Women Against Mass Incarceration

Women Against Mass Incarceration
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Mission:

Women Against Mass Incarceration(WAMI) is a grassroots organization of reentry professionals, advocates and activists working to re-imagine our communities and end the incarceration of women and girls

History:

WAMI was founded in 2017. In 2018 we had direct involvement in molding a bill to help stop shackling pregnant women in prison. To ensure that women know their rights, we send newsletters to women in prison – informing them of the bill passed last year. This year we started to push back on the many forms of discrimination experienced by people living with violent convictions, especially women. From our outcry, a task force was created to develop strategies to combat the barriers we face.

The Issues:

Our local council representatives are virtually invisible and most people do not know who represents their community. The Mayor and police department work closely together to hyper patrol our communities. In Hartford, the chief approved drones as surveillance in communities of color. WAMI works to address that through a bill calling for prosecutor accountability and another to treat incarcerated women with dignity. In Bridgeport, we have very little assistance for formerly incarcerated women, and WAMI is there to fill the void.

Constituency and Leadership:

WAMI works statewide with formerly incarcerated women and girls in Connecticut. Our community is located in Bridgeport and other densely populated communities throughout the state. Our leadership and constituents are women and girls who cross age, race, income, sexual orientation and immigration status. Many are living below the poverty line, are over-policed and underdeveloped. Women and girls of color, who are most impacted by these issues, make up the largest part of our community.

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

WAMI works to educate our community and a wider public audience on the impact of incarceration – including the destruction of families, the destabilizing of communities, and the loss of hope which leads to cycles of violence. We build coalitions with other organizations and people who understand that oppression crosses lines of race, class, ethnicity, age and gender. As we support their issues, we bring our allies an understanding of decarceration strategies developed and implemented by formerly incarcerated women and girls.

Movement Building:

WAMI plays a leadership role with The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, and Bridgeport Women’s Barriers subcommittee. Alongside the Coalition for Women Prisoners, ACLU-CT Smart Justice, Katal and other organizations we are a part of roundtable discussions and trainings to engage others on our issues.

Long-term Vision for Change:

Women Against Mass Incarceration is the only organization in Connecticut that frames women’s rights as human rights for formerly incarcerated women and girls. Most of the organizations we collaborate with focus on legislative policy and litigation. WAMI’s focus is women’s empowerment, prison abolition, community and family engagement, and hyper-local work in the community to end the incarceration of women and girls. Our long term vision to reimagine our community and rebuild the lives of the formerly incarcerated women within our community.

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Organization Budget:  $171,000
Request: $10,000

Raised to date this week:

You can support WAMI by clicking on the Donate button below: