Clemency tour comes to Rhode Island with march on women’s prison in CranstonThe organizers are calling on Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee to grant clemency to five women in particular: Trearra Hudgen, Katherine Bunnell, Crystal Berube, Danielle Lefebvre, and Ashley Weaver in a petition to be circulated throughout the weekend.
Published on July 12, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist
Nearly 50 people gathered at the Attorney General’s office on Howard Avenue in Cranston on Sunday to march to the women’s facility at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) as part of ClemencyWorks‘ #FreeHer, a national clemency awareness campaign. This weekend’s events are organized by women who are currently and formerly incarcerated in Rhode Island, a statewide coalition of community organizations, and the National Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls.
“We’re coming together this weekend to lift up the voices of women who have been and currently are impacted by mass criminalization and incarceration,” said Cherie Cruz from the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island. “And we are coming together to call for clemency – it’s time for our sisters behind the wall to come home.”
The peaceful protest made the short march to the women’s facility, where activists chanted and sag in support of the women incarcerated inside. The march was shadowed by security forces the entire time.
Here’s the full video:
Local groups such as COYOTE RI, the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island, SISTA Fire, SURJ RI, Healing Arrows, DARE Behind the Walls Committee, Black Lives Matter Rhode Island and the Rhode Island National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls organized and participated in the event as part of a six state Clemency Tour from Clemency Works.
The organizers are calling on Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee to grant clemency to five women in particular: Trearra Hudgen, Katherine Bunnell, Crystal Berube, Danielle Lefebvre, and Ashley Weaver in a petition to be circulated throughout the weekend.
“In Rhode Island,” say organizers, “the governor has the authority to grant pardons to anyone who applies directly, without requiring the approval of a board of parole, as in other states. As of today, Governor McKee has not granted a single pardon or commutation since he took office. No previous governor has granted anyone in Rhode Island clemency for the past 100 years.”
The event on Sunday was the culmination of a weekend of events which began with and online panel discussion on Friday and a family gathering on the State House lawn on Saturday.
The tour, which will also include rallies and actions in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, is part of ClemencyWorks, a national clemency awareness campaign. Organizations and directly-impacted organizers nation-wide are participating in ClemencyWorks to call for immediate use of clemency.
The the New England ClemencyWorks Tour is powered by The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Families for Justice as Healing, SURJ, Asian American Resource Workshop, New Beginnings Re-Entry Services, Community Love Fund, and Justice for Housing.
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