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Community Conversation

SHARING OUR TIME, SHARING OUR KNOWLEDGE.

Held the 4th Monday of each month

from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. E.T.

Our Series on Judicial Reform Continues

Join the conversation on June 24, 2024 

7:30 to 9:00 PM EST

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For our second conversation in our series on judicial reform, the Coalition for Justice welcomes Heather Lewis, MHS. She is the Director and Founder of the Reuniting Family Bail Fund (RFBF).  As a nonprofit professional with a master’s degree in human services, Heather Lewis has been committed to the needs of vulnerable individuals and families in Montgomery County PA for nearly 20 years. Heather is the Founder and Executive Director of the Reuniting Family Bail Fund. The RFBF, along with a team of Court Watchers and Participatory Defense practitioners, has helped hundreds of families navigate the criminal legal system; challenge illegal bail practices and engage the community in sharing of their collective knowledge.

Through extensive relationships with partners, community events, holiday support and pop-up community meals, the RFBF continues to engage the community. The RFBF has introduced a live bi-weekly podcast, quarterly newsletter, social media strategy and educational initiatives to support and empowers families with knowledge of the legal system’s history. A history that is designed to shame, isolate, and abuse those that enter it, particularly people of color. Heather’s role is to remind people that there is power in numbers; there is power in knowledge and there is power in love. The Power to connect to a community of like spirited and experienced people to stand in solidarity.

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Books allow us to have conversations involving people we may not have the chance  to meet, but value knowing. 

Thank you to all who joined for our previous discussion of Laura Coates' book Just Pursuit. 

 

This instant New York Times bestseller offers “a firsthand, eye-opening story of a prosecutor that exposes the devastating criminal punishment system” (Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award–winning author of How to Be an Antiracist) in this “compelling collection of engaging, well-written, keenly observed vignettes from [Laura Coates’s] years as a lawyer with the US Department of Justice”

(The New York Times Book Review).

"On the front lines of our legal system, Coates saw how Black communities are policed differently; Black cases are prosecuted differently; Black defendants are judged differently. How the court system seems to be the one place where minorities are overrepresented, an unrelenting parade of Black and Brown defendants in numbers that belie their percentage in the population and overfill American prisons.”

Our discussion of Bryan Stevenson’s Book, Just Mercy, In May began a journey of increased understanding of the impact of racism on our criminal justice system. In selecting, Just Pursuit, we continued the discussion and the development of a call to action to be a source of hope and change.

Just Mercy, was written in 2014 and includes a detailed discussion of the Equal Justice Initiative founded by Bryan Stevenson. Visiting the website will further inspire, but also distress you.

 

After visiting the web Equal Justice Initiative website, consider viewing Bryan Stevenson’s Keynote Address on March 31st, 2023 at United Nations Outreach Programm on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery. It is 30 minutes well spent.

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See information below on the Compassion Project by way of an example of such a project, as well as additional sources of information/inspiration  in service of thinking  about how to frame a “call to action.”

 

Compassion Prison Project (Letter Writing Campaign

See Lamar Johnson’s story of the impact of human connection

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