ReConnect Leadership Summit

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On July 23rd, the ReConnect Alumnae group held their first Leadership Summit to help ReConnect graduates stay connected to each other, to the Women in Prison Project and to advocacy work. The summit was coordinated by ReConnect alumnae, ReConnect Program Coordinator Andrea Williams and Community Outreach Coordinator and ReConnect alumna Stacey Thompson. It provided an opportunity for graduates to discuss effective ways of balancing the responsibilities of work, family, school and community as they engage in grassroots activism and build their skills as leaders in the criminal justice reform movement.

The group was joined by representatives from the Women’s Advocacy Project, an advocacy training program run by the Women’s Prison Association (WPA), and Patricia Zimmerman, Policy Associate with Family Justice and member of Women on the Rise Telling Her Story (WORTH), an association of formerly incarcerated women.

A highlight of the day was a performance and workshop conducted by Blackout Arts Collective, a group of activist artists who work to empower communities of color through the arts. In the workshop, entitled “Movement Building In and Out of Prison,” participants learned how to use creative expression as a tool for personal and community activism.

During the coming year, ReConnect Alumnae will play a key role in organizing the Coalition for Women Prisoners’ 2006 Advocacy Day by conducting educational trainings and leading teams of advocates to meet with state legislators.

Special thanks to the Blackout Arts Collective, WPA’s Women’s Advocacy Project, Patricia Zimmerman, Dorothy Withers, who cooked all the delicious food, the ReConnect Alumnae Group and the Correctional Association staff for their help in making the Leadership Summit a success.