On March 1st, #StuckOnReplay's James Mackey joined organizations and individuals across the country for a single day of action to highlight the strength of the criminal justice reform movement. By providing testimony of his experiences with the criminal justice system, James played a role in uniting groups from Boston to Oakland in solidarity and generated compassion and understanding on a massive scale for the millions of Americans impacted by the criminal justice system.
While each state had its own event associated with the Day of Empathy, Massachusetts community members gathered at the State House to speak out and highlight the needs and share the perspectives of the communities most heavily impacted by the criminal justice system. James was joined by Jumaane Kendrick (Changing Tracks Initiative, ABCD), Cassandra Bensahih (E.P.O.C.A), and Louie Diaz (Lowell House, Beyond the Wall) each of whom have been directly impacted by the system, and who are now working to heal their communities.
In order to reform our criminal justice system, we must first humanize and empathize with those who are impacted by it. For the last thirty years, the burden of get-tough policies has fallen disproportionately on communities of color, low-income communities, and those struggling with addiction or mental illness. Through the lens of the experiences shared today, we hope to shine light on those most directly impacted by the criminal justice system so that their voices could be elevated to the highest level.