It’s exciting that Princeton community has taken on Michelle Alexander’s landmark book, The New Jim Crow, published in 2010. Groups and congregations around the town have been reading and learning together. Many of us have learned, for the first time, that there are more than 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States — that’s more individuals, per capita, than either Russia or China.
What’s more exciting is that people can now lend a hand to the criminal justice reform movement that has seen some significant accomplishments in New Jersey. In 2008, New Jersey launched a “Second Chance Campaign” that helped Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman gain passage of three parts of her
Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform bill in the 2009-10 legislative session. Some reforms have been accomplished, but there is plenty left to be done.
On Thursday, March 14, at 7 PM, the Princeton YWCA will present “Now Hear This,” a discussion forum that looks at the New Jim Crow as it relates to women, children and their families. Facilitated by Simona L. Brickers and Nicole Plett, the discussion will address both the unique concerns of incarcerated women and of those women who live with the consequences of having family members in prison or recently released from jail.
Brickers, a Trenton native, facilitates the African American Interest Book Club at Princeton Barnes & Noble. She teaches with the Literacy Volunteers in Mercer County, Inc. and is an NAACP Chairperson of Legal Affairs in Trenton. A doctoral student, she has served as Child Protection Board member for the City of Trenton.
Plett, a member of the Integrated Justice Alliance (IJA) and representative of Building One New Jersey, confronts the crisis of mass incarceration and the challenges of reintegration by working with institutions, organizations, and individuals. She is also an officer of the League of Women Voters of Lawrence
Says Plett: “I look forward to having more voters become aware of how important this reform process is, and how they can play a key role in getting new legislation passed.”
There will be a weeklong reading of The New Jim Crow starting Sunday, April 7, at 5 p.m. For more information on this and other events connected to this cause, click here.