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History of the Black Prisoners' Caucus

African American Men incarcerated at the Washington State Reformatory at Monroe founded the Black Prisoners Caucus (BPC) in 1972. The men organized Black Culture Workshops between 1969 and 1972. 

These workshops laid the foundation for the development of the BPC. The organization fosters respect, responsibility, self worth and unity. The BPC stands as a testimony to the potential of the African American community to create a healthier future for ourselves. In spite of the challenges, the men of the BPC have kept the organization moving forward since 1972.


In 2012, the BPC was established at Clallam Bay Correctional Complex, and in 2015 the BPC was established at Stafford Creek Corrections Center.

 

Purpose

Our purpose is to provide a medium for African American prisoners to work collectively to improve our family relationships, our facility, and the communities that we are absent from but still belong to.
 
Mission
 
To promote cultural growth and provide incarcerated men the tools and platform to confront social issues that perpetuate discrimination, inequity and oppression among prisoners and poor communities of color.

What We Do

  • We initiate educational activities
  • We create opportunities to learn about and celebrate the history and culture of African American people
  • We interface with other groups to support mutual learning, cooperation and appreciation of all cultures
  • We work to provide a circle of support that includes spirituality, education , emotional support, healing and lifelong goal setting
  • We work to address individual accountability as well as systemic issues that have led to the incarceration of a disproportionate number of African Americans in this state and in this country
  • We work to ensure that men returning to the community are sufficiently equipped to support themselves, their families and their communities
 

What We Are Concerned About

  • What is happening to the children and families of our communities in our absence
  • Strengthening our relationships with our children, our families and our communities
  • Working toward restoration so that those who return to the community and those who remain in prison are healthier and have mindsets of accountability and hope

  • Reversing policies, practices and legislation that have disproportionately multiplied the numbers of African Americans in the criminal justice system
  • The inequities that occur in our society that breed an inhumane environment
  • The mis-education and under-education of people in our society
  • The creation of effective spiritual, economic, educational, health and mental health efforts and opportunities that will make our communities healthier and keep people out of prison 

 

Community Network

The Black Prisoners Caucus' has a long history of positive relationships with community and faith based organizations, businesses and individuals. The BPC community network extends across many counties in Washington State as well as nationally and internationally. We have co-sponsored a number of community and prison based activities over the years with our community partners.

Working partners with the BPC include the following organizations:   

  • Africatown
  • African American Child Care Task Force
  • African American Kenyan Women Interconnect
  • African Youth United
  • Akuban Brotherhood
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Black Love
  • BlackOut WA
  • Career Bridge Community Network
  • Columbia Legal Services Institutions Project
  • Concerned Lifers Organization
  • Evergreen University Tacoma
  • European Dissent
  • FIGHT
  • Freedom Church of Seattle
  • Holgate Street Church of Christ
  • Intra Afrikan Connections
  • Life Enrichment Bookstore
  • Loren Miller Bar Association
  • Marguerite Casey Foundation - Equal Voices
  • Mercer Island Presbyterian Church
  • Village of Hope Seattle
  • Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR)
  • EPIC (Ending the Prison Industrial Complex)
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