This week, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta will host the ‘Ending Mass Incarceration’ Conference.
The event kicked off Monday night with a ceremony at the church led by Rev. Raphael Warnock, who greeted advocates and members of the interfaith community.
He says Georgia is still Ground Zero for the sheer number of people under correctional control.
Two men who were wrongly imprisoned in 1990 for a crime they didn’t commit, received the Freedom Fighter Award from the church and a certificate of recognition from Rep. John Lewis.
Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, gave the opening address.
“It’s never been true that slavery has been abolished,” Alexander said. “If you have been convicted of a crime, the U.S. Constitution still says, today, that slavery is just fine.”
During her remarks, Alexander noted that one in three black men will spend time in prison at least once in their lives.
The conference, which runs until Wednesday, will host panels and discussions dealing with the school to prison pipeline, expunging a criminal record, and prison alternatives.
Featured speakers will include the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Ambassador Andrew Young, and civil rights leader Xernona Clayton.