Kill the Crow !!

Is Jim Crow alive and well? Author Michelle Alexander argues in her book THE NEW JIM CROW it looks different, but Jim Crow is still alive and well. The mass incarceration of black and brown people is the new Jim Crow (a strategy for oppression) and has contributed to increased children at risk, community pain, and the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans. The dream, illusion or myth that this a country where all children are guaranteed fairness, healthy environments and equal rights has been sold to the masses. The protection of vulnerable children must include a continual fight and the implementation of strategies for helping families deal with legacies of oppression. People of color have a complicated history that includes slavery, trails of tears, Jim Crow, and the new Jim Crow.
Our prisons are disproportionately full of people of color, that while locked up lose their full citizenship and healthy sense of self. Most find it very difficult to recover these rights and their identity without the support of people who welcome them home with patience, resources and love. These supportive people do exist and a collective of them met, fellowshipped and strategized this past Saturday at the Knowledge Quest Family Stabilization Initiative building to understand how to be available for men and women when they come home. Mothers spoke passionately to social workers, doctors, therapists, students, administrators and others at the Lifelong Initiative for Family Empowerment Barber Shop Talk about the changes in their sons, daughters, and significant others after their incarceration experiences. Men who have been incarcerated shared their experiences, frustrations, and suggestions for successful transitions from prison to home. One of the most important themes was the need for pre and post preparations for the incarcerated individuals and their families. Another important theme was the reality that individualized needs must be addressed- each situation is different. Reentry mentorship and relationship counseling were also discussed.
It is painful and a great strain on the sanity and resources of families when they have a family member incarcerated. Please help of us understand the issues from your perspective by sharing your thoughts, reactions, successes and willingness to bring these fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers back to a prepared welcoming community. Kill the crow!!

Doc G and Kufere

9 thoughts on “Kill the Crow !!

  1. I am so glad that opportunities like the Barber Shop Talks exist for those personally affected by the prison system and their families to disclose their experiences, and put forth suggestions for how to better the policies in the future. Who better to influence these decisions than those who have such an in-depth perspective?

    • Thanks for your involvement and comments. The BSTE must continue to be safe open spaces for fathers and others males to be nurtured and supported.

  2. Everyone in the social work field has probably heard that you need the ability to “meet the client where they are.” The first step to getting people the services that they need is making sure they’re aware of their options. It’s no surprise, and to most of us, no secret, that people of color make up a disproportionate amount of arrests, incarcerations, and even stop-and-frisks. They typically receive longer sentences and are provided with sub-par representation. Many of these issues begin in school. Monique Morris describes the female experience with the school-to-prison pipeline in her book “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools”, which is a great companion to Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.” While working at Whitehaven High School in Memphis, I’ve seen many of my students struggle to find motivation to succeed in a world that devalues them and their families. I also see this in my internship at the Family Resource Center. At FRC, we make a point of meeting clients where they are by going into a local jail to teach life skills and parenting classes and allow inmates to complete intakes. This is because we want to be their first stop when they are released. We help them prepare to re-integrate into society by prepping them for job interviews and connecting them to agencies that will house or hire recently released people, enrolling them in courses to meet probation or DCS requirements, providing resources for their children and partners, and more. I think that CAYD could make a difference through similar outreach efforts, and peer mentorship or the classes suggested at Barbershop Talk are a great place to start.

    • Thanks for the resource book and comments. Welcome to the CAYD team, please continue share your experiences and perspectives.

  3. Racial disparities in incarceration have unjustly affected African-American communities at a rate 5 times higher than that of white communities which makes the Barber Shop Talk an important part of the black community. Barber Shop Talks empower families and link them with resources. One of the most powerful components is that family and community bonds are strengthened through BST activities.
    The New Jim Crow has affected minority communities to the point where not only do black and brown families experience prison at an alarming rate, incarceration becomes hard to escape due to issues like concentrated poverty and the national issue of racial profiling.

    • Yes and for this reason it is important that we find a way to support advocacy for policies and connected services that deal with reality.

  4. I have read the New Jim Crow twice and we currently have to read it in another class this semester. I have had the opportunity to work with mothers that have been release from prison and deserving a second chance. I have also had the opportunity to listen to stories of men that have been in prison. I currently worked with a single mother that was release from prison. Everyone turned her down do to felon begin on her record. I advocate for her and it was a challenge but I knew not to give up.
    I totally agree with kill the crow to many black or brown people are taken into jail then after they are release the question they ask where can they go. In my opinion too I believe Jim Crow is also in the warehouse job system and the new slavery.

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