This year, Art for Justice grantee the New York Women’s Foundation (NYFW) aimed its first round of Justice Fund grants at addressing the effects of mass incarceration on women, girls and transgender and gender nonconforming communities in New York City. The grants’ primary focus for 2019 is the closure of Rikers Island, with community engagement, education and policy advocacy activities centering the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and their families.
An article published by Inside Philanthropy noted that women are the fastest-growing segment of incarcerated people in America, with the incarceration rate for Black women double the rate for white women. Most of these imprisoned women are mothers with unique needs.
“How our criminal justice system treats mothers profoundly impacts our next generation,” said Helena Huang, Art for Justice Fund project director. The Justice Fund centers families in its efforts, in accord with NYWF’s stance that “when women thrive, their families and communities also thrive.”
Among the Justice Fund grantees are JustLeadershipUSA, an organization running the #CLOSERikers and #buildCOMMUNITIES campaigns concentrated on affected local populations, and Women’s Community Justice Association, a collective of five women-serving organizations advocating the closure of Rikers Island in 2020, rather than the currently scheduled 2027.