Our mission is to contribute to local, state, and national efforts to dismantle the policies and practices, collectively known as “the New Jim Crow,” that have resulted in the mass incarceration of people of color, in fractured families, and in disenfranchised communities.

We believe these policies and practices have:

  • dramatically increased the number of people who are incarcerated or otherwise under the control of the justice system;
  • disproportionally impacted people of color and also people living with economic hardship or mental illness;
  • contributed to serious prison overcrowding, further threatening the dignity, human rights, security, and physical and mental health of those incarcerated;
  • consumed resources that could have been used to strengthen our families and communities and to address the root causes of crime;
  • raised almost insurmountable barriers in the paths of those trying to transition from prison, limiting access to employment, housing, and even family reunification;
  • denied people their basic rights as citizens;
  • increased recidivism rates; and
  • traumatized children, condemned families to poverty, and torn the fabric of whole communities.

To further our mission, we will continue to learn and to teach others about New Jim Crow practices and about alternatives that are more humane, just, and equitable.  We will join hands with other groups at First Unitarian Church and with organizations in our community to advocate for:

  • greater access to economic, educational, mental health, medical, and housing services, the absence of which have led to higher rates of poverty, crime, homelessness, and recidivism;
  • alternatives to the punitive and exclusionary discipline practices that sustain the school-to-prison pipeline, such as the restorative justice strategies that reduce the chances of our youth being incarcerated;
  • restorative justice and alternative sentencing practices that have proven to be effective alternatives to juvenile detention and adult incarceration for nonviolent crimes;
  • policing reforms that improve hiring/training/supervision, accountability, and community trust;
  • the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing, which has resulted in the loss of judicial discretion, prosecutorial abuses, denial of a trial by one’s peers, and exaggerated sentences for nonviolent crimes;
  • the early release of prisoners who received mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes and who are not deemed to be a threat to public safety;
  • healthcare, education, and social services for the incarcerated, including life and employment skills, addiction and mental health treatment, and reentry transition support;
  • changes in policies, rules, and laws that make it easier for the formerly incarcerated to reunite with their families, find housing, get a job, obtain medical services, reintegrate themselves into their communities, and build lives based on hope; and
  • the continuing development of a more understanding, just, and inclusive community.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  Martin Luther King, Junior

Contact: Kathryn Scotten (Kathryn@withyscott.com)




Make Your City Safer: Take Action to Stop Racist Policing

Tuesday, October 24 (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)

Buchan Reception Room (B102 Buchan Building), First Unitarian Church (Enter from 12th Avenue, along the brick pathway between buildings.)

FREE, all welcome  

Our church and action group have committed to participating in this Unitarian Universalist Association project designed to enable us to investigate local policing practices, establish working relationships with local partners, and initiate priority action steps.  Cosponsored by Love Resists (https://www.uua.org/loveresists) and the Congregation of the Larger Fellowship (https://www.uua.org/beliefs/get-involved/where/clf), it will provide training and tools through a year-long series of interactive video classes and homework assignments.  At this meeting, we will view the video of the introductory session and talk about the approach taking shape at First Church.



SHAPING A FUTURE: Life After Prison

Sunday, October 29 (1:00 p.m.)

Eliot Chapel, First Unitarian Church (1011 SW 12th Avenue, Portland)

FREE, donations appreciated

Come listen to 10 compelling stories about the reentry experience, told by people recently released from prison.  Sponsored by the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Ending the New Jim Crow.  Reception following; free parking across 12th Avenue until 4:00 p.m.  For more information, contact Carol Imani: kfbaguette@gmail.com.

Volunteers needed to help direct and welcome people and to help with the reception (set up and clean up).  Please contact Carol Imani: kfbaguette@gmail.com.



Movie Screening and Panel: The Central Park Five

Wednesday, November 8 (7:00 p.m.)

Portland Art Museum$15 suggested minimum donation

“Join the Oregon Justice Resource Center (which administers the Oregon Innocence Project) for a night at the movies in support of a great cause: justice!  We’ll be screening the powerful documentary The Central Park Five which tells the story of one of America’s most shocking cases of wrongful conviction and how it was put right. Last year, Donald Trump told CNN that he still believed the five were guilty, despite DNA evidence exonerating them and a confession from the real perpetrator.  Get your questions about how this can happen to innocent people and what we’re doing about the problem in Oregon answered after the movie by our panel of experts who will share their knowledge and real-life experience with you.  All proceeds from this event will go to the Oregon Justice Resource Center’s work which includes the Oregon Innocence Project.  This is a Willamette Week Give!Guide event.”  For more information: http://www.oregoninnocence.org/central-park-five/


Oregon Humanities: Think and Drink

Wednesday, November 15 (6:30 p.m.)

Alberta Rose Theater (3000 NE Alberta Street, Portland)

Tickets $10; no-cost tickets available

“Join us in Portland for a conversation on race, power, and justice with Rukaiyah Adams of Meyer Memorial Trust and Eric K. Ward of Western States Center…  For more information: http://oregonhumanities.org/programs/think-drink/think-drink-with-rukaiyah-adams-and-eric-k-ward/?utm_source=October+2017+Enews&utm_campaign=October+2017+enews&utm_medium=email