The public is invited to join Concerned Citizens for Justice for a city-wide discussion of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Westside Missionary Baptist Church, 4001 Hughes Ave.
"There is a growing national conversation about and a movement to end the system of mass incarceration of black people in the United States and the ways in which it has devastated black families and communities. Concerned Citizens for Justice hopes that a city-wide discussion of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow will change the way Chattanooga talks about and addresses violence and poverty in our city," officials stated.
"Much has been said by the media, government officials, and even some community leaders about the role of individual and community responsibility when it comes to crime, violence, poverty, and the Mayor’s Violence Reduction Initiative. What Michelle Alexander argues, and what CCJ and many community members impacted by mass criminalization and incarceration already know, is that it’s 'not just a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work.' Ms. Alexander compares the current system, facilitated by the War on Drugs, to a 'birdcage with a locked door… a set of structural arrangements that locks a racially distinct group into a subordinate political, social, and economic position, effectively creating a second-class citizenship.'"
"In Hamilton County, as in the rest of the country, a main indicator of the racism of mass incarceration is evident in the disproportionate numbers of those incarcerated," said Landon Howard with Concerned Citizens for Justice. "The Black population of Hamilton Co. is 20.1%, but in December 2013 the Black population of Silverdale Correctional Facility was 44.6%."
“We have to know how and why the system was created and how it works in order to dismantle it and that is why we are inviting Chattanoogans to study and discuss Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow with us,” said Janelle Jackson with Concerned Citizens for Justice. The Chattanooga Public Library has ten copies of the book amongst the branches and library patrons can also view the book electronically. People attending the discussion will have the opportunity to discuss the arguments and evidence presented in the book as well as ways that they can plug in locally to the movement to end mass incarceration.
For more information on the event, the public may contact Concerned Citizens for Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org, 423-799-0787; On facebook at facebook.com/concernedcitizensforjustice