Whole Life Magazine

February/March 2020

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/1207713

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Page 19 of 31

S omeone imagined handcuffs. Someone imagined the gun. It's our moment to imagine something different. Imagine a world that actually sees the value of the black life, the indigenous people, and the children. My call to us all is to imagine a future that is life-giving for all of our children versus life-taking," Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Chair of REFORM LA JAILS - MEASURE R said during our recent interview. It reminds me of a practice anthropologist Margaret Mead discovered in travels throughout Africa. When a community member broke their laws, they knew the person was in distress. Why else would they disrupt the delicate balance of their society? The community would gather with the person in the center and direct love, healing, and compassion toward them, acknowledging their pain. It was never about isolating them from the group. There is an infinite wisdom to this practice. John Legend stated during his Oscar acceptance speech for Glory in 2015 that "There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850." Patrisse Khan-Cullors has taken action by bringing the first citizen- led criminal justice reform measure to the ballot in L.A. history. In When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse shares the agonizingly painful journey through the criminal justice system her brother Monte has experienced. Unfortunately, there are too many Monte stories where the jail system fails our citizens on a regular basis. Patrisse is leading the charge to bring about a better way through the power of the ballot. Lynne Lyman, Chief Campaign Strategist for Measure R has worked in the areas of Criminal Justice Reform including writing and helping to pass laws for many years. We share her interview below: Sunny Chayes: The process of managing "wrong doers" in this country feels so fraught with judgment, misinformation, and a complete lack of mercy. In many ways, our system seems to lack common sense and decency. Let's myth-bust a bit. The L.A. County Jail System is the largest in the world! It's also the largest mental institution in America while being supreme- ly ill-equipped in managing mental illness. The focus has an emphasis on punishing, stigmatizing, and incarcerating people. The statistics are clear. Our system is deeply inhumane, unjust, and not working. Other countries have a completely different focus. Lynne Lyman: Yes, for example, we see in European countries, the focus is on rehabilitation, having the punishment fit 20 wholelifetimes.com Artwork by Lightwise " Power of the People – To the People Reform LA Jails: Measure R By Sunny Chayes

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