The media has been focusing on Kim Kardashian’s criminal justice reform efforts but have ignored the work of the Black women on the front lines.
On Tuesday, several outlets reported Kardashian was responsible for the freedom of 17 inmates who were facing life in prison without parole. In reality, she donated money to a pre-existing movement dedicated to freeing people who received extreme prison sentences. TMZ reports the formerly imprisoned were freed thanks to the 90 Days of Freedom campaign, which was launched by attorneys Brittany K. Barnett, co-founder of the Buried Alive Project, and MiAngel Cody, who works for The Decarceration Collective.
Barrett set the record straight in a Facebook post.
Apparently, the project struggled to secure funding until Kardashian became involved.
“Both of us left six figure salary jobs and wiped out our own savings accounts to fund our work,” Barnett wrote.
“We attempted to get grants from these large foundations shelling out MILLIONS of dollars to other organizations but would not look our way because they so-called don’t fund ‘direct services.’ Our hands were full picking locks to human cages, we didn’t have time to participate in glorified begging from the nonprofit industrial complex only to be turned down.”
Kardashian’s funding helped the pair continue their important work.
“Regardless of who helped fund us for the past three months, in 90 days TWO black women lawyers freed SEVENTEEN people from LIFE W/O PAROLE sentences – the second most severe penalty permitted by law in America,” Barnett continued.
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My soul sister. Together we pick locks to human cages. We have gracefully handed several life sentences back to the federal government…literally hundreds and hundreds of years. She hears my silent struggles and pours into my spirit in more ways than she will ever know. We are coming out of the shadows this year sis! No more shying away from our magic in all of its melanin glory. I will always have your back MiAngel Cody!!✊???? Breaking chains all 2019. ???? @thedecarcerationcollective @buriedaliveproject
“Only two of us. Prosecutors opposed nearly every single case we had. We litigated our asses off in federal courts across the country.”
Barnett believes the attention is going in the wrong direction.
“Instead of negativity why don’t y’all reach out and see if the 17 people we helped free need anything,” Barnett continued. “Welcome them home. Give them jobs. Send a care package. Amplify their voices without the sharecropping.”
She believes the media is to blame for spinning the narrative, not Kardashian.
“Kim has always been very clear in her role,” Barnett concluded. “It’s the media that spins it around – not Kim. We do not care how the media is portraying it – that’s what the media does. Who cares. We need Kim’s support and the support of anyone else who wants to join this fight. We love that she is using her platform to raise awareness. We ain’t trying to be famous, we trying to get our people free. Period.”
Cody also has love for the
Keeping Up With The Kardashians star.
“People get out of prison when powerful women link arms,” she told Buzzfeed News. “Brittany and I linked arms years ago, and Kim has come and linked arms, too. It’s about using what resources you have to shine a light on the underbelly of American injustice.”
Cody and Barnett are currently working on the the Third Strike Project, an initiative dedicated to working on the behalf of people who were sentenced to life in prison under three strikes laws.
“We have hundreds of people that we need to bring to the forefront and help free that are serving life sentences under a law that has changed, but just did not reach back to help them,” Cody explained.
Kardashian has not addressed the media hoopla. Instead, People reports she was recently spotted in Charlotte, North Carolina, helping a former inmate get acclimated to life on the outside.
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