The Dignity Act Now Collective (DANC) was formed by a group of impacted Black activists and artists. What started as a campaign around the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act of Pennsylvania, led to the formation of a statewide collective. The co-founders of DANC began to shape and amend policies for change. By working with their local legislators in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia they crafted three pieces of policy:
- ombudsmen HB999,
- Formerly Incarcerated Mentorship Program HB 1002,
- Trauma Informed Care HB 1014.
They took these policies to Harrisburg and had them introduced along with the package of legislation the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act of Pennsylvania. Although this was not sufficient in addressing the root causes of gender-based violence, and the persecution of the gender-oppressed, the need for systemic change in the conditions of womxn prisons must be dismantled on all levels. The system of criminalizing Black womxn, trans and non-binary people must occur politically, socially, mentally and spiritually. Through shared experiences, vision and the collective voices of those most impacted by this public health crisis, DANC is raising awareness, building capacity, and empowering the underserved.
- Ending the school-to-prison pipeline
- Re-entry services that reduce recidivism and ease the transition back into communities
- Better diversionary programs that reduce the prison population
- Basic rights to those currently incarcerated
- Restorative justice practices
- Abolishing cash bail, mandatory minimums, excessive sentencing, an end to solitary confinement
- Decriminalizing addiction and sex work
- Holding Correctional Officials accountable for their crimes against incarcerated womxn
We are dedicated to using our collective voice to leverage our power and apply pressure to affect change in order to reach our highest potential by utilizing culture as a healing mechanism for communal power and healing.
Our collective work is built out of the desire to be free and self-determined and manifesting our own personal and shared destinies for the good of our community. Our shared experiences with the criminal justice system will raise awareness and mobilize communities to demand systemic change.