Merriam-Webster describes empathy as, "the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner."

Being aware goes hand in hand with raising awareness, and that is exactly what The Day of Empathy, powered by Dream Corps Justice, hopes to do again this year on March 2nd.

The Day of Empathy is an annual, national day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale for the millions of Americans impacted by the criminal justice system. Going into their fifth year, the group has seen changes, but there is still a need for so much more.

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Twenty-five percent of the people confined anywhere are confined in prisons throughout America. That total includes not only men, but women, and that's where Pamela Winn comes in.

The Atlanta born activist knows first hand the need for reform when it comes to incarcerated women in our country. Winn herself felt to impact of the criminal justice system and the desperate need for change while serving a 78 month federal sentence for a white-collar crime while pregnant.

While being transported while in custody, Winn was shackled and 6 weeks pregnant. She slipped and fell while getting into a transport van due to the restraints and began spotting. Winn pleaded for help and due the delays in getting care, Winn eventually miscarried at 20 weeks. She miscarried while shackled to the bed and with two male guards at the foot of her bed without any privacy or dignity. These stories, unfortunately, are more common than most realize, and Winn is making it her mission to petition for a change.

"What I want to achieve is to achieve the narrative around women, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. Changing the narrative that people look at us as women, and not the the mistakes that we made. Over 80% of the women who are incarcerated are there for non-violent offences", Winn told us.

Winn has currently has legislation now called the Women's CARE Act, (Childbirth, Alternative, Resources, and Education). The act would allow a woman who is pregnant and convicted to serve time to defer that sentence until 12 weeks after giving birth. This would allow her access to proper care and bond with her child prior to separation.

To get more information, or to get involved and show support for a change, join Day of Empathy 2021 here. 

You can listen to our entire interview with Pamela Winn below.

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Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.

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