by Karima Amin
Without even looking back at my notes, I can recall, almost word-for-word, what I wrote a year ago. I wrote about this being a month of celebrations, graduations, weddings, family reunions, my birthday (June 1), BaBa’s homecoming (June 2013), Juneteenth, our Ma’afa (formally honoring our Ancestors), “Git on da Bus” (our annual Storytelling Crawl), Bro. Gerrod Bennett’s release from prison (June 2016)… I could go on and on about June but we have some May business to speak about.
On last Wednesday, May 10, we went to Albany with a contingent of activists, from Buffalo and Rochester, to speak truth to power at the Legislative Office Building. With hundreds of others from organizations and campaigns from across the State, Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. and Burning Books Independent Bookstore, we were united in our call for parole reform, releasing aging people from prison (R.A.P.P.), ending prisoner abuse (e.g. solitary confinement) and more. This was “Lobby Day.” We participated in a full day of rallies, speak-outs, networking and meetings with our State Legislators. We personally thanked those who support prison reform and, using data and personal stories, we encouraged the naysayers to consider bills that fight mass incarceration. Our Program Director, BaBa Eng, was invited to speak out at a rally at West Capitol Park. Later, in the State Capitol Building, he was urged to share his words again on parole reform and restorative justice.
We thank Judith Brink and Carol Morley, from the Prison Action Network in Albany, for attending PRP2’s April meeting in preparation for this lobbying event.
There are two important dates coming up: May 22 and May 25. Mark your calendar. Because of Memorial Day, we will not be meeting on the last Monday of the month. We will be meeting on Monday, May 22 at the Rafi Greene Center, 1423 Fillmore Avenue at Glenwood Street in Buffalo. “Lobby Day” attendees will talk about their lobbying experience.
On Thursday, May 25, Prisoners Are People Too, Inc. will sponsor “Life Stories: Restoring Justice,” from 7:00 – 9:00pm at 1412 Main Street, in Buffalo, formerly known as “Buffalo East,” formerly known as “Steel Drums Jamaican Restaurant,” formerly known as the “A Train Jazz Club,” diagonally across from the “Oak Room.” This storytelling event will highlight the value and benefits of restorative justice in repairing harm and healing pain after a wrong has been perpetrated. The powerful stories of Sandra “Sandi” Green, Marquita Nailor, and Danielle “Dani” Johnson will inform and inspire. You will leave with a better understanding of Restorative Justice and an elevated regard for turning a negative into a positive. (Freewill donations appreciated.)
More information: Karima Amin, 716-834-8438, firstname.lastname@example.org; BaBa Eng, 716-491-5319, email@example.com.
“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.” (Anonymous)