America is at a tipping point. In a country that continues to lead the world in locking up its own people, mass incarceration has emerged in recent years as a defining civil rights issue. The Multifaith Initiative to End Mass Incarceration, housed at the MLK Sr. Collaborative, is faith-rooted movement in which formerly incarcerated people and their families lead alongside diverse faith communities and influential allies. Powerfully capturing what’s at stake: that runaway use of incarceration dehumanizes poor people and people of color, damages already marginalized communities, does not advance public safety, and siphons public resources with no social benefit.
The historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and The Temple in Atlanta Georgia, along with Odyssey Impact and other multifaith partners are collaborating on a national initiative that leverages the spiritual, people, and resource power of the U.S. faith community to end mass incarceration in the United States. The Multifaith Initiative to End Mass Incarceration (EMI) is focused on catalyzing a faith-rooted response to this issue in a way that adds value to existing work and furthers coherence in faith-rooted efforts. Our vision is for multifaith communities to exercise and amplify their calls and actions for eliminating mass incarceration in a dedicated, savvy, and impactful manner.
The multifaith community is uniquely positioned to draw upon ancient traditions, moral vocabulary, and the institutional strength to address the depth of this human rights catastrophe. Several ministries and congregations actively support those who are presently or formerly incarcerated, but religious communities have yet to speak in a clear, coherent, and powerful theological voice about the systems that perpetuate mass incarceration. Faith communities can play a critical role in organizing an effective moral witness against the laws, policies, and policing practices that contribute to the continuing evolution of mass incarceration.
The concerns around mass incarceration are shared by a wide variety of constituencies. As a result, this issue builds bridges across theological, political, geographic and ideological differences. We continue to actively involve the voices and leadership of those who are formerly incarcerated, along with their families, in the planning and implementation of our work. We are committed to ensuring that such leadership remains at the center of our efforts.
Learn more about the Ending Mass Incarceration initiative and how you can also get involved. Participate with others concerned like you, let’s all make a real difference fully support the success of this movement.