United Women in Faith Announces $250,000 Grant to Support Daughters of Incarcerated Mothers
For Immediate Release
NEW YORK, May 20, 2022 – United Women in Faith today announced a $250,000 grant to Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM) as members gathered for the organization’s quadrennial Assembly in Orlando, Florida, May 19-22.
GEM supports women and girls impacted by the criminal justice system through empowerment-based programs that strengthen the relationship between young girls and incarcerated mothers. It also offers reentry-based training for mothers who are incarcerated. GEM’s goal is to break the cycle of incarceration and support girls and women in their efforts to lead healthy, healed, and whole lives.
Ending Mass Incarceration/Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline has been a priority issue for United Women in Faith since 2016.
Brittany Barnett, founder of GEM, commented on the gift: “We are so grateful for United Women in Faith’s generous donation to help us further our work serving women and girls impacted by maternal incarceration. As the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother, I know first-hand how mass incarceration devastates families and entire communities. This grant will empower GEM to continue to make transformational change in reducing the trauma women and girls experience by the criminal justice system. Therefore, enriching the lives those most marginalized, and ultimately, breaking the cycle of incarceration.”
“Incarceration can be devastating for both mother and daughter. GEM helps maintain the mother-daughter connection while supporting girls and women to fully live into their own best selves,” said Emily Jones, United Women in Faith executive for racial justice. “As an organization committed to putting faith, hope, and love into action and supporting women, youth and children, United Women in Faith is proud to fund the pivotal work of Girls Embracing Mothers.”
“Part of our work as Christian women is to intervene in situations that could derail women and girls from fulfilling their life’s calling,” said Khia Shaw, United Women in Faith director for membership and engagement. “We also take seriously the biblical mandate in Romans 12:5 to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn.’ That is why we are so pleased to be able to stand alongside GEM and support them as they see and support school-age girls of incarcerated mothers.”
The gift comes at a pivotal time. The Sentencing Project reported that between 1980 and 2020, the number of incarcerated women increased more than 475%, rising from 26,326 in 1980 to 152,854 in 2020. The Sentencing Project also reported that the imprisonment rate for African American women is more than 1.7 times the rate of imprisonment for White women. Hispanic women are imprisoned at 1.3 times the rate of White women. Additionally, one of every 15 women is serving life in prison, and women serving life without parole increased 43%, compared to a 29% increase among men, between 2008 and 2020.
“We know that girls of color face intersecting oppressions of gender, race, identity and class,” Shaw said. “Coupled with the impacts of having an incarcerated parent, girls of color are uniquely vulnerable. It is incumbent upon us and other women of faith to see girls of color and offer support to groups on the frontlines of supporting these young people.”
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