The session in which we speak with Kimberly McGlonn, Ph.D. about her brand, Grant Blvd and the ways she works to challenge economic injustice and marginalization. Dr. McGlonn launched Grant Blvd – named for the Milwaukee street where she grew up – as a sustainable design brand creating pathways to employment for people with a history of incarceration. All of their original and stylish garments are made from reclaimed fabrics, and through her brand, Kimberly works to advance the collective good of both people and the planet.
You can learn more on her website; you can also shop there! Fyi – they’re also making and selling masks right now.
The session in which we spoke with Selena Alonzo, J.D. a public defender in Maryland. Selena is a Mexican-American and was strongly influenced by her family experience of having several of the most important men in her life (grandfather, uncles, cousin) incarcerated for various reasons. Selena holds deep knowledge of the effects of incarceration on people and their families. Knowing that the truest solution will be systemic change in our criminal justice system, Selena uses her law degree to work within the system to help change a potentially negatively spiraling life course for people as best she can.
We spoke with Selena just as the pandemic began to shut down the nation and asked for an update – this update also needs an update as we received it on March 25, 2020 but is interesting nonetheless:
It’s incredible how much everything has changed. I never realized how much I took for granted before…
I’ve been working remotely since 3/13. All of the cases I had set have been postponed until May. As of right now, the only thing we are able to do is file bond review motions to get our clients who are detained pre-trial out of jail. The majority of Assistant State Attorneys are opposing our bond review motions and are trying to keep people in jail. They are willing to release clients if they plead guilty to something but that is incredibly coercive given that we have no way of conveying any plea offers to our clients. We still have to go into the jails to interview clients which is a risk to both us and a bigger risk for our incarcerated clients because we could be silent carriers. I’m really hoping they figure out a way for us to interview clients over the phone soon… A small bright spot has been that police are arresting far less people. On an average bonds docket, I would have 15-20 people. Yesterday, I only had 4. Maybe after this cops will realize they don’t need to arrest every single person for “crimes” like disorderly or obstructing and hindering. SA
The session in which we had a spontaneous chat with Joyce E. Russell, RN, the mother of Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice. Assata’s mom accompanied her to our planned podcast session and sat in the waiting room while we talked to Assata about the social activism and justice work she is passionate about (you can hear the convo on our Prison Services and Reentry podcast). Afterward, we thought it would be nice to have Mom in the interview to talk for a few minutes about her daughter. Once we turned on the mic, we found out that Joyce has her own stories of social justice work having spent years as a nurse in a prison. She spoke about how the work changed her, and her ever-growing deep pride in her family which now has yet another generation of social justice warriors coming up.
The session in which we chat with Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice, about the work she does to promote the Institute’s mission of supporting people and communities impacted by mass incarceration. Assata is a strong advocate in the fight for “a world free from mass incarceration where communities have equitable access to health, safety, justice, and the opportunity to design their freedom.”
The session in which we met with Emily Abendroth and Layne Mullett, two collaborators in the LifeLines Project. Other collaborators on this long-term media project include 8 people serving sentences of Life without Parole, or in other words, the ‘other’ death penalty: Death by Incarceration.
Emily and Layne make it clear that they are not the most important voices in the project; if you want to hear what the other collaborators have to say, start at lifelines-project.org.
For a general understanding of the impact and immorality of Life without Parole and the LifeLines Project, this podcast session is a great start.