Summit on the Intersection of Criminalization and Race


Interfaith Organizing Initiative
Summit on the Intersection of Criminalization and Race

Thursday May 8 (4:30 pm) through Friday May 9 (3 pm), 2014

ELCA Lutheran Center

8765. W. Higgins Road, Chicago IL

Dear colleagues,

Now is the time to register for the May 8-9 summit to explore developing a broad and coordinated faith-based organizing response to the criminalization of race in our nation and its devastating effects on our communities.

The meeting will take place at the ELCA Lutheran Center near O’Hare airport and the Cumberland blue line stop.  There is no charge for the meeting itself. We have arranged a group rate of $125 at an adjacent hotel, HOWEVER, you must register and pre-pay to reserve your room.

Please register today:

Please consider who within your institution should be in the conversation and bring them with you.  We especially ask that denominations and networks include a grassroots leader (pastor, lay leader and/or formerly incarcerated person or family) to keep our conversation “on the ground.”  If time is limited, one-day attendance is possible.  If travel costs are an obstacle, please let us know.

Why this summit on the intersection of criminalization and race? Why now?

We’ve listened, and heard that the intersection of criminalization and race is of deep concern, interest and involvement for the member institutions of the Interfaith Organizing Initiative (IOI).  Denominations are using Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow as a tool for study and action, and advocacy.  Organizing networks are tackling criminal justice policies at local and national levels.  Funders are looking seriously at criminal justice reform efforts.

We’ve learned that with much work going on, there is a hunger for information, connections, and shared strategies.  And at the forefront of this movement are formerly incarcerated people – whose voices we must hear.

Building on our ten-year track record of building relationships and convening important denominational, funder and organizing partners on pressing issues, we believe that the IOI has a role to play in building this emerging movement, and we are pleased to partner on this event with the Center for Community Change.

Goals for the summit:

1)      Explore the ways in which race and criminalization has been woven together.

2)      Discern our theological grounding for addressing this crisis as communities of faith: Our call to act.

3)      Examine the biases we bring to the issue of mass incarceration and how those biases may hinder our vision and creativity in organizing campaigns against mass incarceration

4)      Begin building a shared analysis of the complexity of mass incarceration and racialized criminalization

5)      Utilize the breakout sessions as action oriented participatory spaces for deepening analysis and stimulating movement

6)      Create a sense of community and a feeling of collective spirit moving.

7)      Moving forward with a curated online resource library.


This is the first time, (and will not be the last!), that such a broad group from the faith community and organizing world are being brought together to build on the tremendous momentum to address this crisis.

Will you join us for this important conversation?  

For more information on the summit, visit or  You may contact Kathy Partridge directly with any question (contact info below)

Yours in our shared work for peace with justice,

Charlene Sinclair (CCC) & Kathy Partridge (IF) on behalf of the IOI Leadership Team:

Rev. April Johnson (Disciples of Christ), Rev. Charles Mock (National Baptist Convention), and Susan Leslie (Unitarian Universalist Association)