The National Institute for Restorative Justice
"Educating for Advocacy"
15226 Lakeshore Blvd
Cleveland, Ohio 44110
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the
strength, the patience,
and the
passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Harriett Ross Tubman
Join The
Drum Majors
For Justice!
Social Justice

Economic Justice

Legal Justice
Renewing Inalienable Rights, Rebuilding Communal Confidence, Re-energizing Sustainable Economy, Reviving Unbridled Spirit
On July 17, 2015, a free, white, 21 year old male walked into Emmanuel
African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and
murdered nine innocent, black parishioners in prayer.  We know his name, but
refuse to grant him any power by calling it.  

Not only do we know his name now, the police knew his name then, as he was
already on record with South Carolina law enforcement prior to his heinous
and hateful act of slaughter.  

Merely four months earlier, in February of 2015, police were called to the
Columbia Centre mall in response to complaints regarding his disturbance of
the peace.  He was later questioned by the police, during which time they
discovered his possession of drugs prescribed to treat opiate addiction.  The
procession was written off as a misdemeanor, and - unlike millions of young
black men charged with drug procession - he was not incarcerated.  His
sentence, rather, was to be banned from the public mall, a ban he violated on
April 26, and still not jailed.  

In between the original banning and the violation, on March 13, 2015 he was
investigated again by Columbia police for suspicious activity, at which time
they discovered a semi-automatic rifle grip and six unloaded magazines
capable of holding 40 rounds of ammunition.  He was not arrested, as
possession of the grip and magazines are not illegal in the state of South

On July 18, 2015, this free, white 21 year old known murderer was picked up
after having been sighted in Shelby, North Carolina driving his black Elantra
sporting a “Confederate States of America” front bumper plate.  

Unlike the unknown and unarmed black men and women who have been
dragged, choked, and gun down like mad dogs in the street, this known
assassin was arrested civilly without having to raise his hands in the air, or
lower his body to the ground.  In reviewing dash cam footage of the arrest, the
police just seem to “mosey on over” to a suspected mass murderer, engage in
conversation, allow him to exit the car casually “on his own steam,” handcuff
him, and graciously escort him away.  Instead of being bounced to death in
the back of police van like Freddie Gray, he was granted the luxury and ease
of air transport back to South Carolina for the privilege of exercising his “due
process,” Constitutional right to a fair trial.

Seven months later, “free, white and 21” is alive and regarded as innocent
until proven guilty. Twelve year old Tamir Rice and countless African-
American men, women and children – named and unnamed - had no
opportunity for arrest, or trial.  They are dead – killed on the spot of
encounter, acts justified as appropriate when approaching suspected
dangerous criminals, with or without prior run-ins with the law.  From Emmett
Till to Tamir Rice, I have called their names on these pages, and the list
keeps growing, and growing, and growing.  When will it ever end?

On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Steward signed into law
the Thirteenth Amendment to The Constitution of the United States of
America, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the US and its
territories, “except as punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been
duly convicted…” It was the first of three additions to the Constitution known
as the Reconstruction Amendments.

On December 19, 1865 the criminalization of free black men, women and
children began, first under the auspices of the “Black Codes,” – laws only
applied to Black people, limiting their mobility and civility in the Southern
states.  As “free” African Americans were deemed criminals through the
enforcement of the discriminatory codes, the incarceration began and the free
labor continued through new discriminatory codes such as Jim Crow, Reagan
Rockefeller Drug Laws, and Mandatory Sentencing.

Following suit, on July 9, 1868 the United States adopted the Fourteenth
Amendment granting equal protection and due process of the law, again
including a clause attached to crime which denies the right to vote.  150 years
later, the United States population of prisoners laboring at little or no income
to benefit corporate interest, is nearly equal to the United States enslaved
population at the time of President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Executive Order
of Emancipation.  The estimated number of citizens denied the right to vote as
a consequence of a felony conviction nearly triples the 1862 enslaved
population.  These black bodies are counted in the census for the purpose of
federal funding disbursements to states and counties, and numbers of
legislative seats earned by population.  Yet, they have no say in who fills
those seats, or how those funds are used.  Did someone say taxation without

With the increased privatization of “public education” and corrections facilities
trading on the stock market; the lack of living wage employment opportunities
for black men – especially those with “criminal records,” and the media’s
constant portrayal of black men as dangerous, violent animals who need to be
killed or contained, the likelihood of an American Constitution without a clause
for slavery and involuntary servitude through acts of crime, is grim.

In keeping with our mission of “Educating for Advocacy,” The NIRJ hosts The
Sesquicentennial Dialogue to engage critical and strategic thought around
America’s double standard of justice, and the criminalization of Black people
in general.  It does not begin and end with individuals convicted of unlawful
acts.  It spirals throughout every aspect of Black life in America, from the
condemned to the families and communities they leave behind.  

We began the Dialogue on
December 18, 2015, commemorating the 150th
anniversary of the 13th Amendment
’s signing into law, and continue with
quarterly weekend dialogue and action summits currently scheduled through
July.  Our discussions will be guided by regional scholar activists who are
academically and communally committed to our mission.  It is fitting that this
the Dialogue t
akes place in Ohio, from whence the 13th Amendment
was placed on the Congressional floor in 1863.
 Likewise, it is fitting that
the opening dialogue and screening will take place at
the East Cleveland
Public Library, mere steps away from the 2012 police massacre site of
Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.  

We look forward to your joining the Dialogue and Advocacy.

~ Mittie Imani Jordan
Free White & Twenty-One
December 2015
Still No
Still No
For Tamir Rice,
For Timothy Russell,
For Malissa Williams,
For John Crawford,
For Tanisha Anderson,
For Freddie Gray
For Walter Scott,
For Mike Brown,
For Kajieme Powell,
For Eric Garner,
For Ezelle Ford,
For Darrien Hunt,
For Akai Gurley,
For Ramarly Graham,
For Kendrick McDade,
For Rekia Boyd,
For Sean Bell,
For Amadou Diallo,
For James Chaney,
For Emmitt Till,  

and for all the countless
unarmed young black men,
women and children whose
names did not reach the

Click here for more
Site Map
Mittie's Musings: A Message From The Chair