Service Opportunities

Mentors

Mentors of all ages and demographics are needed for our Carver Youth Advocacy program (YAP).   For more information on Carver, see here.  Mentors must attend our Youth  Advocacy Program Training on Monday, September 18, at 6pm, Benjamin Hooks Public Library.    If interested attend the 9/18 YAP Training and/or email pjmimemphis@gmail.com.

Juvenile Justice Volunteers

For those that qualify, we would love to have a few Shelby County Juvenile Court volunteers in our group, especially in light of our “Free MI Kids” Campaign. See this link for more information, requirements and procedure.  Email pjmimemphis@gmail.com to let us know if you decide to apply!

Immigration Liaison
Also, we are still seeking a liaison to find ways that we can support and partner with our Latino brothers and sisters in this struggle that touches the new wave of mass incarceration–immigration detention.  If interested, email pjmimemphis@gmail.com.

MI Weekly

Upcoming Events


This week’s Project MI meetings, events and other organization programs related to mass incarceration:

Thursday, 9/14–FREE Continuing Legal Education Course:  “Money Bail in Shelby County: The Breakdown”

The Breakdown CLE will be open to the public on September 14, 2017 from 3-5pm at the University of Memphis School of Law Wade Auditorium (1 N. Front Street).  The event is hosted by the National Bar Association’s Ben F. Jones Chapter, Black Lives Matter Memphis, Just City, Law 4 Black Lives, and Project MI.  Full flyer for the event, here.

Monday, 9/18–Youth Advocacy Program Training (Carver High School Initiative)

Those interested in participating in any part of our Carver High School  Youth Advocacy Program, including serving as mentors, should plan to attend our Justice League Training on Monday, September 18, at the Benjamin Hooks Public Library at 6pm. At the training, members will be prepared for time with Carver students by learning how to be an effective mentor, cultural competence, and other important topics.

Friday, 9/29–Youth Advocacy Program Networking Meet & Greet Kickoff

The official launch of our Youth Advocacy Program in partnership with Carver High School is September 29, 2017 from 2:15-3:15pm! We will hold a Networking Meet and Greet at Carver High School where members will have the opportunity to get to know some of the young men in our program.  Those that wish to participate must also attend our Carver Training on Monday, 9/18, above.

We are hoping for as many Project MI members as possible in attendance to make a strong showing of support to these young men, so please attend if you can!

 

 

 

September Meet-Up Today!

Please join us this evening, September 5th at 6pm when Project MI will hold its September Meet-Up at University of Memphis School of Law (1 North Front Street, Downtown Memphis) in Wade Auditorium.

This is our monthly business meeting where we discuss upcoming Project MI initiatives and fellowship in activism.   If you are new to MI, this is the perfect opportunity to join a committee and get straight to work!

The agenda items for the first half of our Meet-Up are:

For the second half of the meeting, the following committees will meet:

  • Youth Advocacy Program Committee
  • Youth Summit Planning Committee
  • Legislation & Research Committee
  • Free MI Kids Narrative Committee

See you there!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Project MI gets so much AMAZING content by our AWESOME Facebook group members, that we want to share the week in review with our members everywhere!  

 


1.  Nashville Locks Up the Unrepresented in “Assembly-Line Atmosphere”

A few weeks ago we learned that the state of Tennessee is number 10 in the WORLD for locking folks up.  It should come to no surprise that the state’s capitol, Nashville, is locking folks up on misdemeanors, often while not making people aware of their right to an attorney.  According to this report by the Innocence Project:

“[D]efendants were quickly ushered through court—with never a defense attorney present—and told that they had the option to either take a plea deal or not take a deal and then go to trial. When individuals asked to speak to a judge, they were told that they could not do so unless they rejected the plea deal offered.

. . .

For the most part, judges were absent from the courtroom. When they did appear, they did not ask defendants whether they ‘understood the plea agreement or its consequences; did not inform defendants of their right to counsel and to a trial; and did not ask if defendants were waiving any of their rights…’”

Despite the Supreme Court’s holding over fifty years ago in Gideon v. Wainwright, that the Sixth Amendment requires that states provide counsel in criminal cases to represent indigent defendants that cannot afford to pay their own, the Innocence Project report illustrates how many criminal defendants continue to go unrepresented at crucial phases of criminal proceedings, often resulting in jail or prison time.

 


2. Trump to Roll Back Police Demilitarization Reforms

The militarization of local law enforcement has been a hot button issue in the past few years.  Nevertheless, as this New York Times Article notes, President Trump has “rolled back several Obama-era policing reforms” to help bolster Trump’s support among law enforcement and solidifying his aggressive campaign “law and order” stance.   This policy shift allowing local law enforcement to stock surplus U.S. military equipment, including personnel carriers and grenade launchers, is undoubtedly also tied to Attorney General Sessions’ renewal of the failed “War on Drugs,”

Military Police
Following the death of Michael Brown in August 2014, and a surge of media images portraying police as highly militarized, a critical debate emerged on whether “serve and protect” remains the focus of work by local police.

 


3. Mass Incarceration Contributing to the Achievement Gap

Of all the collateral consequences to mass incarceration, one of the most heartbreaking is the impact on families, and especially, the children of imprisoned parents. As noted by this Washington Post article, “the ‘evidence is overwhelming that the unjustified incarceration of African American fathers (and, increasingly, mothers as well) is an important cause of the lowered performance of their children’” and of the racial achievement gap.”  Further, the report concludes that “[t]he number of children affected has grown to the point that we can reasonably infer that our criminal justice system is making an important contribution to the racial achievement gap in both cognitive and noncognitive skills.”  Indeed.

