Reform Cash Bail: A Chaplain’s Reflection

Rev. Saeed Richardson D.C., Racial Inequality

For nearly two years, from early 2014 to late 2015, I served as a staff chaplain and graduate fellow at the Cook County Jail, the largest single-entity detention facility in the country. At the time the 96-acre facility detained a daily average of 10,000 men and women, and by way of additional day reporting and electronic monitoring services, maintained oversight over an additional 1,500.

Symposium Calls for Harm Reduction and Treatment

Rev. Saeed Richardson Decriminalization, Diversion, Events, Harm Reduction, Racial Inequality

Two influential faith leaders from the south and west sides joined forces last Wednesday to build a base of support in Chicago for harm reduction rather than arrests and jail as the response to drug abuse and addiction.   Chief Apostle William McCoy and Bishop Claude Porter, with Congressman Danny Davis, hosted a symposium on “Challenges and Options” for a new drug policy featuring the voices of diverse individuals from law enforcement, government, healthcare, and policy advocacy.  Over 50 community residents were present.

The Drug War from an Islamic Perspective

Rev. Katherine B. Ray Mandatory Minimums, Muslim Perspectives, Racial Inequality

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is president of Sound Vision, an Islamic not-for-profit organization. “It will lead to the escalation of the social and armed conflict, fail to solve the drug trafficking problem, endanger the peace process, attack indigenous populations’ culture and lifestyles, seriously hamper the Amazon eco-system, worsen the humanitarian and human rights crisis, promote forced displacement, and further worsen the social and political crisis,” wrote a coalition of 73 Colombian non-governmental organizations to the United States 15 years ago. With such dire warnings and dangerous rhetoric, what “it” could they be referring to? None other than the so-called American “War on Drugs.”  These far-reaching social implications mirror those of the War on Terror, another example of military rhetoric that some United States officials use to describe social policy agendas.

Killing Souls…Little by Little

Rev. Katherine B. Ray Collateral Consequences, Racial Inequality

Rev. Saeed Richardson has pastored for over 10 years in AMEC and Non-Denominational Churches in NC & VA. He came to Chicago in 2010 and currently serves as Ministerial Associate at the Faith Community of St. Sabina. “People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one’s soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you.”  While these words may come from an unexpected source, the actor Samuel L. Jackson, how true do they ring in today’s regard; how true it is that Black souls dismantled day by day, before our very eyes.

Dr. King and the War on Drugs

Rev. Katherine B. Ray Collateral Consequences, Decriminalization, Racial Inequality

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp The War on Drugs has created a system of mass incarceration that divides our country by race and income every bit as much as did slavery and the Jim Crow laws that Dr. Martin Luther King gave his life to eradicate. In church this past Sunday, I found myself wondering not whether Dr. King would have condemned the War on Drugs, but what language he might have used. What might he have taught us about how to respond?