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Community and Faith Leaders Circle the Statehouse to Demand Early Release of Prisoners Amid COVID-19


June 7, 2020


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123
Chazidy Bowman, chazidy@ohorganizing.org, (513) 883-0417
Teresa Rogers, teresaopjl@gmail.com, (330) 592-0876
Blyth Barnow, bbarnow@faithinpubliclife.org, (440) 220-2090

Community and Faith Leaders Circle the Statehouse to Demand Early Release of Prisoners Amid COVID-19

Columbus, Ohio — On Saturday June 6th, over 2,000 loved ones of those incarcerated joined with community and faith leaders to tear down the walls of division within our government and the prison system. Leaders circled around the Columbus statehouse to call on Governor Mike DeWine to protect life by releasing our loved ones and providing robust care and concern for those who remain inside and to defend Black lives. 

For pictures of the event, click here.

Chazidy Bowman, lead organizer, Ohio Prisoners Justice League:

“Unity is the best remedy and solution. Now is the time and to make this the last time. We have to fight for freedom, justice and equality.”

Janine Wilson, OPJL Core Team Lead:

“I’m here to stand in support of all those currently incarcerated, which includes my husband.  These individuals are unfairly treated by an oppressive system that does not seek to rehabilitate but only to keep them in a state to repeat and return. This event, this moment, this crowd displayed the type of energy, passion and action we need our legislator, our governor and the ODRC director to have. Change is imminent, we represent that changing vote. This crowd is a reflection of our future!”

Tamura Freeman, Army Veteran:

“I attended the rally to fight for the injustices being delivered to our loved ones. What we experienced with the outpour of support from those around the country has blown my mind.  I’m thankful to have been a part of something greater than myself. The rally in Columbus was supposed to call out the governor and his constituents on their inability to humanely create a space for our loved ones that is safer with the onset of COVID19.  My expectations were far outdone.  I walked away with a sense of unity and agreement that we must continue to fight.” 

Blyth Barnow, Harm Reduction Manager, Faith in Public Life: 

“I’m mourning today and I’m angry. We know that racist policing creates a racist prison system. Even before this moment incarcerated Ohioans, who are disproportionately Black, had been left to sicken and die in Ohio prisons. A recent report found that the death rate for incarcerated Ohioans is 10 times higher than Ohioans who aren’t incarcerated. Ohio Prisoners Justice League, community leaders, and clergy joined together today to demand that Gov DeWine significantly decrease the prison population in defense of Black lives. It is far past time.”


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