July 12, 2022
Dear Initiate Justice Community,
In 2019, I joined Initiate Justice’s Institute of Impacted Leaders program with the desire to learn how I could advocate for my three brothers who were each serving 20+ years for decisions made in their youth. Under the mentorship of our Co-Founder, Taina, and with the support of an entire community of impacted people, I learned not only about the necessity of advocating for my loved ones, and how to advocate for their rights and freedom – but also realized just how critical and urgent it is that all impacted people work collectively in our fight for freedom.
Having supported my incarcerated loved ones for over half of my life, I am deeply committed to our mission of empowering impacted people to center our voices for policy change that progresses us towards an abolitionist future. For the past 3 years I have continued to develop my leadership, I have effected lasting change, and I have empowered others to use their political power in my roles as an Initiate Justice Outside Organizer, an Institute of Impacted Leaders Facilitator, and the Director of Organizing. I have witnessed hope being restored for countless people who had given up their fight, myself and my brothers included, and have experienced the transformative power of impacted people as leaders.
As a dedicated advocate, I will continue to uphold our mission, empower leaders among our community, and ensure that the experiences of people currently and formerly incarcerated, and their loved ones, inform our policy campaigns. We will continue to equip impacted people with the knowledge and tools necessary to make policy change, both inside and outside of prisons. We will continue to organize from an abolitionist, intersectional lens, and we will continue to be courageous in our pursuit of freedom for all people.
I am honored and excited to dedicate my leadership to continue shifting power back into the hands of our families and communities.
I am grateful for the leaders and activists who have come before us, and for each of you in this fight with us. #WeFightForUs
How will this affect the vision?
We have the same mission as always. We are committed to political change that centers the most impacted people, and we will keep fighting to bring people home. With all seasons come change, and we are joyful and excited about our path. We are looking forward to adding creative and expansive new directions to the work we already do, and the vision we work towards everyday. Initiate Justice has an invested staff, an engaged Board, and the support of all of you. We are in steady hands for this next part of our journey.
Do these changes mean IJ is hiring?
Soon! When the dust settles a bit, we will share career opportunities to our website and socials, calling for advocates who can help us get to our goals. We hire system-impacted people, and will prioritize our Outside Organizers, and former Inside Organizers.
How can we continue to support Taina?
You can read Taina’s letter here to learn about why this was the perfect time for her new role as Executive Director of IJ Action, and her hopes for the future. You can join us in signing her online group card here: https://www.groupgreeting.com/sign/88afa4610166059 . She also welcomes emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How is the team doing? How can we support?
Thanks to our active Board of Directors, and Taina’s long-term planning that we all know and love, the team is navigating these new waters together. The best support right now is a little grace as we work our way through our emails, and get all the right information where it needs to go. If you have questions about the transition process, please feel free to reach out to me: antoinette@policyinitiatejustice-org
How can I keep my loved one informed?
We have copies of everything shared through our email lists or socials available on the Resources page of our site for you to print and send. There will be more information included in the late August copy of The Inside Journal, which should be received in early September. They can also ask their local Inside Organizer! If your loved one wants to write themselves, please have them use
PO Box 15836
Los Angeles, CA 90015
for messages of goodwill for Taina and
PO Box 15836
Los Angeles, CA 90015
for questions about the transition. Letters to ATTN: Taina will not be opened by Initiate Justice staff, so it’s important that they do not include any information that they’re trying to get to us. Letters to ATTN:ED will only be responded to if the answer is not included in the upcoming August issue of the Journal.
Information link: http://9n1.598.mywebsitetransfer.com/resources#linksforlovedones