 


4.  Over-Criminalizing Blacks in the Military

Black criminalization is everywhere, not just toward actual alleged criminals, but even toward those that choose the highest of honorable acts like serving this country.  Another member posted an article from the Huffington Post, “Even In The Military, Black People Are Punished Disproportionately,”  According to the article, “black service members were as much as two and a half times more likely than their white counterparts to face court-martial or nonjudicial punishment in an average year.”   This is a notable disparity considering White service members make up 70% of those serving in the military.

 


5.  Weekend Point to Ponder

Facebook MI member Suzanne Jackson posed a great question that gives us something to ponder in between our thoughts, prayers, and assistance for the Houston area people impacted by Hurricane Harvey:

“What will WE do to respond to the analysis, perspectives and understanding of the Colonial Middle School students?” 

student art

See all works of the Colonial students which Just City’s Executive Director Josh Spickler describes as, “[p]oignant, complex, and horrifying,” and states the works “should remind us that we are passing down a dangerously broken system to our children.”

 


6.  Odds & Ends

One Facebook member posted about the Prison Policy Initiative blog, a great resource with loads of graphs and other information frequently cited by MI members.

Another Facebook MI member posted on the Georgia Cop’s Traffic stop where he creepily and casually declared, “we only kill Black people” prompting Project MI’s Professional Liaison Attorney Corbin Carpenter to question, “how can we truly combat and destroy something (racism) that is as normal as breathing?”

Finally, make every effort to attend our Project MI September Meet-Upon Tuesday, 9/5 at 6pm at U of M Law School (1 North Front Street, Downtown). This is our monthly business meeting and the perfect opportunity to get straight to work in the fight to end mass incarceration!

Be active.  Be educated.  Be vigilant.

Free CLE on Money Bail System

FREE Continuing Legal Education Course!

“Money Bail in Shelby County: The Breakdown”

The Breakdown CLE will be open to the public on September 14, 2017 from 3-5pm at the University of Memphis School of Law Wade Auditorium (1 N. Front Street).  The event is hosted by the National Bar Association’s Ben F. Jones Chapter, Black Lives Matter Memphis, Just City, Law for Black Lives, and Project MI.End Money Bail in Shelby County (1)

Attendees will learn about the money bail system in Shelby County and money bail reform efforts nationally.  Attorneys in attendance will receive 2 hours of general CLE credit.

Be active.  Be educated.  Be vigilant.

September Meet-Up

Please join us one week from today on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 6pm when Project MI will hold its September Meet-Up at University of Memphis School of Law (1 North Front Street, Downtown Memphis) in Wade Auditorium.

This is our monthly business meeting where we discuss upcoming Project MI initiatives and fellowship in activism.   If you are new to MI, this is the perfect opportunity to join a committee and get straight to work!

The agenda items for the first half of our September Meet-Up are:

For the second half of the meeting, the following committees will meet:

  • Youth Advocacy Program Committee
  • Youth Summit Planning Committee
  • Legislation & Research Committee
  • Free MI Kids Narrative Committee

Please email any agenda items to pjmimemphis@gmail.com no later than Friday, 9/1.

MI Upcoming

This week’s Project MI meetings, events and other organization programs related to mass incarceration:

This evening Monday, 8/28 6pm, the MI Youth Narrative Committee will hold a committee meeting at 6pm at U of M Law School (1 NorthFront Street) in Room 233.  If you are a member of the Narrative Committee, please check your email for further details.  If you are not on this committee but interested, contact Amelia Cortez.

Also this evening Monday, 8/28 5pm,  the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis will host its August meeting at the First Baptist Church of Memphis.  Dr. Timothy Huebner from Rhodes College will be speaking about Nathan Bedford Forrest’s career as a slave trader in Memphis during the 1850s.

For those in Project MI leadership, including our Administrative, Professional and Outreach teams, we will have our first executive leadership meeting on Tuesday, 8/29 at 6pm at the Law School in Room 230.  Please check email for further details and agenda.

For those on the Youth Summit Planning Committee, there is a call on Wednesday, 8/30 at 2:30pm.  Contact Brittany Williams for further details.

Next week, all please plan to attend our September MI Meet-Up on Tuesday September 5th at 6pm at U of M Law School Wade Auditorium.  We have exciting updates, and upcoming programs, that require community input and action!

Please feel free to drop other events in the comments or email pjmimemphis@gmail.com to submit your future event related to mass incarceration for inclusion in our weekly email!

MEM*Power Part VI

The next installment in the MEM*Power series is this Saturday, 8/26, 9am at New Hope Baptist Church of Memphis. MEM*Power is an interfaith effort, toward unity, for the collective progress of Memphians. The conference will feature Attorney Ricky Wilkins, the Honorable Minister Anthony Muhammad, and Project MI’s Professor Demetria Frank will cover Part 2 of the historical context of mass incarceration, including the War on Drugs and the role of the Clinton administration in the mass incarceration of poor communities.

Mt. Pisgah CME ✔️

NOI Mosque 55✔️

Word of Faith Christ Center✔️

Christ Fellowship Church ✔️

#MemPower