Join Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Kingdom Builders Network (KBN) on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2022 for a day of celebration and service as we remember those in prison whom are often forgotten and discarded from communities. This event will be in-person and livestreamed.
At the event, you'll learn about mass incarceration and restorative justice through a dialogue with Rev. Dr. Donna Jones, executive director of Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia and pastor of Cookman Beloved Community Baptist Church.
Celebrate MLK’s legacy of peace and nonviolence through song and poetry by Philadelphia artist Joy Ike.
Serve your neighbors by bringing complete MCC prisoner care kits to the event (or dropping kits off any time at MCC's Philadelphia Office) and assembling donated kit items that will bring hope and dignity to incarcerated people in Philadelphia. Volunteers (approx. 25-30 individuals) are needed to pack the prisoner care kits at the event.
Registration is required for all volunteers and guests. In-person attendees (max. 50 individuals) must be at least 16 years of age. N95 masks are required at all times and will be provided for those who do not have one. Please note that food and drinks will not be provided at the event.
The event will be livestreamed via Zoom. Registration is required to receive the Zoom link.
Event plans are constantly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check back frequently for more details as the event approaches!
Prisoner care kits
So far this year we've collected over 500 prisoner care kits!
If you are in the Philadelphia-area, consider assembling basic hygiene items into care kits for those currently in prison. In this way, you can help meet their needs and restore hope and dignity in a place that often seems hopeless. Learn more about packing men's and women's prisoner care kits and see drop-off locations in Philadelphia, Souderton, Lancaster and Chambersburg at mcc.org/prisoner-care-kits.
As you and your community pack prisoner care kits for MCC, we invite you to take photos or record a 1-minute (or less) video of your kit packing activities and send them to EastCoast@mcc.org. Your photos and videos will be used for MCC promotion and publication about prisoner care kits.
If you are outside of the Philadelphia area and would like to get involved, consider donating money so that we can purchase supplies for prisoner care kits. Monetary donations for kits can be made here. Please be sure to indicate "East Coast Prisoner Care Kits" in the comments section.
In addition to packing prisoner care kits with members of your household, here are some ways you can make a difference after the event.
- "You got Booked!" interactive learning tool
“You got Booked!” is an interactive learning tool developed by MCC. It provides youth and adult participants with an insight into the many flaws in the U.S. criminal justice system that led to mass incarceration. MCC staff are available to meet with groups and guide discussion. Contact EastCoast@mcc.org for more information.
- Engage with MCC U.S. Washington Office
At the MCC U.S. Washington Office, we are in touch with MCC staff around the world so that we can better advocate for U.S. government policies that make for a more peaceful and just world. Your voices are critical in this process, so join us today!
- "Healing Communities" training
This program trains congregations on how to welcome and support formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. Contact EastCoast@mcc.org for more information.
- "Mass Incarceration and the Christian Mandate" video
MCC works with partner organizations to reach out to inmates through Christian discipling and training and returned citizens through housing and employment opportunities. Join us as we restore their sense of dignity and remind them of God’s love and provision no matter who or where they are. Share this 16-minute video with your faith community.
- "Pipeline to Prison" learning tours
Join MCC for a Pipeline to Prison Learning Tour to learn about mass incarceration in the U.S. The tour will include visits to prisons and agencies working with incarcerated people and returning citizens in your local area. Watch for an in-person or virtual event to come to your area.
- "The Color of Compromise: An Honest Look at the Church" webinars
In 2021, MCC staff in the U.S. will journey together through 12 months of learning and engagement to foster a more equitable and inclusive environment for all of God’s people through Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism. The book and accompanying video series are broken up into 12 chapters that staff will be discussing monthly.
Throughout the year, four special guest speakers from particular ethnic groups will be invited to share in webinars. We invite you to join these quarterly webinars, and we encourage you to read The Color of Compromise individually, with your family, friends or church.
- Resources for anti-racism education
Looking to learn more about anti-racism work and dismantling systems of oppression? Check out our recommendations for engaging with these issues.
- Philadelphia-area partnerships
MCC works with partner organizations to reach out to inmates through discipling and training, and through housing and employment opportunities. Learn more about some of MCC’s partners in Philadelphia:
1Mass incarceration is a term that describes the substantial increase in the number of incarcerated people in the United States' prisons over the past forty years.
2The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. The increase in the jail and prison population from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 2.2 million today has led to unprecedented prison overcrowding and put tremendous strain on state budgets. The United States has 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of its prisoners.