Mass incarceration can often seem like an insurmountable problem or a collection of depressing statistics, but an advocacy group called Hour Children, in partnership with Google.org and various criminal justice reform groups, has done something profound to put a human face on a national epidemic.
A new video campaign called "Love Letters" features children whose mothers are incarcerated reading letters to their moms on camera. The resulting clips are heartbreaking, and remind us that the bond between mothers and their kids can't be contained by prisons.
Actors and activists Hill Harper and Rosario Dawson joined the project, and created a video for Hour Children reading a letter from a girl named Kyndia Riley to her incarcerated mother:
With 2.7 million people in federal and state prisons across the country, there are millions more kids who are affected by the prison system. Shares Malika Saada Saar, Google.org's Senior Counsel of Public Policy and Government Relations – Civil and Human Rights, "The videos reveal a side of mass incarceration that many people don’t get a chance to see. They allow us to bear witness, to be proximate to the very human costs of incarceration."
She adds, "The experience of having a parent in prison is traumatizing to a child: a new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that the incarceration of a parent can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence."
She encourages others affected by mass incarceration to share their own letters with the hashtag #LoveLetters, and contribute to the conversation.
See more of these incredibly moving videos here and visit HourChildren.org to learn more.
(Photo: Getty Images Archive)