BRIDGE: Prison Justice

BRIDGE from Voices for Racial Justice on Vimeo.

The BRIDGE is a grassroots partnership of currently incarcerated individuals, their families, and Voices for Racial Justice. The group started when Kevin Reese reached out to Voices for Racial Justice executive director Vina Kay after hearing her on the KMOJ radio program Urban Agenda. The two formed a partnership that now includes multiple community organizations working with incarcerated individuals and their families to share the stories of incarceration, to develop solutions addressing mass incarceration and re-entry, and to build a stronger bridge from prison to the community.

To contact the BRIDGE partnership please email Vina Kay at kay@voicesforracialjustice.org

The work of the BRIDGE has included:

  • Two all-day workshops that welcomed community partners and government leaders to Lino Lakes Correctional Facility to hear directly from incarcerated men.
  • Letter writing campaigns in partnership with organizations leading for voting rights restoration, capping prison phone rates, and employment opportunities.
  • Regular contributions to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder’s Bridging the Gap column.
  • Convening of families of incarcerated individuals, with the goal of developing organizing, research, and policy strategies together.

Kevin Reese for webKevin Reese, Prison Justice Organizer

Kevin is a Prison Justice Organizer with Voices for Racial Justice and the founder and community relations coordinator for the BRIDGE partnership. Kevin has been incarcerated since the age of 18 and has served over a decade in the Minnesota corrections system. Kevin’s letter from his prison cell to Voices for Racial Justice executive director Vina Kay established the partnership of community and prisoners called the BRIDGE partnership.

In 2014, Kevin co-organized with Vina Kay and core members of the BRIDGE, the first annual community/prisoner bridging the gap workshop at Lino Lakes Correctional Facility. In 2015 Kevin and the BRIDGE members contributed to multiple national and local campaigns including:

FEDERAL BAN THE BOX: BRIDGE members letters reached white house staff.

PRISON PHONE JUSTICE: Kevin’s phone interview with MEDIA ACTION GRASSROOTS NETWORK was shared with Congress and the FCC.

RESTORE THE VOTE: BRIDGE members letters were hand delivered by Kevin’s son Kevin Reese III to Governor Mark Dayton.

Kevin continues to work on prison justice by organizing the voices from behind the walls. He organizes community prisoner relations workshops, facilitates prisoner think tanks, and mentors youth prisoners. Kevin’s aim is to partner with community organizers and organizations to build a prison community that is an extension of the community at large.