ITHACA, N.Y. – The Alliance of Families for Justice will host an open house on Thursday afternoon to launch a Central New York Office coordinated by longtime Ithaca resident and community advocate, Phoebe Brown. The CNY Regional Office is located at 514 West State St. The Open house has two sessions from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
AFJ was founded in New York City in 2016 to support families of incarcerated people and people with criminal records, empower them as advocates and mobilize them to marshal their voting power and achieve systemic change. AFJ has offices in NYC and Albany, NY and provides services in four key areas, re-entry support services, legal referrals, advocacy and communications skills training, and voter registration.
According to Phoebe Brown, AFJ Regional Coordinator for CNY, AFJ will “support community members who are currently incarcerated, are coming home, or have a record, alongside their families. Our work helps loved ones connect, heal together, and receive the support services they need through incarceration, re-entry and community life.”
Family members are a unique and important group whose concerns about human rights violations, re-entry services, and policy changes are often overlooked in public discussion about mass incarceration.
“What’s unique about AFJ is that we take a holistic approach that centers families,” Brown said. “People who are in jail or prison come home to the same conditions that were in place when they left. Supporting families is a proven way to reduce recidivism. When we take care of each other as family, we build the foundation of strong, healthy communities.”
The CNY Regional Office is housed in the Multicultural Resource Center’s Downtown Office. MRC Director, Fabina Colon says “AFJ really takes a family-centered look at a continuum of care and looks at issues through a racial justice lens, which is very important to us at MRC. With the CNY office, we have an opportunity to connect local issues across New York State and maximize our collective capacity and resources.”
“Opening the Central New York Office is an avenue to build on the foundation of great work that groups like Mentors for Change have begun in Ithaca, and to expand our capacity across communities,” Brown said.
If you are the family member of someone who is incarcerated, who is coming home, or who has a record, you can contact Phoebe Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more abut AFJ resources and services.
Featured image: Brown speaks to a crowd in Dewitt Park in 2017 during a rally for Charlottesville, VA.