A long profile of Malika Saada Saar is in the Washington Post last week. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Rebecca Project, whose work on fighting the shackling of pregnant women I’ve written about here before. From the article:
In 2001, while studying at Georgetown University Law Center, she founded the Rebecca Project, which took its name from the biblical figure, as well as a beloved Washington-based mentor of Saada Saar’s named Rebecca Rice. The organization grew out of workshops that encouraged addicts to seek healing through poetry and other forms of artistic expression. In the Rebecca Project’s infancy, Saada Saar and Imani Walker, a mother of four who was recovering from addiction to crack cocaine, shared a single donated desk in the Washington Law Clinic.
One piece that particularly emphasizes The Rebecca Project’s work:
…A core Saada Saar philosophy: It is wrongheaded to incarcerate women whose troubled circumstances have led to drug addiction or prostitution, especially those who have been sexually abused, instead of steering them to treatment options.”The pipeline that channels vulnerable young girls from cradle to sexual abuse to prison must be completely dismantled,” she writes.
The work that they do is going to be crucial to reversing the frightening trend of over-incarceration in this country, which we now serves much much more harm than good.
You can learn more about the Rebecca Project for Human Rights on their website.