City Names February Month of Civil Justice, Prison Reform Awareness




The City Commission of the City of St. Augustine has officially proclaimed Feb. 1-28, 2016 a Month of Civil Justice and Prison Reform Awareness in the City of St. Augustine, and urges citizens to attend, participate and share in upcoming events that will fortify the City of St. Augustine’s desire to become more aware of and take action to pursue justice personally, locally, nationally and globally. The proclamation, requested by Compassionate St. Augustine, was sponsored by Commissioner Roxanne Horvath.

Compassionate St. Augustine (CSA) hopes to bring people together as we create awareness of the need for criminal justice and prison reform and inspire a growing culture of compassion that takes action to transform the current systems. CSA is suggesting a top-selling book for individuals and book clubs to read throughout February.  It is also presenting a one-man documentary and reading, a self-compassion and writing workshop and other events. People interested in getting involved and helping to further civil justice and prison reform are also encouraged to join us at monthly Compassion in Action/Prison Reform meetings.

CSA along with Flagler College is presenting a one-man documentary/reading, “Never Fight a Shark in Water: The Wrongful Conviction of Gregory Bright” by actor Gregory Bright on Friday evening, Feb. 12 at 7 pm. Bright was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for nearly three decades. After teaching himself to read and write while incarcerated, he appealed the verdict and was acquitted. Bright, who lives in New Orleans, is now a public speaker and actor who has appeared in 12 Years a Slave and American Horror Story.

Lara Naughton, who also hails from New Orleans and works with Bright, will conduct a compassionate writing workshop, “Self-Compassion & Personal Narrative Workshop with Lara Naughton: Write Your Life with Greater Compassion” on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 am – 2:30 pm. Naughton is the executive director of Compassion NOLA, a New Orleans nonprofit that offers a variety of compassion and writing workshops, retreats and trainings to help people cultivate compassion for themselves and others through communication. The workshop combines writing facilitation with compassion cultivation training in order to help participants explore the stories of their life. In a relaxed and supportive environment, each person will be invited to participate in exercises designed to increase their capacity for mindfulness and self-compassion, and will have time to generate new writing.

Book clubs and reading groups throughout St. Johns County are encouraged to read the book, Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemptionby Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is a public interest lawyer and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights group advancing justice. The book, Just Mercy, is on numerous “book of the year” lists including those by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, Esquire, and Time.

Those interested in learning more, participating further and helping to raise awareness and create change through prison reform while promoting progress in civil justice are invited to get involved and attend the monthly Compassion in Action meeting. Compassion in Action is an initiative of CSA focused on prison reform. The group meets on the second Monday evening of each month.

Compassion in Action/Prison Reform, an Initiative of Compassionate St. Augustine

Regular meetings are the second Monday of each month, the next meeting is:

Monday, Feb. 86 – 7:30 p.m. at St. Cyprian’s Church, 37 Lovett St. at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

For more information, please contact:

 Never Fight a Shark in Water: The Wrongful Conviction of Gregory Bright

Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 at 7 p.m.

Flagler College, Ringhaver Student Center Virginia Room, 50 Sevilla St., St. Augustine, FL

No cost to attend, donations are appreciated. Presented by Compassionate St. Augustine and Flagler College. Learn more about Gregory Bright here.

Reserve your spot:

Self-Compassion & Personal Narrative Workshop with Lara Naughton: Write Your Life with Greater Compassion

Saturday, Feb. 13, 10a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The Mission House, 130 Martin Luther King Ave., St. Augustine, FL

Presented by Compassionate St. Augustine. $35 per person includes lunch. Space is limited, reserve your spot:

 February Book of the Month: Just Mercy, A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy can be found at the St. Johns County Public Library and on Amazon. Learn more about Bryan Stevenson here.

The mission of Compassionate St. Augustine is to inspire, influence and grow a culture of compassion through awareness, advocacy and action.





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