Across the country, the criminal justice system is both a cause and consequence of racial and social inequity, poverty, and violence. That is why by focusing our work on ending mass incarceration, we are supporting some the most vulnerable families and communities in our country, as featured in our ANNUAL REPORT.
2019 was a big year for Root & Rebound, as we scaled our programs and services to the state of South Carolina!
As advocates who have always understood that mass incarceration is a national issue, and who are passionate about bringing our programs to less resourced states with strong advocates working on these issues, South Carolina was the perfect fit for our first sister site. Launching our programs there has been an incredible opportunity to build a strong team, forge new partnerships, and extend the reach of our services to the Deep South.
While the U.S. incarcerates people at a rate five times higher than any other nation in the developed world, the incarceration rate in South Carolina exceeds even this. The effects are overwhelmingly wrought on Black South Carolinians, who are four times as likely to be incarcerated as their white peers. That is why our work is so necessary.
At the same time, South Carolina, has a small but mighty group of advocates working on criminal justice and civil rights issues on the ground, including our very own Kate Weaver Patterson, South Carolina Site Director and Managing Attorney, and Jerry Blassingame, our key partner in The South Carolina Second Chance Justice Collaborative. The Collaborative was born out of a year and half of conversation between Katherine Katcher, R&R's Executive Director, and Jerry and has since grown into a strong partnership between Root & Rebound and Soteria Community Development Corporation, Jerry's powerful organization that provides housing, employment support, and systems-change advocacy.
Together, we are working to open pathways to opportunity for system-impacted South Carolinians—with a focus on advancing economic mobility for the most vulnerable families in the state, reducing the number of people in its prisons and jails, and ending the criminalization of youth. Our partnership was recently featured on Greenville's local news!
Read more about Root & Rebound's partnership with Soteria in South Carolina on page 21 of our Annual Report.
In South Carolina and Across the country, we take a needs-based, responsive, and holistic approach to working alongside people and families we serve—a Community Lawyering model which we highlighted this year in a documentary video. You can learn more by checking it out here!
Help Root & Rebound continue to fight for justice and transform lives in 2020! We need you, our donor community, as we expand and scale our work. In 2019, our individual donors were 10% of our overall budget—a critical part of supporting our work this year.
As we look to 2020, we have the ambitious goal to raise $250,000 from individual donors, this holiday season from donors big and small. We hope you are inspired to keep supporting us in that effort!