Kelly Kennedy from Kelly May Studio invited us to be part of a beautiful event and we are so proud of it! Besides participating in this event, which will be gathering 16 sustainable small businesses from New York, we will be contributing with our profits to the Equal Justice Initiative.
And why do we want to support EJI? Unfortunately, the abuse against black people is a problem still very present in today’s society and has now reached a tipping point. EJI has been in the ground, since 1989, working to challenge poverty and racial injustice, advocating for equal treatment in the criminal justice system, and creating hope for marginalized communities. By supporting the Equal Justice Initiative, we believe we are doing a small gesture that can have a real impact.
“Slavery in America did not end. It evolved.” – EJI
We invite you to read a bit more about EJI:
What is the Equal Justice Initiative?The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
It was founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and bestselling author of Just Mercy. It is a private, nonprofit organization, based in Montgomery, Alabama that provides legal representation to:
- People who have been illegally convicted
- Unfairly sentenced
- Or abused in state jails and prisons
The organization challenges the death penalty and excessive punishment, bur also provides re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment. We are committed to changing the narrative about race in America. It produces groundbreaking reports, an award-winning wall calendar, and short films that explore our nation’s history of racial injustice, and we recently launched an ambitious national effort to create new spaces, markers, and memorials that address the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, which shapes many issues today.
EJI provides research and recommendations to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of criminal justice reform. We publish reports, discussion guides, and other educational materials, and our staff conduct educational tours and presentations for thousands of students, teachers, faith leaders, professional associations, community groups, and international visitors every year.
The Initiative operates 3 main issues:
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Racial Justice
- Public Education
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
It is a fact that United States incarcerates its citizens more than any other country. Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts the poor and people of color and does not make us safer. EJI is working to end our misguided reliance on over-incarceration.
In the American criminal justice system, wealth shapes outcomes, instead of culpability. Many people charged with crimes lack the resources to investigate cases or obtain the help they need, leading to wrongful convictions and excessive sentences, even in capital cases. Racial disparities persist at every level from misdemeanor arrests to executions.
The “tough on crime” policies that led to mass incarceration are rooted in the belief that Black and brown people are inherently guilty and dangerous – and that belief still drives excessive sentencing policies today. More incarceration doesn’t reduce violent crime. Using prisons to deal with poverty and mental illness makes these problems worse. People leave overcrowded and violent jails and prisons more traumatized, mentally ill, and physically battered than they went in.
Today, nearly 10 million Americans, including millions of children, have an immediate family member in jail or prison.
- Death penalty: Provides legal representation.
- Children in Adult Prison: Supports clients who are released after being incarcerated as children.
- Wrongful Convictions: Exposes prosecutorial and police misconduct and challenges faulty forensic testimony.
- Excessive Punishment: Advocates for parole reform, challenges mandatory minimum sentences and habitual offender statutes, and addresses the collateral consequences of incarceration.
- Prison Conditions: Investigates, documents, and exposes abusive and dangerous prison conditions in Alabama and works to improve conditions through litigation and advocacy.
EJI believes we need a new era of truth and justice that starts with confronting our history of racial injustice.
American history begins with the creation of a myth to absolve white settlers of the genocide of Native Americans: the false belief that nonwhite people are less human than white people. This belief in racial hierarchy survived slavery’s abolition, fueled racial terror lynchings, demanded legally codified segregation, and spawned our mass incarceration crisis.
The dehumanizing myth of racial difference endures today because we don’t talk about it. EJI is working to change that, by exposing the myth and its toxic legacy in their reports and videos. Our Community Remembrance Project is empowering communities to change the physical landscape to honestly reflect our history. EJI inspires people to visit Montgomery, Alabama, to learn and reflect in their Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Slavery in America did not end. It evolved.
Beginning in the 17th century, millions of African people were kidnapped, enslaved, and shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas under horrific conditions. Nearly two million people died at sea during the agonizing journey. For the next two centuries, the enslavement of Black people in the United States created wealth, opportunity, and prosperity for millions of Americans. Today, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, very little has been done to address the legacy of slavery and its meaning in contemporary life.
