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Faith in the Valley San Joaquin will host a community forum Friday to encourage parents and their children to learn more about the prison industry and how to help redirect youth from the “school to prison pipeline.”
“Concrete Conversations: Exposing the Prison Industry” will be 6-9 p.m. Friday at Victory in Praise, 2029 E. Harding Way. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.
The purpose of the event is to expose systemic oppression centered around the prison industry complex, especially private prisons, Victory in Praise Elder Toni McNeil said. The conversations will include a look at policies and laws that are in place, a discussion on some of the “startling statistics” and a talk about the trauma and restrictions faced by people once they are released from prison and how those obstacles lead to recidivism.
“It is also a time set apart to awaken the awareness to this systemic oppression and develop leadership skills (and) abilities to engage policymakers regarding the injustices that are faced by those who have been racially profiled and often killed on the streets, sentenced to extensive prison terms unjustly, and released only to face hundreds of restrictions that limit their ability to integrate back into society,” according to the event invitation.
A “concrete team” made up of people who previously were incarcerated and have experience with the prison system will lead the event and a panel discussion with guests.
The purpose is to have an honest, candid conversation about the issues, McNeil said. By allowing people with firsthand experience to speak, they can use their voice to redirect youth from getting involved in gang activities and gun violence.
″(The concrete team) is just a tiny fraction of individuals who have had the courage to step out and share their stories,” she said.
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