EMIT members are ready to go to your church or community gathering to provide stories, statistics and our personal motivation to end mass incarceration in Massachusetts. Our speakers work for a sliding scale, from the standard rate to fill the pulpit , down to whatever the congregation can afford, if anything.
We bring a ready-made service on the theme of justice reform in Massachusetts to end mass incarceration. The service relates to the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism, and the basic Christian tenets of justice, peace and love for our fellow humans. We have readings, responsive readings, chalice lighting words and benedictions, scripture, and poignant sermons with stories and statistics by and about people impacted by the war on drugs.
EMIT – End Mass Incarceration Together – is especially interested in going to the furthest reaches of Massachusetts, especially outside of the Route 128/495 hub. We will bring our message to neighboring New England states for a modest speaker’s fee and reimbursement for travel expenses.
Speakers are available for Sunday services as well as other meetings. Please contact emit . susan at gmail . com, 978-772-3930, to contact our speakers.
Donnell Wright is an entrepreneur, activist and dynamic speaker from Springfield who will share his life story — before incarceration, and challenges he faced upon returning to the community for a minor drug charge. Donnell served 10 years, and for the next ten years, he must acknowledge his incarceration on a CORI background check. Donnell paid his debt to society and was unable to get hired or initially obtain a driver’s license.
The Rev. Dr. William Gardiner is a member of the Mass Incarceration Working Group at First Parish in Arlington and the Coordinator for the End Mass Incarceration Working Group of UU Mass Action a group that advocates with state legislators. He is particularly interested in organizing UUs to lobby for changes in our criminal justice system. Bill was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1967. He served congregations in Washington, DC, Nashville, Tennessee, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a co-director for the Faith in Action Department at the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1990 till 2004. He worked with UU congregations across the country on how to develop effective social justice programs.
Susan Tordella started volunteering in prisons near her home in 2009. She co-founded 12 Toastmasters programs in eight Massachusetts prisons since 2009. Reading “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander in 2012 launched Susan from volunteer to activist. Susan Susan weaves statistics with stories of how mass incarceration impacts individuals and society. She is [volunteer] legislative director EMIT and author of its website. A member of First Church Unitarian in Littleton, Mass., Susan has been an environmental activist, journalist, author, speaker, wife of 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother to two.
Meghann Perry is a professional recovery coach based on the South Shore. As a formerly incarcerated woman in long-term recovery, she uses her personal experience and her gift for writing and speaking to help others whose voices are rarely heard. She has been featured in many newspapers, on the radio, and in the CBS News documentary, “Faith, Hope, and the Burden of Addiction”. She has also spoken at the State House and Wellesley College, and lends herself to organizations like EMIT and the Mass Women’s Justice Network, working towards reducing incarceration and increasing access to treatment for people with substance use disorders.