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Healing Justice

Healing Justice

Quakerism mandates leadership: J. Jondhi Harrell on mass incarceration

By: Madeline Smith-Gibbs
Published: October 23, 2014
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Note: I first met J. Jondhi Harrell through Philadelphia’s prison and reentry activism circles. Later, I worshipped with him at Germantown Friends Meeting, where he recently became a member. As an insider to the worlds of both Quakerism and the criminal justice system – he was incarcerated for over 20 years – he speaks powerfully about prison, reentry, and Friends’ mandate to confront the dehumanizing system of mass incarceration. -Madeline Smith-Gibbs

About the Author

Madeline is temporarily taking up the reins as the Friends Relations Associate.  Prior to AFSC, Madeline researched alternative economies in Philadelphia and worked with people returning from prison to organize against employment discrimination.  A lifelong Friend, Madeline is excited to rise with a new generation of Quaker social activists.

Love in the belly of the beast

By: Laura Magnani
Published: September 4, 2014
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About the Author

Laura Magnani is director of AFSC’s Bay Area Healing Justice Program in California and has worked on criminal justice issues for over 35 years. She received her BA from the University of California in ethnic studies in 1971 and an MA from the Pacific School of Religion in 1982. She has worked on criminal justice issues for AFSC since 1989. She wrote "America's First Penitentiary: A 200 Year Old Failure in 1990" and co-authored the AFSC publication, “Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System" in 2006. She is a member of Strawberry Creek Meeting of Pacific Yearly Meeting.

Does the Spirit drive the work? One Quaker meeting’s response to mass incarceration

By: John & Gail Fletcher
Published: June 12, 2014
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About the Author

John and Gail Fletcher are members of Norman, Oklahoma Monthly Meeting. John is also a member of the AFSC Corporation. They work with their meeting to combat mass incarceration in their state and within South Central Yearly Meeting. Here they are pictured with other members of their meeting with the mass incarceration booth they take around to public events in the area in an effort to educate the community about the issue.

A profound spiritual crisis: Prison voices call for change

By: Bonnie Kerness
Published: April 18, 2014
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About the Author

Bonnie Kerness has been an anti-racist activist since she was 14, working at the University Settlement House as a volunteer on issues of housing, neighborhood and gangs. In 1961, at the age of 19, she moved to Tennessee to participate in the Civil Rights Movement. In Memphis she was trained as a community organizer by the NAACP. She continued her work and training at Highlander Training School in Knoxville, where organizers from throughout the Civil Rights movement met for training and brainstorming. Bonnie moved back North in 1970 and became active with welfare rights, tenants rights and anti-war groups. Bonnie has worked as a professional organizer on gay rights, welfare rights, women’s rights and other campaigns and has her MSW in community organizing. She has been a human rights advocate on behalf of prisoners since 1975, working as coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Project. Bonnie has raised eight children, three Caucasian and five of African decent. She has served as Associate Director and Acting Director of the AFSC Criminal Justice Program in Newark, the National Coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Control Unit Prisons and serves on the Board of Directors of the World Organization For Human Rights, USA, the Advisory Board of California Prison Focus and Money, Education and Prisons Committee of Madison, Wisconsin. She has helped publish, “Our Children’s House”; “Torture in U.S. Prisons – Evidence of U.S. Human Rights Violations; and “The Prison Inside the Prison: Control Units, Supermax Prisons and Devices of Torture”, and the Survivor’s Manual. Bonnie speaks publicly on behalf of people in prison on U.S. human rights violations of the UN Convention Against Torture and has been quoted in articles, books and other publications on prison related subjects. 

Michelle Alexander: Embracing humanity to bring down The New Jim Crow

By: Lucy Duncan
Published: November 12, 2013
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Michelle Alexander points out that mass incarceration and the war on drugs is built on the foundation of demonizing people of color, particularly brown and black men and boys. A very strong thread in her message was that in order to end the system of mass incarceration in a way that keeps it from being reconstructed, all of us must be able “to see and value the humanity in one another.” 

About the Author

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

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