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Local Activist Working to End Mass Incarceration of Blacks

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Breaking the silence of the mass incarceration of black males is what some Rochester activists is trying to do.

Ream Kidane says he and a network of other community members are planning to build a partnership with attorneys and local organizations to help rebuild city neighborhoods. Kidane says the first step is to rally those who've been in jail to talk about their experiences.

"When they've been to prison, I think, it has a really dehumanizing effect on individuals and you want to provide an environment where we can actually being to talk about these issues in a very substantive way."
Kidane says another part of the initiative's goal is challenging institutions that financially profit from locking people away in jail.

"And ... reinvesting all that money we spend on correctional services: prisons, jails and those things and reinvesting that money into education and reinvesting that money into services that people desperately need in Rochester."
Kidane says racial profiling is one issues that they plan to tackle.  He says the hope is for former inmates to become community advocates, and prevent other young men from getting arrested, going to jail or serving prison time.

Kidane says the initiative spawned from a book club, which was inspired by the murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

The group is planning an organizing meeting some time in January.