Racial Justice Strategic Initiative

Trinity Church’s Racial Justice strategic initiative is committed to dismantling racism by ending mass incarceration. This initiative advances Trinity’s strategic mission goal to build up the neighborhoods of New York City, by advocating for justice to amplify the voices of those who are not heard, by speaking in the pulpit and in public, and by providing support to organizations that work with us to confront injustice, racism, and inequality.

Racial disparities are embedded at every level of the criminal justice system. The population of New York City is 26 percent Black, yet 53 percent of people held in jail are Black. In a city that is 29 percent Latino, 34 percent of people held in jail are Latino. In total, almost 90 percent of the jail population in New York City is Black or Latino. Many remain in jail without a conviction because they cannot afford to pay bail. People of color comprise 37 percent of the U.S. population, but 67 percent of the prison population.

In the United States, there are 2.2 million people in prison and jails, which represents an increase of 500 percent over the last 40 years. Mass incarceration exacerbates structural inequality and has created the most pressing issues of our time. Immigrants face discrimination, exploitation, and are often targets of punitive laws, policies, and practices. Students of color and LGBTQ young people encounter school systems that are not culturally responsive to their identities and apply discipline that can lead to their criminal justice involvement. Lastly, the voices of those who have experienced marginalization and oppression are often missing from our cultural narratives, and the real history of how we got here from slavery to mass incarceration, is not widely shared.

The Racial Justice Initiative of Trinity Church Wall Street supports institutions, networks, alliances and movements that are developing strategies and approaches to advance racial equity and address the structural inequality perpetuated by the criminal justice system.

Grantmaking in early 2019 will predominately focus on organizations in New York City and support the following goals:

Advancing Justice
  • Decrease detention, deportation, and mass incarceration
  • Advance policy and practice change to end criminalization and racial bias perpetuated by the justice system
  • Promote supportive, holistic reentry services for the formerly incarcerated and amplify their voices
  • Defend immigrant rights and provide support to immigrants in detention
  • Promote strategies to organize communities of color to end mass incarceration and dismantle racism
  • Address violence through community engagement and strategies that promote healing
Promoting Strong Youth Development and Empowerment
  • Promote policies and practices to end the school-to-prison pipeline and create inclusive school climates that make it possible for all youth to succeed
Transforming Narratives
  • Promote narrative change initiatives and efforts to end mass incarceration and promote racial healing

Independent Commission on Criminal Justice Reform. “A More Just New York City” pg. 24 & pg.34
Sentencing Project, Criminal Justice Facts