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Churches work to fight ‘mass incarceration,’ the ‘new Jim Crow’

Churches work to fight ‘mass incarceration,’ the ‘new Jim Crow’

Clergy and church groups are mobilizing to battle racial injustice in the U.S. penal system, inspired by Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness.” Alfredo Garcia writes on the Religion & Politics blog (a project of the John C. Danforth Center of Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis):

Rosemary Parish was horrified when she read Alexander’s book. White and 60 years of age, the Princeton resident took three months to get through the book’s contents. Every chapter, she told me, was difficult to stomach. Each statistic only further incensed her anger. Unable to keep the information to herself, she began encouraging others to read the book as well. Motivated by the injustices that Alexander had detailed, Parish and her growing cadre of readers joined local community outreach groups and encouraged them to tackle the issue of mass incarceration. Some groups were interested but already had their own projects in line. “I stepped back one day and wondered,” Parish said, “why not start with the congregations?”

Beginning with her own congregation, the regal Trinity Episcopal Church, Parish networked out to encourage other congregations to do their part, seeing churches as integral to “consciousness-raising.”

Read full story here.

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