the 2019 Symposium for systematic change
Cornerstone Builders sponsored the annual Symposium for Systemic Change: A Vision for Justice at Corpus Christi-Epiphany Community Center in October. As representatives on the Governor’s Task Force for Incarcerated Women, Sr. Marjorie, Syrita Steib, and Dolfinette Martin spoke about the bleak conditions incarcerated women endure. They emphasized the importance of addressing women’s needs, especially since the only women’s prison was flooded in 2016. While is it being rebuilt, women have been transferred to previously closed facilities for men, exacerbating their problems. Their children suffer immensely as they usually enter into foster care and do not understand why they cannot see their mothers. The speakers reminded the audience that we need to take action with our elected officials to attend to these people who are “out of sight but not out of mind.”
guest speakers and breakout sessions
Throughout the day, the 100+ participants learned more about meeting the needs of current or formerly incarcerated individuals. Attendees heard how they can create social change through the political process based in Catholic social doctrine. The participants reflected a broad cross section of lay and clerical Catholics, formerly incarcerated individuals, corrections personnel, and secular non-profit collaborators. Featured speakers included Archbishop Aymond, who reviewed his ten-point plan on how to welcome people returning from incarceration. Other speakers included Rhett Covington from the LA Department of Safety & Corrections, who updated the crowd on the continued ways the 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative has reduced our prison population even more quickly than initially anticipated but in a way that is mindful of public safety. Ashley Belton of the Power Coalition addressed the magnitude of each vote and how organized citizens can impact an election.
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