Dr. Boyce Watkins and Russell Simmons Seek to Rebuild Families by Ending the Mass Incarceration Epidemic


It’s Time to End the Epidemic of Mass Incarceration

Watch the video to learn more


Dr. Boyce Watkins and Russell Simmons have gathered a coalition of supporters from various walks of life to stand together to correct the serious injustices of the prison industrial complex.  Rehabilitation and even punishment are acceptable in themselves, but when a nation builds an entire economy around the unjust incarceration of millions of its citizens, that nation is serving as a tool for its own demise.  Families are destroyed when citizens are given extraordinarily long prison sentences for even the smallest crimes, and the failed War on Drugs has created an entire generation of lost children, who’ve grown up without the support and guidance of two loving parents.

The appeal to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder is not written as an attack, but with the goal of persuading the Obama Administration to lend its considerable resources to productive efforts to help solve the problem.  If you support this initiative and would like to join our efforts, please sign up at this link. 

As Dr. Boyce Watkins said, “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  We’re in this for the long haul.”  So far, the effort has gotten the attention of media outlets world-wide, for it’s the first time such a vast coalition of public figures, scholars, faith leaders and activists have come together for such an important cause.  We truly have the chance to make a difference.




Celebrities and public figures who’ve signed onto the letter thus far: 



Julian Bond

Dr. Benjamin Chavis

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH

Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP

Avis Jones-Deweever, National Council of Negro Women

Maria Theresa Kumar, VotoLatino

Donna Leiberman, NYCLU

Margaret Moran, LULAC

Marc Morial, National Urban League

Ethan Nadelmann, Drug Policy Alliance

Rev. Al Sharpton, NAN

Rashad Robinson, Colors of Change

Anthony Romero, ACLU

Michael Skolnik

Julie Stewart, Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Susan Taylor

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Brent Wilkes, LULAC

Vanessa Williams, National Conference of Black Mayors

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip-Hop Caucus

Renaldo Pearson, Founding Fellow & President, Emerging Millennials Leadership Alliance



La La Anthony

Roseanne Barr

Russell Brand

Jim Carrey

Cedric The Entertainer

Margaret Cho

Affion Crockett

Rosario Dawson

Mike Epps

Omar Epps

Jamie Foxx

Tyrese Gibson

Jon Hamm

Hill Harper

Woody Harrelson

Amber Heard

Dule Hill

Ron Howard

J Ivy

Terrence J

Eugene Jarecki

Kris Jenner

Scarlett Johannson

Kim Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian-Odom

Kourtney Kardashian

Sanaa Lathan

LL Cool J

Nia Long

Eva Longoria

AnnaLynne McCord

Michael Moore

Keya Morgan

Jay Pharaoh

Dominic Purcell

Tim Robbins

Chris Rock

Susan Sarandon

Sarah Silverman

Russell Simmons

Vanessa Simmons

Jada Pinkett Smith

Will Smith

Tika Sumpter

Gabrielle Union

Denise Vasi

Estella Warren

Kerry Washington

Pauletta Washington

Marlon Wayans

Jesse Williams

Jeffrey Wright



Bishop James Clark

Bishop Noel Jones

Bishop Clarence Laney

Bishop Edgar Vann

Dr. Iva Carruthers

Deepak Chopra

Father Michael Pfleger

Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Rabbi Nina Mandel

Rev. Jamal Bryant

Rev. Delman Coates

Rev. Leah D. Daughtry

Rev. Dr. Fredrick Haynes

Rev. Michael McBride

Rev. Dr. W Franklyn Richardson



David Banner

Eric Benet

Andre “3000” Benjamin

Big Boi of Outkast


Charlamagne tha God

Sean “Diddy” Combs

Chuck D

DJ Envy

DJ Pauly D

Ani Difranco

Jermaine Dupri

Missy Elliot


Jason Flom

John Forte

Ghostface Killah


Keri Hilson

Jennifer Hudson


Luke James

Trinidad James

Lyfe Jennings

Jim Jones

Talib Kweli

John Legend

Ryan Leslie

Joanna “JoJo” Levesque

Kevin Liles


Lil Wayne

Natalie Maines

Angie Martinez

Nicki Minaj



Busta Rhymes

Steve Rifkind

Samantha Ronson

Rick Ross



Katrina “Trina” Taylor

Teyana Taylor

Angela Yee



Sir Richard Branson

Ron Busby, US Black Chamber of Commerce

Daymond John – Founder, Fubu/Host of the TV Show “Shark Tank”

