At its core, Represent Justice is about using the power of media to engage audiences in reimagining the justice system, and creating real demand for change.
Represent Justice started as an impact campaign inspired by the life and legacy of Bryan Stevenson, and launched in December 2019 alongside the Warner Bros. theatrical release of Just Mercy. Through a two-year strategic plan, Represent Justice will continue to engage audiences through powerful stories and media, to build awareness and spark collective action.
Represent Justice’s mission is to turn stories into action to change the justice system, while building the capacity of system-impacted communities.
Represent Justice’s vision is a fair legal system, dignity for system-impacted individuals and communities, and an end to extreme sentencing and mass incarceration.
- Accountability: We take ownership and reflect on our successes as well as setbacks. We are committed to having meaningful and constructive conversations.
- Teamwork: Through teamwork and collaboration we achieve our best results. We support each other’s work and uplift each other in times of need. We equally share success and failure.
- Creative and Innovative: We remain curious and interested in new approaches. We are willing to test out new and innovative ideas within our programs.
- Inclusive: We bring together diverse experiences, backgrounds, and knowledge bases.
- Transformative: We are not bound to convention. Our ideas are audacious and future focused.
- Respect: We show a deep appreciation and knowledge for the foundational work done by other organizers and activists. We develop our own expertise and seek continuous learning so that our actions and language can be intentional and thoughtful.
- Empathy: Through storytelling, we create proximity to inspire empathy and actively cultivate an understanding of the history and culture of the communities we serve.
- System-Impacted: Our solutions are formed in collaboration with system-impacted communities. We are mindful of the untold narratives of systemic oppression and educate ourselves on the foundations laid by organizers and activists within the community.
- Community-Led: We build up our community partners; we provide resources and amplify their platforms and relationships to create lasting impact in their work.
- Passion: Our impact on communities is never transactional. We remain committed and dedicated to making a difference.
At Represent Justice, we believe the justice system can be transformed through this theory of change:
Narrative Transportation Theory
To the extent that individuals are absorbed into (or lost in) a story well told, or transported into a narrative world, their real-world beliefs may be affected by their experience of the story. By being transported, psychological barriers are reduced and the story becomes a powerful tool for persuasion and belief change.
Source: Melanie C Green, Ph.D.
Narrative Accretion is the recognition that stories on certain subject matters add up, that the whole may often be greater than the sum of its parts. Any one story may unearth and explore important new areas, especially pressing or unseen contemporary issues and moments. But ultimately stories build upon and contribute to an ongoing dialog with viewers about issues such as rape or criminal justice reform or poverty.
Source: Jeffrey P. Jones, Ph.D.
- REIMAGINING SYSTEMS: Disrupt systemic failures leading to lack of community investment and mass incarceration, including the school-to-prison pipeline, foster-care-to-prison pipeline and present reimagined alternatives to incarceration.
- ENDING DEHUMANIZING PRACTICES: Contribute to ending dehumanizing practices and language towards system-impacted individuals and communities, and provide hope and opportunity for those impacted by and/or currently incarcerated by the system.
- REDUCE SCALE OF LEGAL SYSTEM: Advocate for significant reductions in the scale of incarceration and sentencing, including the death penalty, trying juveniles as adults, life without parole and local or state policies such as enhancements.
- ENHANCE ACCOUNTABILITY: Enhance the accountability of system actors, including but not limited to district attorneys/prosecutors, judges and elected and local officials.
- REDUCE DISPARITY OF JUSTICE SYSTEM: Reduce the disparate impact of the justice system on and overcriminalization of communities and individuals based on race, gender, citizenship and/or income.
- ELEVATE SYSTEM-IMPACTED LEADERSHIP: Elevate system-impacted leadership to grow the visibility, influence, and capacity of system-impacted communities, as well as justice movement leaders and organizations, to ensure they are included, heard and supported.