Our MissionEducate. Motivate. Liberate.
Civil Survival organizes people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation.
What We Do
We advocate for ourselves to change policies that marginalize us, in order to break cycles of incarceration and deepen community liberation. We educate, motivate and liberate:
- We educate people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system about resources in the government, non-profit, and private sectors, provide information about legal rights and skills, and develop skills to further civic engagement (including voting, public service, and advocacy).
- We educate the general public, policy makers and elected officials about the experiences, abilities, contributions, and needs of people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system.
- We organize people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system statewide to build connections, increase their political and advocacy capacity, and use their experiences as a source of power that can drive policy change.
- We build connections between people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice and policy makers.
- We are led by and for people directly impacted by the criminal justice system and invest in building the leadership capacity of impacted people.
- We ensure that people directly impacted by the criminal justice system have a place at the table and can meaningfully impact policies that perpetuate systems of mass incarceration and directly impact them and their communities.
Civil Survival envisions a world free from mass incarceration, where people are valued as inherently worthy. We envision a world where people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system have the supports and skills necessary to build lives as fully participating citizens, and directly impacted people have a key role in developing policies that impact them and their communities.
- Accessibility: Our strength is in the variety of our experiences and identities. We embrace creative and innovative ways of organizing to ensure inclusivity. Our learning and liberation centers this demand: “Nothing About Us Without Us”
- Equity: All people should have what they need to participate fully in community. We confront the barriers to liberation—institutional, interpersonal, and internalized – that justice-involved people face. We acknowledge and address the ways in which our intersectional identities impact our experiences of mass incarceration, the justice system, and the political process. We commit ourselves to understanding and uprooting colonialism, white supremacy, misogyny, ableism, and institutional racism.
- Dignity: All are worthy. The work of ending mass incarceration is also the work of restoration, to learn and promote de-stigmatization, self-definition, sense of purpose, and accountability.
- Empowerment: Our stories matter. When we share them and are witnessed, we serve as advocates and contribute more liberatory and sustainable models of accountability and justice. We have infinite capacity to grow.
- Interdependence: Our success is dependent upon each other. Collective learning, organizing, and liberation is central to our work. We seek self-determination not in isolation or individual advancement but within a sense of belonging and accountability to each other.