THE IMPACT SERIES | Look 2 Justice

THE IMPACT SERIES | Look 2 Justice

Date and Time

Aug 10, 2023 5:00 pm

Location

14th & V

2021 14th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20009

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Description:

The Impact of Mass Incarceration is a call home to victims of the criminal justice system who have been taken from their communities and brought back years later to an unrecognizable place without the proper reentry tools. More than 10 million arrests are made each year in the United States with an arrest made every three seconds. Within this statistic, fewer than 5 percent of these are for serious violent crimes (Vera Institute, 2019). Busboys and Poets strives to inform the public of why criminal justice reform is necessary as well as provide resources for those with a criminal record and allies in this fight to end mass incarceration. We also hope to provide victims the proper welcoming back home that they deserve. 

Christopher Blackwell was raised in a mixed Native American/white family in the Hilltop Area of Tacoma, Washington. During his childhood, Hilltop was one of the roughest places to live in the country — ravaged by over-policing, gangs, violence, and drugs. His first experience of incarceration came at the age of 12. By the age of 14 he had dropped out of school and followed in the path of neighborhood role models by becoming a drug dealer. He was in and out of juvenile detention centers until the age of 22 when he was given his current prison sentence.

A lot has changed in the 28 years since his first experience with incarceration. Today he's earned a college degree, become a leader in prisoner-led mentor programs, a restorative justice facilitator, and a voice for many behind prison walls experiencing extreme injustices on a daily basis. Christopher and his wife, Dr. Chelsea Moore, co-founded Look 2 Justice.

LOOK 2 JUSTICE is a grassroots organization led by criminal legal system-impacted people that works to transform the legal system by providing civic education and empowerment programs for incarcerated people and their loved ones.

The panelists will be joining us on the Busboys stage to share their experience transforming the lives of the deliberately silenced through their activism to change Washington’s criminal justice system. Copies of WE DO THIS 'TIL WE FREE US will be available for purchase during and after the event.

This event is free and open to all. There will be a reception from 5pm-6pm. Then, our program will begin at 6:00 pm, and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Please note that this event is IN PERSON and WILL be livestreamed.

We ask that guests RSVP in order to receive direct updates about the event from Busboys and Poets Books

Look 2 Justice is a grassroots organization of system-impacted organizers and researchers who work to cultivate justice, fairness, and accountability in Washington State’s criminal legal system through civic education and empowerment. We operate on an inside-out organizing model, meaning our organization is led by currently incarcerated people working in concert with outside organizers who are primarily formerly incarcerated and/or have incarcerated loved ones.

Christopher William Blackwell is a Washington-based award-winning journalist currently incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center. He is serving a 45-year prison sentence for taking another human’s life during a drug robbery. He has been incarcerated since 2003.

Having experienced the injustices and traumas of the system — long stents in solitary confinement, abuse at the hands of staff, and retaliation — Christopher has opened up to share his and many others’ stories in hopes of educating society.

He got his start in journalism with a breaking story published in The Marshall Project in partnership with BuzzFeed that exposed what coronavirus quarantine looked like in prison after a guard tested positive where he was confined. His work has been featured across the country in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, HuffPost, Marshall Project, Insider, Jewish Currents, BuzzFeed, The Appeal, and many more. He is currently in the process of working on a book manuscript about solitary confinement.

Being a voice for so many who are often not able to do so for themselves is something he finds to be an honor and quite humbling.

Dr. Chelsea Moore is the co-director and co-founder of Look2Justice with her husband Christopher Blackwell. In addition, she leads the Smart Justice Policy work for the ACLU of Washington and is a lecturer in Law & Society at the University of Washington. Chelsea holds a PhD in political science from the University of Washington with a focus on the criminal legal system. Her dissertation, “In Pursuit of the Pervert: Sexual Dangerousness and the Creep of the Carceral State,” examines the relationship between fears of sexual dangerousness and the expansion of the carceral state.

Chelsea sits on the Korematsu Race in Criminal Justice Task Force, the Board of Judicial Administration Alternatives to Incarceration Task Force, and the APPR Pierce Pretrial Policy Initiative Workgroup. She is a published researcher, an award-winning instructor, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In 2020, she was named an American Association of University Women Dissertation fellow.

Wayne (Weezy) DuBois is a living breathing example that it is possible. Growing up in gang culture, overwhelmed with drugs, death and destruction inevitably lead Mr. DuBois to a 20 year sentence for Assault in the 1st Degree. To prepare for altercations associated with prison, Mr.DuBois began his fitness journey. Through exercise he found structure, discipline, work ethic and relief. After shedding the first 40 pounds it wasn’t until his uncle, who also at this time was his cellmate told him “if you do anything like you workout, you will be successful at everything” that he found himself. This began his journey of education.

Since then Mr.DuBois has deeply rooted himself within his community and is passionate about effectively empowering youth and young adults from these same neighborhoods where he once caused so much destruction.

Mr.DuBois is a certified transformation specialist, Strength and Conditioning coach and Nutritionist.He is the creator and facilitator of the oppression and trauma recovery course, Conversations Of Growth (C.O.G.) and a motivational speaker.

Cassandra DuBois believes in the humanity of people and is committed to working towards collective healing that starts with our youth. She comes to this work as a loved one impacted by mass incarceration and as a survivor of harm. She is deeply invested in the healing of families impacted by this systemic racism and has spent several years working as an activist and abolitionist in the community. She is hopeful that this work will lead to the dismantling of all forms of oppression that continue to swallow up the children of our communities and throw them away. Working for over 16 years with youth impacted by both homelessness and the criminal justice system she is currently pursuing her PhD in Transformative Social Change. Cassandra hopes to bring an awakened consciousness and a healing of trauma within the family structures of our communities.

Eugene Youngblood was arrested in 1991 at 18 years of age and released in March of 2021 at the age of 48 after serving 29 and a half years. He was set to spend the rest of his life in prison but in June 2019, the clemency and pardons board voted unanimously to recommend release after finding that his personal transformation and the work he did with other prisoners was extraordinary. Eugene says, “It can be harder to heal from having harmed others than from all the harm done to us. No matter how difficult the task, I’m up for the challenge because I know…people don’t change, we HEAL!”

Jessica Schulberg is a senior reporter at HuffPost, covering the criminal legal system with a focus on conditions of confinement and extreme sentencing. Her work has also appeared in the New Republic and the Washington Post. She is the recipient of a 2022 Deadline Club award and 2023 Writers Guild of America award.

Jessica volunteers with Empowerment Avenue, working with incarcerated journalists to publish their work in mainstream outlets. She helped negotiate HuffPost Union's second and third collective bargaining agreement and is a member of the Writers Guild of America East council.

Representative David Hackney was elected in 2020, Rep. David Hackney represents the 11th Legislative District, which includes Renton, Tukwila, and North Kent. David has practiced law for over 27 years, as a federal prosecutor, a war crimes prosecutor for the United Nations and as in house counsel for The Nature Conservancy. He has facilitated criminal justice reform projects in Kosovo and Uzbekistan. David serves on the Consumer Protection & Business and Transportation Committees and is Vice Chair of the Capital Budget Committee. He is passionate about criminal justice reform, environmental justice, and civil rights. David holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a J.D./M.P.A. from Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Udi Ofer is James L. Weinberg’s Visiting Professor and Lecturer in the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is the founding Director of the Policy Advocacy Clinic at Princeton University and teaches courses on civil rights, policing, criminal justice reform, public policy and social change. He is also Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

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