Why Is North Star Our Name?
Our modern day prison system can be viewed as both the result and legacy of slavery. In 1845 Frederick Douglas published an anti-slavery newspaper called North Star. The newspaper engaged the anti-slavery movement politically. Douglas wrote,
“If justice is to be done, the truth must be told…I will not be silent.”
The newspaper condemned slavery and served as a connector for people. Its founder and eventual contributors were the directly impacted – the formerly enslaved. Similarly, the North Star Collective strives to contribute to the marketplace of ideas around the criminal legal and human punishment systems. We contribute our stories, our voices, our analysis, and policy recommendations from the vantage point of the directly impacted- because if justice is to be done, as Douglas asserted in 1845, we must not be silent.
This freedom we seek, like freedom dreamers before us, is one that we have to create and claim for ourselves. It begins by changing the narrative surrounding the issues that affect our lives. This is work we must do together. It can take various forms such as:
- Publishing opinion editorials (OpEds).
- Advocating for policies and practices that we know will actually help us to succeed in the free world.
- Serving in leadership positions when and where we can.
- Leadership development & training.
- Helping our brothers and sisters navigate and manage their freedom.
Helping families navigate the prison system (i.e. how to send mail, what to expect at visitation, and set up payment processing).