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NIA Launches 2017 Informed Empathy Campaign

Everything was abuzz as the corps of activists marched across the street into the state capitol on the morning of February 2nd.  It was a usual day of intensity for legislators and the throws of lobbyists.  But some other energy, spiced with orange banners and ribbons and a collective resolve filled the corridors, stairways and rotunda.  
This was Lobby Day hosted by our partners at the Georgia Justice Project.  All signs are sure to mark this annual event as a growing success, targeting specific pieces of legislation.  Along with a line-up of other champions of the movement, NIA was a co-sponsor for the second year. 
The NIA’s involvement in this year’s Lobby Day ran in concert with our featuring of a unique messaging display of We Are All Criminals banners. This nationally traveled project presents the stories of Americans, doctors, lawyers, bankers, executives, and others, who acknowledge things they’ve done in their past that could have landed them in jail or prison and changed the course of their entire lives.  They were fortunate not to have been arrested. They are also keenly sensitive and fully empathetic toward the millions of Americans not so fortunate.
Speakers including Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves, fired up the crowd gathered around the circle of banners and displays.  Other advocates related their stories and passions while entreating passer-byers to digest the full impact of the message, see themselves in the stories and pass the compassion forward. 

This is the driving message of the NIA’s Informed Empathy Campaign. 
It is no longer debatable that more than one third of all American families are directly impacted by the collateral consequence of mass incarceration, and the other two thirds are indirectly impacted in the least, as taxpayers and neighbors. Yet too many Americans and Georgians are still unaware of the extent to which they are impacted.  Too many Georgians still feel that this $100 billion predicament is someone else’s problem at some level of insignificant cost.
Fortunately, that crippling mindset is changing across the nation and here in Georgia.  But it is changing far too slowly in isolated ways.  Advocates joining this informed empathy movement are dialing up their tone and volume to educate and persuade more compassionate, sensible and reasonable active engagement to close the current “empathy gap.”  

This is the NIA’s call to action to you.
Progress can only expand if you challenge yourself to connect your strategies and ideas to those of other devoted advocates and grow this informed empathy campaign into your own communities, city halls, churches and campuses.  Check out our website as well as and send a quick message that you want to know more.

March 2 ~     Premier A&E 60 Days In - Atlanta Fulton County Jail 
March 18 ~ Prison Fellowship 4th Annual Justice that Restores Volunteer Conference 
(Registration required)


The National Day of Empathy was a huge success! Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves and State Senator Steve Henson read a proclamation naming March 1, 2017 as NATIONAL DAY OF EMPATHY!

Our partner, Julie Mai, from Dream Corps joined us for the entire day as we went through Atlanta as Ambassadors of Empathy.
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