How We Move Forward Together: Essie Justice Group

By Gina Clayton-Johnson, January 22, 2024, for Convergence Magazine

Gina Clayton-Johnson, pictured above with students at Saints Rest, was the recipient of our 2017 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. She recently shared the following about a piece she’s written for Convergence Magazine.

A couple of months ago, I was asked by Convergence Magazine to contribute to a new series from groups across the Left. As some have opined, this year is expected to be the biggest global election year in history (more than half of humanity lives in the 76 countries that are scheduled to hold elections in 2024). 

In this incredibly tense and politically fraught moment, this is what I know: people trust people. To make powerful coalitions that roll-up to powerful movements capable of fighting back, we have to take seriously the healing, expertise, and leadership development of those most impacted and build strong person-to-person bonds. Our movements need community-based organizations to break isolation and build resilient communities for the long-haul. I believe this takes the slow, intentional work of base building. In my piece, I describe some of our base building activities at Essie Justice Group, and a few of the powerful moments they’ve made possible so far. I also describe a devastating moment in our organizing that lays bare the stakes of the widespread isolation facing women with loved ones inside prisons and jails. 

I’d love to share this piece with you and hear what resonates. You can read my full response, along with responses from Sulma Arias of People’s Action, Liz Perlman of AFSCME 3299 and Sandra Jeong Lane from Bargaining for the Common Good, and more to come, at Convergence Magazine

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Source and Author Noted Above