Language is the building block of thoughts. You don’t truly understand a concept, an emotion or an idea until you put a word to it. Then that word takes on meaning. Experiences get attached to it. Biases get attached to it. The word can become so burdened with everything it represents that the word then takes on a whole new meaning.
That’s why we are working to change the language around justice-involved persons. They are not a crime. For example, calling someone an “ex-offender” is still calling them an offender…a screw-up…a person who is only capable of offending. That’s a lot different from a “reformed person.” Because offenders are “bad” in the general public’s opinion, but reformed people are “inspiring”.
The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to the negative impact of using dehumanizing language, educate the community on alternative words they can use, and inspire businesses, politicians, media outlets and everyday people to take the pledge to commit to discontinue the use of dehumanizing language.
By signing our petition you are committing to remember there are people on the other end of those labels, and you instead will choose your words carefully. Once you’ve signed the petition, please help us spread the word… and spark a change.
- An Open Letter To Our Friends On The Question Of Language
- Law360 Article: Changing The Way We Dialogue About Justice Reform