Honoring Black Criminal Justice System Reform Activists

Honoring Black Criminal Justice System Reform Activists

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements and leadership of Black people throughout history. This month, we at Friends of Guest House want to highlight a few Black criminal justice activists.

Angela Davis: Angela Davis is a Civil Rights leader, educator, and author. Her political activism dates back to her youth in Birmingham, Alabama. She has spent most of her life fighting for racial justice through her writings and her participation in active struggles. Having served time in prison herself, much of her activism has been aimed at criminal justice reform and prison abolition.

Susan Burton: Susan Burton is a formerly incarcerated Black woman whose personal journey led her to advocacy. In 1998, she founded an organization called A New Way of Life. The organization provides re-entry support services to formerly incarcerated women and advocates for the rights of formerly incarcerated people.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors: Patrice Khan-Cullors is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to leading the movement, Patrice advocates for incarcerated people through her organization, Dignity and Power Now. DPN is a nonprofit organization focused on prison abolition.

Deanna Van Buren: Deanna Van Buren is an activist architect who uses her knowledge and experience in architecture to advocate for incarcerated people. Her organization, Designing Justice and Designing Spaces, works with communities to develop new spaces, buildings, and tools aimed to combat mass incarceration.

Michelle Alexander: Michelle Alexander is an activist and author. Her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness took the world by storm and transformed the conversation surrounding the criminal justice system. She continues to advocate for decarceration through her writing and teaching.