ending mass incarceration conference
june 17-19, 2019 | atlanta, ga

Faith communities working toward ending mass incarceration

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About the multi-faith movement to end mass incarceration?

The “Multi-faith movement to End Mass Incarceration” began with the Reverend Raphael Warnock, the Rev. Dr. Katherine Henderson and Rabbi Peter Berg sharing a vision to see faith communities collectively organize to stop the human rights catastrophe of mass incarceration. With this vision as a guide, these faith leaders brought together the historic institutions they lead (Ebenezer Baptist Church, Auburn Theological Seminary and The Temple) to catalyze a national faith-based effort to end mass imprisonment.

As a first major step in organizing the effort, a strategy session was held the summer of 2018 at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. During this gathering, a select group of faith leaders, civic leaders and criminal justice reform advocates gathered to begin laying the foundation for the EMI movement. One of the major outcomes of this gathering was the formation of a strategy team that has been working diligently the past several months to organize effective moral witness against the laws, policies and policing practices that contribute to the continual existence of mass incarceration.

About the “Let My People Go” Conference

One of the primary outcomes of the initial 2018 strategy session was the decision to host a national convening focused upon the importance of leveraging the spiritual power, people power and resources of faith communities toward the effort to end mass incarceration. As a result, the “Let My People Go” Multi-faith EMI conference was birthed. The vision of the conference is for clergy, faith and community leaders, organizers, families and person impacted by incarceration to be equipped with practical tools to dismantle the systems and structures that undergird the industry of mass imprisonment.

Over the span of 3 days, attendees will learn from some of the leading thought leaders in the work of faith-based criminal justice reform. Dynamic plenaries, workshops, panels and films will be offered that arm faith communities with resources needed to effectively engage in the fight against the rise of the prison industrial complex. Specifically, the conference will highlight how congregations can use bail-outs and record expungement events as effective tools of faith-based criminal justice system activism.

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What is the strategy?

  • Convene, train, and equip faith leaders and their communities with practical tools to work locally, including learning about the “sealing” or “erasing” the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction, known as an expungement, the cash bail system as unjust and unfair, and promoting restorative justice practices.

  • Identify and organize around a strategic legislative agenda at local, state, and national levels.

  • Develop a strategy for reframing public understanding of mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex and its vast implications for public safety, quality of life, and other societal interests through a faith-rooted lens.

  • Organize a national, multi-faith network of partners focused on abolishing mass incarceration.

Who Should Attend

  • Pastors, Rabbis, Priests, Imams, and justice seeking faith leaders

  • Church and Community Leaders

  • Persons Impacted by Incarceration

  • Organizers

  • Advocates

  • Elected Officials

  • Educators


Day 1 - Monday June 17th

1:00 pm Registration Open, Self-Guided Tour of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park and Know Before You GO - Plan Your Visit

4:30 pm Welcome & Sponsor Reception Presented by ACLU

5:30 pm Opening Plenary I

Michelle Alexander, Author & Civil Rights Activist

6:45 pm BREAK, Visit Exhibits and Solitary Confinement Cell

7:00 pm Opening Worship

Raphael Warnock, Conference Host & Pastor Ebenezer Baptist Church

Day 2 – Tuesday June 18th

7:30 am Registration Open

8:30 am Breakfast & Keynote Address

9:00 am Our Why! A Theological Framing

9:15am Plenary II – “Let My People Go”

10:30 am Workshop Breakouts

12:00 pm Lunch & Keynote Address

1:15 pm Film viewing & Panel Discussion

2:45 pm Pipeline to Possibilities Panel


6:00 pm A Chat with the Elders

7:30 pm Free time and Dinner on your own

Day 3 - Wednesday June 19th - FREEDOM DAY

8:00 am Continental Breakfast, Visit Exhibits, Solitary Confinement Cell

9:00 am Framing Juneteenth in Relation to Mass Incarceration and Liberation

9:30 am Closing Plenary III

10:30 am Workshop Breakouts

12:00 pm Conference ACTION Stations: Build YOUR Plan

1:30 pm Closing Worship

3:00 pm FREEDOM DAY CELEBRATION - Juneteenth Cook-Out, Fellowship, Music, FUN


Michelle Alexander
Author & Civil Rights Activist
New York City, New York

Billy Honor
Organizer & Public Theologian
Atlanta, GA

Lydia Medwin
Jewish Rabbi
Atlanta, GA

Deidre Reed
Campaign Partner (TNTP)
Atlanta, GA

Raphael Warnock
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Atlanta, GA


Keisha Lance Bottoms
60th Mayor of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Amber Givens-Davis
282nd Judicial Court Judge
Dallas, TX

Shequitta Kelly
County Criminal Court No. 11
Dallas, TX

Edward Mitchell
Executive Director (CAIR GA)
Atlanta, GA

Patrick B. Reyes
Atlanta, GA

Tiffany Williams Roberts
Movement Building Counsel
Atlanta, GA

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Walter S. Gilliam
Professor of Child Psychiatry
New Haven, CT

Marissa Dodson
Public Policy Director (SCHR)
Atlanta, GA

Jennifer McBride
Professor of Theology
Chicago, IL

Stephanie Mitchell
291st Judicial Court Judge
Dallas, TX

Nse Ufot
Executive Director
Atlanta, GA

Robert Wright
The Episcopal Diocese of ATL
Atlanta, GA

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Stephanie Kolin
Rabbi of Central Synagogue
New York, New York

Willie Francois III
Mount Zion Baptist Church
Pleasantville, NJ

Madeline McClenney
Founder & President
Huntersville, NC

Johnny Perez
Dir. of U.S. Prisons Program
Washington D.C.

Dawud Walid
Executive Director (CAIR MI)
Detroit, MI


Adrienne Zackery
Pastor of Crossroads UMC Compton, CA

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Raymond C. Pierce
Southern Education Foundation
Atlanta, GA

The Conveners


Non-Profit Partners

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Corporate Sponsors

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Hilton Atlanta
255 Courtland St. NE

$139/night—until 6/3/19



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