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May 9, 2005 - The Anniston Star (AL)

Speak Out ... On March on Washington

In a few months, we will be going to Washington to march in support of inmates in Alabama and other places ( The event begins with a welcome reception on Friday, Aug. 12. On Saturday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m., we will meet in Lafayette Park on the north side of the White House for a demonstration.

We call for relatives of inmates, friends, activists, organizations, former inmates and more to join us. There are more than [two] million men and women in state and federal prisons in this country.

The March will focus on abuse (medical and physical), mass incarceration, voter disenfranchisement and much more. Anyone interested in standing on behalf of their loved one, please visit the Web site and register. We can send a powerful message that this country relies too much on incarceration and not enough on education and rehabilitation.

Roberta Franklin, Montgomery, AL

August 13, 2005, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM; Lafayette Park, Washington, DC
Family Members and Friends of People Incarcerated March on DC
Over Two Million Imprisoned -- Too Many!
The DC March Souvenir Book is now ready to take orders for ad space!
DC March Agenda
August 12
Friday Evening - Place and Time to be Announced
Film - Torture Inc. - Americas Brutal Prisons; from UK Channel 4 (UK)
August 13
Saturday 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Lafayette Park (North Side of the White House)
Family and Friends of People Incarcerated March on Washington
Speakers, Music and More!
There will be a variety of music at the reception, including The Exciting Corinthians of Alabama (rythm and blues, jazz, gospel and much more), and new speakers are being confirmed through June 30, 2005.
Featured Participants:
Roberta Franklin, Director of Families and Friends of People Incarcerated, and organizer of the DC March. Ms. Franklin is a seasoned social justice organizer living in Montgomery, Alabama. Through her efforts, Ms. Franklin has garnered broad-based support from the general public and national officials. Franklin is the host of her own radio talk show, Let the Truth Shine, on Montgomery's WAPZ-AM.
Franklin was named a "Soros Justice Fellow" by the Open Society Institute (2004-2005), recognizing her criminal justice reform work in Alabama and with FMI. She also received the Excellence in Journalistic Broadcasting Award from The International Bannister Foundation, Critical Resistance South, Southern Center for Human Rights and Patrick Crusade at the first Family Members of Inmates Convention in 2003.
Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative, will discuss Criminal Justice Sentencing. Mr. Stevenson, Executive Director of EJI and Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law, has won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color in the criminal justice system.
Since graduating from Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, Stevenson has assisted in securing relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, advocated for poor people, and developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice.
Bo Lozoff of the Human Kindness Foundation. The Foundation, founded by Bo and Sita Lozoff, is a non-profit organization which stresses a way of life based upon three common principles taught by the great sages of all religions: Simple living, a dedication to service, and a commitment to personal spiritual practice.
Besides its internationally respected Prison-Ashram Project, the Foundation sponsors a spiritual community and visitor's center called Kindness House, plus Bo Lozoff's free talks and workshops. Since 1973, Dr. Lozoff has spoken in hundreds of prisons, hospitals, churches, universities and spiritual centers around the globe. Lozoff's first book, "We're All Doing Time," has been praised by prisoners, and prison staff around the world. Many say the book is the most useful book written on true rehabilitation.
Garry L. Jones, the Advocate4Justice, is a motivational speaker who has made guest appearances on local television in Tallahassee, FL, among others. A retired Lieutenant for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he now speaks out for people adversely affected by the failed war on drugs.
"During my career as a Correctional Officer, I would often ask myself the question: Why is the largest percentage of inmates black, when blacks in the United States are only 13% of the population? Why is prison so black when 80% of people in this country are white?
"When I retired in 2003, it became obvious that there had to be a way to advocate for justice for all people. Today, I am that advocate who is standing up and speaking out on behalf of thousands of prisoners who have been affected by mandatory guideline sentencing. I hope you will join our growing network of others working to end drug war injustice."
Elaine Bartlett, subject of the book Life On The Outside, by Jennifer Gonnerman. Life On The Outside tells Ms. Bartlett's story; she spent sixteen years behind bars for selling cocaine -- a first offense -- under New York's controversial Rockefeller drug laws. The book opens on the morning of January 26, 2000, when she walks out of Bedford Hills state prison. At 42, Elaine had virtually nothing: no money, no job, or home.