- Racial Terror Lynching
Lynching emerged as a vicious tool of racial control in the South after the Civil War. Lynchings were violent and public events designed to terrorize all Black people in order to re-establish white supremacy and suppress Black civil rights. EJI has documented 4,084 racial terror lynchings in 12 Southern states between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950.
Lynching shaped the geographic, political, social, and economic conditions that African Americans experience today. Critically, racial terror lynching reinforced the belief that Black people are inherently guilty and dangerous. That belief underlies the racial inequality in our criminal justice system today. Mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive and disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society that were shaped by the terror era. The Community Remembrance Project is part of our campaign to recognize the victims of lynching by collecting soil from lynching sites, erecting historical markers, and creating a national memorial that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice.
The story of the American civil rights movement is incomplete. We appropriately honor the activists who bravely challenged segregation, but we don’t talk about the widespread and violent opposition to racial equality.
Over the last 50 years, the American political, social, and cultural institutions embraced elected officials, journalists, and white leaders who espoused racist ideas and supported white supremacy. White segregationists were not banished – they were elected and re-elected to prominent offices for decades after the civil rights movement.
Today more than ever, we need to acknowledge that most white Americans supported segregation – only a small minority of white Americans actively dissented from this widespread opposition to civil rights.
EJI’s online experience and their Legacy Museum use video footage from the segregation era to show how millions of white Americans arrested, beat, bombed, and terrorized civil rights demonstrators, including children.
- Presumption of Guilt
Racial disparities in our criminal justice system are a legacy of our history of racial injustice.
Black men are nearly six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men; Latino men are nearly three times as likely. Native Americans are incarcerated at more than twice the rate of white Americans.
These racial disparities are rooted in a narrative of racial difference – the belief that Black people were inferior – that was created to justify the enslavement of Black people. That belief survived the formal abolition of slavery and evolved to include the belief that Black people are dangerous criminals.
The presumption of guilt and dangerousness assigned to African Americans has made minority communities particularly vulnerable to the unfair administration of criminal justice. Numerous studies have demonstrated that white people have strong unconscious associations between Blackness and criminality.
Understanding how today’s criminal justice crisis is rooted in our country’s history of racial injustice requires truthfully facing that history and its legacy. EJI is challenging the presumption of guilt and dangerousness in our work inside and outside the courtroom to reform the criminal justice system.
The Initiative wants to end mass incarceration and achieve equality, justice, and fairness for all Americans by starting with learning and sharing the truth about our past.
For more than 30 years, EJI lawyers have been winning relief for clients by telling their stories. But America needs a deeper and broader narrative shift to move from mass incarceration into an era of truth and justice: we need to honestly confront the history.
To help people learn, share, talk, and teach about America’s history of racial injustice and its legacy, EJI built a powerful tool kit that includes groundbreaking reports and interactive websites, lesson plans, and powerful films like Just Mercy and the HBO documentary True Justice that underscore the urgency of reform. Also, in 2018, it opened the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. More than 600,000 people have come to Montgomery to learn, remember, and commit to truth telling about our history.
- Community Remembrance Project: EJI partners with communities to recognize the victims of racial terror lynching through community soil collections, historical marker dedications, and community research and education programs led by local coalitions.
- Just Mercy: Bestselling book – a powerful true story about EJI, the people we represent, and the importance of confronting injustice.
- True Justice: An HBO documentary film.
- A History of Racial Injustice Calendar: To highlight overlooked and marginalized people and events in American history.
- EJI Reports.
We know, there is still a long way to go. But there is a crucial need to create more awareness about this problem. Starting by acknowledging that these issues are present in our daily lives, acting on them and supporting initiatives such as EJI.
At Wonther we are aware of these problems and we want to help. And as a brand, we also believe that we have the obligation to come forward and align our values with our actions.
We are not only an environmentally sustainable brand. We have an ethical social commitment, deeply rooted in our values and it starts with the materials that we use, which respect human rights, in issues most of the time hidden from the world, such as child labor and slavery.
On the event of November 7th, we will be offering 10% of every sale to EJI.