When Gina Clayton founded Essie Justice Group with the mission to harness the collective power of women with incarcerated loved ones in 2014, she had one critical challenge. While the number of women with a family member in prison suggests prevalence—one in four women and nearly half of Black women have a loved one behind bars—isolation and the stigma made affected women hard to find. But a conversation with a man inside a prison sparked the idea for Essie’s most innovative and promising movement building strategy yet.
The tragedy of Kalief Browder caused me to reflect on my own work and life experiences. The kids I've met on the inside of the system (94 percent of whom have undergone serious trauma). How quickly an injustice like this is to explode on the Internet as a talking point. Yet how uncomfortable an injustice like this is to sit too close to.