Chip Rosenbloom, Owner St. Louis Rams

Bobby Shriver



Congressman Tony Cardenas

Congressman Keith Ellison

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congressman Bobby Rush

Congressman Bobby Scott



Brendon Ayanbadejo

Allan Houston – Assistant GM, New York Knicks

Israel Idonije

Lamar Odom

Etan Thomas

Isiah Thomas

Mike Tyson



Tyson Beckford

Selita Ebanks

Kenza Fourati

Kimora Lee Simmons

Veronika Verekova



Chris Broussard

Chuck Creekmur, AllHipHop.com

Ed Gordon

TJ Holmes

Dylan Ratigan

Jim Wallis, Sojourners

Dave Zirin



Rick Adams, Chair – Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Michelle Alexander – The Ohio State University

Dr. Carlton Brown, President, Clark Atlanta Univ.

Dr. Ron Daniels – President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Prof. Michael Eric Dyson- Georgetown University

Dr. Christopher Emdin – Columbia University

Dr. Michael Fauntroy – George Mason University

Dr. Eddie Glaude – Princeton University

Airickca Gordon-Taylor, Founding director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation

Dream Hampton – Author of the best-selling book, “Decoded”

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill – Columbia University

Naomi Klein

Dr . Wilmer Leon – Howard University

Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Dr. John E. Maupin, Jr., President, Morehouse School of Medicine

Kevin Powell

Ricky “Freeway” Ross

Dr. Tyra Seldon, Co Chair, Education Over Incarceration (EOI)

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President, Spelman College

Dr. Alicia Taylor-McLaughlin, St. Francis University

Terrie Williams, Author of the best-selling book, “Black Pain”

Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., President, Morehouse College

Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Director, Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute


Please join our initiative at this link.  


  1. Was reading that Pimp Snooky received 20 years just for Pimping. Pimping is a crime, but 20 years is a big much.

  2. Dr. Barbara Perry

    I am definitely with the Movement. Far too many of our Black young men are incarcerated for the better part of their life before life even began for lack of proper representation and racist stereotyping. All change MUST be brought about to ensure equal JUSTICE for ALL.

  3. I’m with the movement 100%

  4. I would like to join this cause, something has got to change in this unjust prison system or it will be creating monsters when these people ever be released. How are these young men being reabilitated? They’re in there cell just about 24 hours aday, no school, no trade and can get a girly magizine quicker than a book. Also being on lock-up for months and even years. Where is the just in that? These imates are still human.

    Lavern Cason

  5. Demontre Flemister

    Signing up

  6. Thank you for this

  7. I have to agree and stand with this cause not to keep locking up our black men and women on charges that other would not even get probation.

  8. I am totally in 100%

  9. Rev. Rosalind Knox

    Live in the Detroit area however from Wisconsin who has the highest number of black
    People incarcerated in the country. Many who have not severe criminal offenses. Sign me up. If you hold a conference or gathering please let me know.

  10. I’m all the way down!

  11. This is a very good cause!

  12. This is a very good cause. First come awareness then comes the solution!

  13. The best way to end mass incarceration is to have strong responsibile, stable two parent families, instill good character, values and discipline. Single parents can also do the same. Instead having a petition signed by a bunch of celebrities, politicians and so on is to get back to basics and be personally accountable fir your own actions. If you are not going out commiting crimes yoy won’t end up in jail. This is plain straight forward common sense. Enough of making excuses for black criminals as black people and blaming this on the system, racism, etc. As I said we all as black people and human beings must be accountable fir our actions and learn from our mistakes not blame society or white peiople. We do something wrong own up to it.

    • While some say ignorance is bliss, your brand of ignorance is just plain old fashion “misinformed”. It’s not entirely your fault unless you do nothing to educate yourself on the “real”
      The Prison Industrial Complex was designed as an economic stimulus to the ” Haves” and NOT for the rehabilitation of the “Have Not’s”.
      With that said, I urge you to look at the number of minorities incarcerated (for nonviolent offences) who have received extraordinary sentences. This does not even take into consideration those who were “profiled” and those who have been wrongfully accused. I also challenge you to pickup AND read some Sociological periodicals if you don’t want to take my word for it.
      In this country we have a real problem, but there is Hope!
      Instead of falling back on what these “Power Structures” want us to believe, instead of holding on to stereotypes of ancient history, find out the”real” for yourself.
      Good Day!

  14. I’m thankful to be able to support a such cause ….I’d really like to see the most important figure in or culture Mr. Dick Gregory apart of such cause thank you and God bless all.

