Most lawmakers have never sat eye to eye with someone who’s spent years, or decades in prison. They don’t truly grasp the pain and trauma inflicted on a child when their parent is locked up, and even when they do visit, they may only get to see them on a video screen. In addition, legislators are simply unaware that what crime victims and their families increasingly ask for is not tougher sentences, but solutions that interrupt the cycle of crime and punishment.
This is where our Empathy Network comes in. In the next three years we will triple the number of people committed to raising awareness and impacting the criminal justice laws in their state. It will be a game changer – in public perception and lawmakers’ support – to train 200+ organizations on how to use media and storytelling in growing support for criminal justice reform.
Our Empathy Network arose out of planning for our first Day of Empathy in March of 2017. For that event, we worked with 80+ local criminal justice organizations to hold events across the country, that generated empathy on a massive scale for those impacted by the criminal justice system. In the process of planning these events we created relationships with these organizations. We also built up many more contacts, people who were deeply interested in our message of empathy and wanted to take part, but there is so much more we can do. We are investing in building and nurturing this Empathy Network over the next couple of years, starting with our prior Day of Empathy partners and continually adding more groups, impacted individuals, leaders and community organizers.