Dream Corps JUSTICE has spent the last five years building a network of system-impacted advocates, leaders, and non-impacted allies who serve as the power behind our efforts to reform the criminal-legal system — the Empathy Network.
The Empathy Network is currently made up of 300+ grassroots organizations, with leaders in all 50 states who are committed to sharing their stories and working directly with lawmakers on policy solutions at the state and federal level.
We activated the Network to ensure that those who are most impacted by the justice system have a seat at the table and are able to lend their voices and expertise to help develop the policy solutions that will impact their lives, families, and communities. This helps us ensure that the bipartisan reform movement has both a bottom-up and top-down approach, which we believe is key to creating lasting change.
The Empathy Network includes currently incarcerated people, survivors of violent crime, those who have overcome substance abuse disorder and mental health challenges, and loved ones on the outside who advocate for their peoples’ freedom. What all of these people share is empathy, and a desire to transform our system.
Without empathy, we cannot achieve the meaningful policy changes that keep our communities safe, our families whole, and our economy strong.
There are thousands of people – mothers, fathers, children, and community members – who have stories to tell. The Empathy Network shines a light on people impacted by the criminal justice system in order to uplift and amplify their voices, and win over hearts and minds towards the idea that transformation is possible.
Join the Empathy Network if you are a directly impacted person, a community leader, or an ally who wants to make a difference!
California’s Day of Empathy
The Empathy Network grew out of Dream Corps JUSTICE’s first National Day of Empathy in March of 2017, back when our program was known as #cut50. The Day of Empathy is a day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale for millions of Americans impacted by the criminal justice system. On March 2, 2021, we held more than 40 events to celebrate our 5th Annual Day of Empathy.
The Empathy Network has also been responsible for the passage of numerous bills to reform the criminal justice system at the state and local level and played an integral role in the passage of the federal First Step Act.
Day of Empathy 2021 Highlights
On March 2nd, 2021, organizers across the country mobilized for a day of action known as the Day of Empathy to spotlight state and local efforts to highlight the urgency of criminal justice reform.
The Day of Empathy is an annual, national day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale for the millions of Americans impacted by the criminal justice system. In partnership with our 50 state network of criminal justice reform organizers, we aim to:
Build empathy in our elected officials — governors, state legislators, and other policymakers — to take action on criminal justice reform;
Humanize and uplift the stories of those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system through personal interactions with lawmakers to demonstrate the impact that policy has on the lives of impacted people, their spouses, their children, their parents, their friends, crime survivors, and their communities.
Without empathy, we cannot achieve meaningful policy changes in criminal justice reform that keeps our communities safe, our families whole, and our economy strong.
If you would like to participate in next year’s Day of Empathy, or get involved with our other Empathy Network activism, sign up here.