  15. The time has come to #EndMassIncaration. REGULATE!You are in here!

  16. Its about time

  17. I would like to sign I would also like to add as black people if it is on your power and you don’t have good cause please never dodge jury duty. The person on trial will probably look like you. It’s our responsibility. Let this be a movement black people as jurors. Have you served?

  18. When we start learning who we are as a people, then this foolishness will stop. That’s one of the very reason we are manipulated by the system. We as black people are the life givers and the leaders of this world. There are many educated black people here. I was recently taking a sociology class, and I was assumed a trouble maker because I was calling them out on their bullshit. They teach a very unsexualized society, which goes against the natural order of our being and that is a part of the chaos as well. We are being robbed and manipulated on a daily basis, with the education system, churches and most of all the economy. We as black people again and other minorities have always been targeted for the war on crime and drugs. It’s part of the population control and genocide that is increasing on our race. In the original Willie Lynch letter, he spoke about unless a phenomena happen that blacks will always be in chaos. See this thing goes back even farther than this before colonial slavery.

  19. This so called war on drugs has pit brother against brother and aligned all blacks as criminals prohibition didn’t work just as the war on drugs haven’t just created big cartels!

  20. Kenneth & Shirley Brown

    Prisons should not replace employment and educational institutions.

  21. I am 33 yrs young lml.i have been incarcerated more times then I can remember. I have finally come to a decision that being imprisoned is not the solution. I am currently in recovery it’s what I’ve needed all along, I have learned a lot about myself I’m more then willing to participate.

  22. Where is petition

  23. I’ve been to the penitentiary a few times, and all but one time was because the police put cases on me , and sent me to jail. I took a plea every time, because the cook county jail was worse than slavery, and the penitentiary was like a day care center.

  24. I want to sign…. Ex Gang member, but want major change in our community

  25. I have a friend who is serving a 60yr term. I not sure of all the details but I know it shouldn’t be 60yrs. He’s already served at least 10yrs. I’m not saying what he’s done don’t require jail time but not 60yrs. Murderers don’t get that much time.

  26. This is a splendid gesture but not the solution. THE UNITED STATES is a CORPORATE prison with statues, codes, ordinances, and regulations designed to have you in debt from birth and to keep you there. And CORPORATIONS are now becoming privately own being sponsored by the so called governments that are being paid to keep those cells full. Why, because CORPORATIONS are for profit and are mostly bankrupted using people for their wealth or energies to keep them alive which is impossible because CORPORATIONS only exist ON paper. THE UNITED STATES is a foreign bankrupted CORPORATION that only exist within the 10 square miles of the District of Columbia is nothing but a slave plantation who has stole the people’s birth rights and natural freedoms. The people has no rights and are considered as Debtors. You are either going to pay the national debt out here in so called freedom or within their prisons. Good luck with your petition! But try getting at the true causes and stop acting like the most of you don’t know!

  27. I would love to sign this petition.

  28. I would love to sign this petition….. You see I am living this reality as we speak. My husband is incarcerated in a Oklahoma prison and is servicing a 20 yrs sentence for procession of a credit card of another. He was at a casino and found the debit card, casino card, and drivers license. (He didn’t use it at all) The next day due to a previous matter he went to the DA’s office in the next county over from us he was arrested. They officer searched my husband found those items and he was charged was knowingly concealing stolen property. We went through preliminary and due to what the lady said whose cards belonged (she said she lost her property and couldnt remember where she had it last) the state amended the charger to procession of a debit card of another. After months of court dates we went to trial and the DA told the jury all he had to prove is that my husband had the property and that he didn’t have permission to have it. (He didn’t have to prove that my husband used it) jury came back after 2hrs with not guilty of stolen property but guilty of procession. And he received 20yrs.

  29. I would like to sign the petition

  30. Never ending struggle . Before a person can be free, first they must choose freedom,Then the hard work begins. One Love

  31. I would be honored to become a part of shutting down slave plantations! My email is Jackiep812@yahoo.com

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  36. Chiquita Simpkins

    I would like to know how to Rally for Michael Brown in DMV.

  37. I am very disturbed by comments voiced by Dr Watkins on CNN live today, August 13/14. I am a Canadian living in Canada and can observe this current shooting tragedy from an emotional distance. I feel Dr Watkins comments were not prudent with the potential to increase emotional “boiling points” in certain Black ” communities”. It is imperative comments of wise leadership be expressed

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