PRESS ROOM: (In)Justice for All Film Festival International Scheduled August 12-21

Save the Date

By BlackPressUSA

Free Virtual Event to Feature Films, Poets, and Panel Discussions

Save the Date
7th Justice Save The Date

CHICAGO – Trinity United Church of Christ, Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, and The Next Movement announce the 7th (In)Justice for All Film Festival (IFAFF), scheduled August 12-21. Because of the pandemic, this much-anticipated fest remains FREE of charge and will be virtual. This year, the IFAFF has partnered with Eventive, a well-established and respected virtual film distribution platform.

The IFAFF brings audiences films that explore America’s criminal justice system – police, courts, and corrections – and the industries that profit from this cauldron of human misery. Stories told include those of millions of people who are relegated to second-class citizenship under an unforgiving system. Stories also highlight how other countries are successfully addressing this issue, as well as showcasing best practices right here in America.

The virtual 7th IFAFF International will screen feature-length documentaries, feature films, and topical shorts, all with themes centered on the epidemic of mass incarceration, the criminal (in)justice system, racism and white supremacy, gun violence, police brutality, unfair housing, immigration, social unrest, and other human rights violations.

The film festival brings additional context to the films and their messages through a variety of panel conversations as well as the inclusion of spoken word segments. It also includes a film competition for new movies and “Justice Awards” for exceptional films that best demonstrate the challenges and tragedies of our broken justice systems. While the focus is on new films that are submitted into the competition, a variety of older films highlighting the historical perspectives of today’s challenges also are screened.

The Next Movement (TNM) was born as a response to a 2010 visit and lecture by Professor Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, held at Trinity United Church of Christ. TNM, organized as a committee of the Trinity United Church of Christ Prison Ministry, is comprised of people of all races, ages, and religions who view mass incarceration as the key human rights issue of our time, and who are committed to building the mass movement necessary to alleviate it. Through education, awareness and organizing individuals and organizations, TNM is dedicated to mobilizing the “people power” necessary to make the systemic changes required.

Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

The 7th IFAFF International will run over a 10-day period from August 12-21. Free tickets are available by visiting  www.injusticeforallff.com or https://watch.eventive.org/injusticeforallff. In addition to screening films, this year’s festival will include grand opening events; spoken word interludes featuring exciting Chicago poets; special guest speakers; panelists/panel discussions providing context to the many films to be featured over the 10 days (dealing with organizing, restorative justice, domestic violence, immigration, bail reform, racism, eviction, and, of course, mass incarceration); and closing ceremony/awards events.

The magic of the festival derives from a committed, extensive group of partners who contribute their enthusiasm, relationships, and more to spread the news of the IFAFF International throughout Chicago and the nation. The fest will be featured entirely on a digital platform this year, available across the nation and throughout the world. Independent film houses, universities, justice organizations, faith communities, and select media outlets comprise the bulk of IFAFF partners. Major 2021 IFAFF sponsors include Trinity United Church of Christ – Unashamed Media Group, Coalition to End Money Bond, and Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church.

America imprisons more citizens than any other nation in the world. Currently, there are over 2.2 million prisoners, a rate of more than 698 per 100,000 citizens. This number does not include the accelerated detentions over the last several years associated with immigration, which in 2011, averaged more than 30,000 daily. As of March 2019, that figure rose to nearly 50,000. Currently, over 600,000 people reside in jails throughout America. The majority are awaiting trial, and, according to our system of justice, are presumed innocent.

IFAFF website address – www.injusticeforallff.com

Eventive IFAFF website address – https://watch.eventive.org/injusticeforallff

Twitter & IG – @IFAFF

FB – @IFAFFInternational

Hashtag – #IFAFF2021

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: A No-Win Situation

A No-Win Situation

Many of us have someone that we know impacted by incarceration. According to the NAACP Criminal Justice Toolkit, “There are 3 million people in jail and prison today, far outpacing population growth and crime.” The number of individuals incarcerated in the US increased from 1980 to 2015 approximately from 500,000 to 2.2 million.

As we celebrate Father’s Day, it is important to note the disproportionate number of Black men that are no longer in our communities.

Data paints a picture of the significant impact of incarceration in our community:

  • African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.
  • Black Americans remain far more likely than their Hispanic and white counterparts to be in prison. The Black imprisonment rate at the end of 2018 was nearly twice the rate among Hispanics and more than five times the rate among whites.
  • Black men are especially likely to be imprisoned. There were 2,272 inmates per 100,000 black men in 2018, compared with 1,018 inmates per 100,000 Hispanic men and 392 inmates per 100,000 white men. The rate was even higher among black men in certain age groups: Among those ages 35 to 39, for example, about one-in-20 Black men were in state or federal prison in 2018.

This issue is very personal for me.  One of my dear childhood friends is currently serving time in a trustee camp in Texas.  Prior to sentencing, he was a dad involved in his daughter’s life.  Between splitting responsibilities with her mother, he was the dad that surprised her and friends at lunch;  combed her hair seeking friends’ advice on what to do; and took trips to sporting events and book signings to expose her to new experiences. 

Omar has always tried to be there for his daughter. As much as we are impacted by this loss of someone who is funny, smart, and caring; the real loss is for his pre-teen daughter. He’s very aware of the decision he made.  He knows and owns his missteps, and choices.  Like many other Black men who are incarcerated and lose their freedom, their children experience a major loss as well.

The impact of incarceration can be devastating for children. “One in nine Black children has had a parent in prison.” “Having a parent in prison can have an impact on a child’s mental health, social behavior, and educational prospects. Children of incarcerated parents may also be more likely to have faced other adverse childhood experiences.”

The loved ones are also hit hard by exorbitant costs.  The cost of commissary items along with correspondence through fee-paying platforms like JPay to send correspondence or make phone calls.

According to the New York Times, The Prison Policy Initiative “estimates that families spend $2.9 billion a year on commissary accounts and phone calls. Families are also often responsible for paying court fees, restitution and fines.

 According to a 2015 report by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the average family paid roughly $13,000 in fines and fees.”

Economic hardship isn’t the only cost partners experience.  Depression and health issues are also common for loved ones. In addition, our community misses out on realized potential—we lose workers which equates to individuals that can contribute to paying taxes.  We lose men who could be a part of the community and we suffer.  “More than one out of every six Black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life. Incarceration and early deaths are the main drivers behind their absence.”

It has been amazing to witness that despite his situation, Omar has continued to forge a relationship with his daughter.  He calls her daily, goes over her homework and even teaches her about the Bible. Yet, how many can to continue relationships with calls that can be almost $2 per 30-minute call? Although this doesn’t seem expensive, over the course of time, it adds up.

Fathers are important.  My father, grandfather, uncle, and others have been instrumental in my growth and development. I can’t imagine my life without them.

Research affirms this: “A father’s increased involvement with the child is associated with a range of positive outcomes for the child: fewer behavioral issues, fewer psychological issues and enhanced cognitive development.”

Even with no visits allowed in the last 15 months, there are dads trying to stay connected as much as possiblewhile behind bars. 

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