acute impact to Black women, especially trans women. “The Dobbs decision was just one step in a coordinated attack against our bodily autonomy and freedom. The Right is putting every effort towards controlling birthing people an ..read more
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In conversation with Blindspotting: Breaking Isolation & Empowering Women
Essie Justice Group
by Kelly Phipps
9M ago
Telling the stories of the 1 in 2 Black women with an incarcerated loved one are important. This year Essie members, and mother-daughter duo, Bianca and Ms. Monique sat down with Jasmine Cephas Jones, the lead of the hit Starz show Blindspotting, to discuss the effects of the prison system on women. “Using your voice and being able to express your story to someone is an empowering thing when you’ve been told that your incarcerated loved one is irredeemable, or someone who shouldn’t be discussed at the kitchen table.” Bianca shared. “When you’re able to be in a community of women who said the ..read more
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#FreeBlackMamas: Mass Incarceration is a Hidden Hurdle for Black Mamas
Essie Justice Group
by Kelly Phipps
10M ago
Women with incarcerated loved ones are filling in the gaps when society fails to resource Black women. On Thursday, May 11, Essie Justice Group, Assemblymember Mia Bonta (District 18), Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods, Bay Area leaders, and advocates gathered at the Alameda Courthouse in Oakland to call attention to the harm of mass incarceration on generations of Black women, families, and communities as part of the #FreeBlackMamas annual National Bail Out Campaign. “With both racial and gendered disparities within the criminal legal system, being a Black mother means to uniquely ..read more
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We’ve been breaking isolation for 9 years today. And we’re not done yet!
Essie Justice Group
by Kelly Phipps
10M ago
For the last 40 years, society has invested in isolation.  Today, we have the highest rates of incarceration of any country in the world. In four short decades, there has been a 500% increase in incarcerated people. Incarceration separates people from one another – it separates people from communities and from resources that heal and foster accountability. Which means that over the past 40 years our country has literally invested in isolation. Where 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 2 Black women have an incarcerated loved one, the crisis of loneliness has been severely felt by women.  Nine yea ..read more
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We’re freeing Black Mamas in time for Mother’s Day. Want to help?
Essie Justice Group
by Kelly Phipps
10M ago
What’s possible when Black Mamas are free? Black women find healing, children are cared for, families are whole, entire communities thrive. Black Mamas and caregivers bear the brunt of incarceration and are the fastest growing population in jails. We say  “Black Mamas” to represent the full diversity of lived experiences that includes birthing persons (cis women, trans folks and gender nonconforming individuals) and all people of African descent across the diaspora. From abortion rights to anti-trans bills, escalating attacks against our bodily autonomy are increasingly criminalizing Bla ..read more
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