I hope this message finds you well. My name is Jennie and I am a rising senior at Hampshire College where I have created my own major focusing on incarceration, critical race theory, and conflict resolution. I am reaching out to you as a part of Decarcerate the Garden State or Decarcerate NJ, a group which aims to address the epidemic of mass incarceration as it has manifested here in New Jersey.
On September 9 (also known as 9/9), prison laborers throughout the country will begin a work stoppage to protest inhumane working and living conditions, just as the prisoners in Attica State Correctional Facility did on September 9, 1971 after their formal grievances and concerns were consistently ignored by the state. Decarcerate NJ is organizing events across NJ to take place on or about September 9 in order to raise awareness about the work stoppage, the inhumane conditions being protested, and to express solidarity with the prison workers who have been abused and exploited for their labor for decades.
One of our goals for September 9 is to get student supporters from as many NJ college campuses as possible to hand out leaflets in their dining areas at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The leaflets will be two-sided -- one side providing information about 9/9, Decarcerate NJ’s solidarity efforts, and Decarcerate NJ’s contact information, the other side containing information about the campus organization(s) participating in the leafleting and local efforts to work towards decarceration.
In order to meet our goal, we need at least one point person -- student, faculty, staff member, or student group -- from each campus where leafleting will occur. The point person or point people at each campus will be in charge of creating the local organizing side of the flier, printing, making any signs or t-shirts to wear while leafleting, and of course recruiting volunteers to help hand out fliers. If you or your student group are interested in handing out leaflets on 9/9, please contact me as soon as possible with your name, your student group (if applicable), and the campus you will be leafleting at. Additionally, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or requests for help.
Lastly, there is a possible solidarity event on September 10 in Plainfield. This event is in the planning stages but would be hosted by Plainfield youth and feature liberationist music and art to celebrate the unity in struggle for decarceration. There may be additional 9/9 events in other cities across the state organized by members of Decarcerate NJ. More information about the possible Plainfield event and any others which materialize will be released as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this letter and engage in the discussion around decarceration. We hope to see you out in your schools for 9/9!
Facebook: Jennie Chenkin
Phone: (908) 967-4095