The Institute of the Black World along with Black Family Summit Organizations will host a “Free Her” rally in hopes of calling attention to the affects of mass incarceration on women.

Thousands of concerned citizens along with members of national organizations are expected to converge on the National Mall in Washington, D. C. on Saturday, June 21st. The FREE HER rally will assemble at the Sylvan Theater on the National Mall, Independence Avenue & 15th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

“This protest in the nation’s capital will serve to shine a light on the alarming growth rates in the incarceration of women of color, most for minor offenses related to the so-called War on Drugs,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, president of the Institute said in a press release. “This mass incarceration of our sisters and mothers is tearing apart the fabric of family life in black and brown communities across the country. We call on the Obama Administration to immediately intervene and put an end to this horrible situation.”

The rally has three objectives:

1. To raise awareness of the alarming increase in the rate of incarceration of women in the United States and its impact on our children and communities.

2. To demand an end to voter disenfranchisement for people with felony convictions and to encourage the passing of the Smarter Sentencing Act.

3. To ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women and men in the federal system who have applied for commutations.

Between 1980 and 2010, the number of women in prison increased by 646 percent overall, with women of color making up the majority of that percentage. Black women are incarcerated at nearly 3 times the rate of white women. Most are serving sentences for non-violent drug offenses. Many women were charged and eventually convicted of conspiracy and other related counts, despite have little to no involvement in the offenses that led to their arrests.

FREE HER will feature representatives from around the country. It will be locally hosted by the D.C. Office of Returning Citizen Affairs.

For more information contact:

Families for Justice as Healing
(617) 749-3129

About Families for Justice as Healing:

Families for Justice as Healing is a criminal justice reform, legislative advocacy organization. At Families for Justice as Healing, we organize formerly incarcerated women to join the movement toward creating community wellness alternatives to incarceration, to heal and rebuild families and communities.  Our membership advocates a shift away from expansion of the prison system and toward creation of community wellness alternatives to incarceration. We seek public health alternatives to current U.S. drug policies and legislation that focus on criminalization, the war on drugs and mass incarceration.

About IBW:

The Institute of the Black World 21st Century is a leading research, policy and public advocacy organization committed to building the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. to work for social, political, economic and cultural upliftment, the development of the global Black community and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people. IBW focuses much of its work on ending the War on Drugs, reforming drug policies and advocating for reforms in racially-biased criminal justice policies.