In recent years, the United States has imprisoned more than two million people while making few preparations for their eventual release. Now these prisoners are coming home in record numbers, as unprepared for "life on the outside" as society is for them. Life On The Outside calls attention to this mounting national crisis by crafting an intimate family portrait -- a story of struggle and survival, guilt and forgiveness, loneliness and love.
Dorothy Gaines, is an accomplished public speaker and former drug war prisoner. Dorothy Gaines spent six years in federal prison on a 19-year sentence for drug conspiracy charges, and was released by President Clinton's order of clemency on December 22, 2000.
Ms. Gaines teaches an unknowing public how mandatory minimum sentences and conspiracy laws are at the root of the growing federal prison populations. "These laws are getting people, not drugs, off the streets!"
Sherry Swiney, founder and Director of The PATRICK Crusade. "The mission of the Crusade is to correct the abuse that is endemic to our prison system. Many of the abuses that prisoners are forced to endure have been common knowledge to all for many years. Very few of these abuses are new, for things have changed very little in our prison system over the years."
Ms. Swiney is an accomplished speaker and organizer, with 15 years of experience in criminal justice reform.
Brother El Bey, of FOXO (FOXO (Fraternal Order of X-Offenders). FOXO is a community-based organization spearheaded by former-offenders who have personal experience, professional academic wisdom, and understanding about juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior.
FOXO believes we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our youth. We believe that if the children are our future, then it is imperative that we reach our youth to ensure a better future for all.
L. Elaine Sutton Mbionwu, Founder & President/CEO of The National Re-Entry Resource Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Elaine serves in two capacities that are intimately connected and integrated towards providing second chances for the formerly incarcerated and their families. Elaine is the Founder, President/CEO of the NRRC, and is also the owner of Covenant Collaborative Consulting and Training.
As the Founder of the NRRC, Elaine's immediate efforts are centered around 4 major goals towards building up the formerly incarcerated and their families that include:
Reducing the fragmentation of re-entry programs and resources across the country; Strengthening the sustainability; presence, visibility, infrastructure, and capacity of re-entry programs serving the men, women and youth formerly incarcerated; Eliminating the information dissemination gap; and Centralizing the availability of and access to resources on all matters related to re-entry.
Another facet of Elaine's work is through Covenant where she serves as a Faith/Community based Re-Entry Strategy Consultant to churches and community organizations interested in building local, state, and national collaboratives through a comprehensive network of direct care service providers to address the critical continuum of care needs faced by individuals with incarceration histories.
Eric Sterling, President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, is a nationally recognized authority on drug policy reform, federal sentencing, medical marijuana, the effects of the drug war on race, the economy and business, and the confluence of faith and drug policy reform.
Mr. Sterling was Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. On the staff of the Subcommittee on Crime, (Rep. William J. Hughes (D-NJ), Chairman), he was responsible for drug enforcement, gun control, money laundering, organized crime, pornography, terrorism, corrections, and military assistance to law enforcement, among many issues. His expert analysis is used by Members of Congress, legislators, nationally syndicated columnists, major network television news programs, NPR, Pacifica Radio, 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC 20/20, PBS Frontline, etc.
Barbara Ellis, Founder and Executive Director, FILO, Inc. (Families of Incarcerated Loved Ones). Ms. Ellis is supporting the struggle to fix the California's Three Strikes Law and to assist those deserving of re-sentencing, helping them transition back into society and become productive citizens. FILO also helps families cope with the pain of loved ones incarcerated for life sentences, assisting them with moving on with their lives.
Ellis is a life member of the NAACP and is active in community affairs that affect minorities, and an active member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino, California. As an activist she became the State Chair of Families to Amend the California's Three Strikes (FACTS) law, the leading advocacy group for the reform of California's notorious Three Strikes Law. Her travels have included the State Capital, 9th Circuit courts, the United States Supreme Court, numerous churches throughout the State of California, and public marches and broadcasts.
Geri Silva, Executive Director and co-founder of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (FACTS). Ms. Silva was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she spent the past 30 years in all forms of struggle for human, political and economic rights. Her activity covers the span from immigration rights, to welfare rights, to the right to decent housing for all in need.
For the past 17 years she has fought against the rampant and ongoing abuses in the courts and at the hands of the police. Silva was also a founding member of Mothers Reclaiming Our Children (Mothers ROC) in 1992.
Plus many more exciting speakers and special guests!

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