by HopeMob 2K Lives Impacted New York, New York, United States
We are Failing Our Children Extensive research by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) shows “a Black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going ...
Extensive research by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) shows “a Black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime; a Latino boy a 1 in 6 chance; and a White boy a 1 in 17 chance. A Black girl born in 2001 has a 1 in 17 chance of going to prison in her lifetime; a Latino girl a 1 in 45 chance; and a White girl a 1 in 111 chance.” (Source)
The CDF refers to this disparity as the Cradle to Prison Pipeline, identifying pervasive poverty, inadequate access to health coverage, gaps in early childhood development, lack of educational opportunities, abuse and neglect, unmet mental and emotional problems, substance abuse, and an overburdened and ineffective juvenile justice system as key factors influencing why so many more children of color will end up in prison than their white peers. (Source) But identifying factors isn’t enough—we need to take action and a multifaceted approach to dismantle systems that fail our children. This is one of the key focuses of Faith in New York.
Faith in New York (FINY) is an interfaith, multicultural federation of over 70 congregations representing over 80,000 families in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and The Bronx. FINY’s mission is to develop grassroots leaders and equip congregations to move significant public policy change that supports our leaders’ vision of a more just New York with excellent public schools, violence-free neighborhoods, access to good jobs, adequate and affordable health care, decent housing for all, and a place where people of all backgrounds can fully participate in economic and civic life.
Of their many victories, FINY proudly helped Ban the Box, eliminating the question of a criminal record on New York City job applications, which had been shown to unfairly discriminate against people of color incarcerated under an unfair justice system. (Source) Today, New York City experiences impressive job creation and former offenders and their families are finding well-paying, poverty-ending jobs. (Source)
Leading FINY is Onleilove (pronounced Onlylove) Alston. Onleilove is a fierce and seasoned advocate for political and social reform with over ten years of organizing experience and sitting on numerous boards committed to social justice activism. Central to her heart for reform is interfaith partnerships. Justice, Onleilove knows, is dear to the heart of God and something that is true across intersecting lines of belief and conviction. As the God of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures deeply cares about how justice and mercy are expressed to all people and at all times, it is imperative that different people, especially different people of faith, come together to seek reform and hope in their communities here and now.
And the need has never been more pressing.
FINY is currently pressing forward with the Live Free Campaign, a coordinated effort to resource local communities to fight against the mass incarceration that has stolen both hope and the very lives of too many. (Read More)
More specifically, FINY is seeking to directly address the horrible injustices of what Onleilove has identified as the Womb to Prison Pipeline, injustices that begin even before birth and target women of color. Through the same advocacy and organizing that helped them Ban the Box, every dollar given helps FINY put tools to dismantle systemic poverty, injustice, and racism in the hands of local leaders—fathers and mothers who want to keep their children out of prison and given them lives that reflect the image of God they are made in.
By supporting FINY and the Live Free campaign, you are bringing tangible hope to a community that for too long has been told they should have none. You can help everyday people recreate the world. You can empower leaders and lay people alike who are ready to get to work, who are ready to break chains, who are ready to build a future full of hope. Give now, give often; give because we don’t have to keep failing our children.