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70,000 Returning Citizens, their families, community advocates and allies will fight to bring our people home and do what it takes to support them. Why do we have to fight? Our elected officials and community leaders have claimed on numerous occasions that they support Returning Citizens: that they are against the school to prison pipeline, that they want to stop mass incarceration and put an end to racial profiling. But the rhetoric of our local, DC politicians does not match their actions. Multiple organizations and community advocates tirelessly worked to bring a reputable, community-oriented Residential Facility for Returning Citizens to the District in Wards 5 and/or 7. CORE Services operates an effective and efficient Residential Facility for Returning Citizens in Brooklyn, New York and was awarded the contract from the Federal Bureau of Prisons to operate a similar facility in Washington, DC.  We applaud their accomplishments in New York and congratulate them for winning the contract in Washington, DC. We need caring Residential Reentry Centers that are focused on Restorative Practices in Washington, DC.s

Facts

70,000 Returning Citizens, their families, community advocates and allies will fight to bring our people home and do what it takes to support them. Why do we have to fight? Our elected officials and community leaders have claimed on numerous occasions that they support Returning Citizens: that they are against the school to prison pipeline, that they want to stop mass incarceration and put an end to racial profiling. But the rhetoric of our local, DC politicians does not match their actions. Multiple organizations and community advocates tirelessly worked to bring a reputable, community-oriented Residential Facility for Returning Citizens to the District in Ward 5 and/or 7.

CORE Services operates an effective and efficient Residential Facility for Returning Citizens in Brooklyn, New York and was awarded the contract from the Federal Bureau of Prisons to operate a similar facility in Washington, DC.  We applaud their accomplishments in New York and congratulate them for winning the contract in Washington, DC. We need caring Residential Reentry Centers that are focused on Restorative Practices in Washington, DC. 

education
and focus

Stats

23% of Returning sons, brothers, husbands and fathers come from Ward 7. More than 50% of those Returning are from Wards 7 and 8. Our elected officials and “community leaders are placing barriers and obstacles before Returning Citizens that prevent them from gaining access to opportunities. Our elected officials continuously prioritize the wants and needs of our gentrifying neighbors who generally take the “Not In My Backyard” position regarding supportive services that are desperately needed in the Black community. The majority of Black people who are born in DC or who have lived here for many years have little to no influence on the decisions made by our City Council and others who prioritize property development and business development over the need for people development.

We see various forms of oppression and state violence that is normalized in the Black community. We see it in our educational system when schools in Ward 8 are losing funding at a time when it is needed most. We see it when we look at access to affordable, humane housing and our rapid displacement. We see the obstacles placed before marginalized people in Wards 7 and 8 when we look at their limited access to healthcare, healthy food choices and proper legislative representation. We see the evidence in our continued disenfranchisement. The issues of the Black community are ignored, neglected, minimized and discredited. The Movement of 70,000 STRONG wants to make it clear, “IF YOU DON’T WANT US, YOU DON’T LOVE US!”

Our elected officials benefit from the lived experience and expert knowledge of Returning Citizens. Many of them are currently working  to help prevent the spread of violence in our communities. These groups include “Cure Violence”, “Credible Messengers”, and “The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.” Most of the Community Health Workers discussed here are Returning Citizens who our elected officials and our community rely on to keep our streets safe for all of us. For these reasons we demand city officials to invest time and resources into creating access to opportunities for Returning Citizens in Washington, DC that include but are not limited to Reentry facility placement that is conducive to successful reentry when transitioning from incarceration.  If there is no place for Returning Citizens in the District then it is clear to us that IF YOU DON’T WANT US, YOU DON’T LOVE US!

70,000 STRONG will fight as one for the opportunity to heal our families. Our brothers and sisters have paid their debt to society and they deserve a fresh start in re-engaging in the relationships upended by a justice system designed to lock up as many of us as possible. If we can’t achieve justice in our Nation’s Capital, a city that is largely Black; then, where will we achieve justice? If we don’t pursue justice at a time as critical as this, when will we pursue justice. If not us, then who do you believe has the passion, the energy and capacity to do what must be done to heal, and support formerly incarcerated men and women in building resilience to trauma and state violence.