On December 6, 1865, the required number of states ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, “…except as punishment for a crime.” In her acclaimed film, 13th, Ava DuVernay quotes President Obama, “The United States is home to 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. Think about that.”
We are thinking about that, and working on that. Although the 13th Amendment officially emancipated enslaved Africans, there are more Black men incarcerated today than were slaves in 1850. Middle Church is proud to partner with Bill Moyers’ documentary, Rikers: An American Jail, to offer interfaith resources for conversations on mass incarceration at congregations around the country. We are partners of the #CLOSErikers campaign in New York City. We are working on bail reform and ending the cradle to prison pipeline through education and loving-up on young people of color.