OAKLAND, CA [10/22/19]—Last night, Kim Kardashian West announced that her husband, Kanye West and their children will make a contribution on her behalf in the amount of $250,000 each to four criminal justice reform organizations – #cut50, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Equal Justice Initiative, and Buried Alive Project.
Since October 2018 Kim has worked with our team as a Legal Apprentice, studying the law under #cut50 Co-founder and Senior Counsel Jessica Jackson and Senior Counsel Erin Haney.
Statement from #cut50 National Director Michael Mendoza:
We are deeply appreciative of Kanye, Kim, and the entire West family for their thoughtful gift. #cut50 has worked with Kim over the past year on some of our most important campaigns. Our entire team is grateful for her continued commitment to fighting for freedom and dignity on behalf of the 2.2 million people incarcerated in America and the millions more who are impacted. We are thrilled to see our incredible partners at Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Equal Justice Initiative, and Buried Alive Project also receive these much-needed funds.
As a nonprofit effort, our work is only possible because of the investment and support of individual donors and foundations. We view these funds from the West family as an important first step toward reaching our goal of raising $2 million by the end of this year to continue our critical efforts transforming the criminal justice system through legislation, humanization, and empathy.
In 2018, #cut50 helped lead the charge to pass the First Step Act. So far this year, thousands of people have come home from federal prison and reunited with their families.
Through our Dignity For Incarcerated Women campaign, we have passed more than a dozen laws requiring over 30,000 women in state prisons across the country to be treated with dignity and not shackled during pregnancy and childbirth or denied access to hygiene items.
We have also passed policies that keep people out of prison, like California’s SB394 which was just recently signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. As that law goes into effect, California will provide alternatives to incarceration for eligible parents and primary caregivers, keeping families together.
The most important next steps we can take are to ensure that these laws are implemented quickly and effectively. Swift and appropriate implementation is critical to delivering on the promise of freedom and restoration to hundreds of thousands of people who are incarcerated or at risk of incarceration.
At #cut50, this means empowering individuals most harmed by our mass incarceration crisis to be at the forefront of the fight to change it. It means bringing lawmakers face-to-face with the people that their policies affect. And it means telling the many beautiful stories of redemption, restoration, and hope that make criminal justice reform one of the most powerful and urgent challenges we face as a nation.
Personally, as a formerly incarcerated leader at the helm of this incredible program, I am deeply honored by Kim and Kanye’s belief and investment in my leadership and our team at #cut50. I spent more than half my life behind bars and was told by society that I was beyond redemption. Today, I am filled with hope at the mass potential these funds will unleash from the leadership of others like myself who know the system from the inside and will fight alongside us to change it.