As Father’s Day approaches this weekend, it’s a time for most to reflect on the meaning of family and the importance of a father in their life. But for some, it is a painful time because their fathers are not at home, and in prison instead.
Since the 1980s, as a result of the War on Drugs, mass incarceration has exponentially increased the US prison population, and has disproportionately affected Black men. This Father’s Day, the “Love Letters” campaign, supported by Google, is trying to raise awareness about the costly toll that mass incarceration has had on the 2.7 million children with at least one parent in prison.
The campaign explains:
“From 1980 to 2007, about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African-American. And if that current trend continues, one in three Black boys born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. All in all, we’re now at a point where there are more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.”
For Mother’s Day, the campaign started a hashtag, #LoveLetters, and shared videos of children reading love letters to their mothers who were incarcerated. With Father’s Day this Sunday, June 20th, the campaign is back with another video, and raising awareness once again.
The campaign asks that people support organizations that work to keep children united with their incarcerated parent(s), and you can find the links to those organizations below.
Hour Children: http://hourchildren.org
In Arm’s Reach: http://inarmsreach.net
The Osborne Association: http://www.osborneny.org
Essie Justice Group: http://www.essiejusticegroup.org
The Messages Project: http://themessagesproject.org
POPS The Club: https://www.facebook.com/popstheclub
And, if you want to learn about criminal justice reform legislation that is now going through Congress, visit sentencingproject.org, vera.org, or brennancenter.org. And join the conversation with #LoveLetters on social media.