Watch: Mothers against IDOC cruelty and Black women’s leadership in the prison struggle

In a special event held on March 2, 2024 at the Indianapolis Liberation Center, three courageous mothers testified and facilitated a crucial key dialogue on the urgent need for radical reforms and the abolition of the carceral state.

The panelists, Queene Lewis, Sheila Arnold, and Rosalind Goodman, were united by the severe mistreatment and murder of their sons by the racist U.S. mass incarceration system. Spearheaded by FOCUS Families Initiatives and the Liberation Center (of which FOCUS is a member-organization), we can’t let their brave testimony remain confined to those physically present that night.

As you’ll see and hear below, their stories and ongoing struggle to build a united front show the power and necessity of Black women’s leadership in the current era of the prison movement. We need to amplify their testimony and their guidance far and wide.

Listen, learn, follow their leadership, and join us in the fight for a world without cages. Our fight today is part of a long legacy of the revolutionary struggles and leadership of Black women that transform individual grief and suffering into a force of organized and collective resistance.

Mothers against IDOC cruelty

About the panelists

  • Queene Lewis is a field organizer for Focus Families Initiatives. Based in Evansville, Indiana, she advocates for families with loved ones caught up in the prison system. Queene received critical support from IDOC Watch when her three sons were incarcerated which empowered her to now take the lead in providing support for families threatened by isolating despair, the brutality of the carceral state, and a lack of access to material resources. Currently, as the Evansville Director and House Manager for Focus Initiatives, LTD, she provides resources, information, and opportunities vital to starting again and staying out. She is an organizer with the Indianapolis Liberation Center.
  • Sheila Arnold is the devoted mother of Brandon Lewis IDOC guards murdered and then attempted to cover up. Arnold, who flew to Indianapolis from Dallas, Texas for the event, is also a founder of Cornerstone City Mission. She was featured in State vs. us, a magazine that speaks out against corruption and wrongful convictions and showcases success stories of the resilience of individuals who have made it out of prison, where you can read more about her son’s narrative that serves as a beacon for her activism.
  • Rosalind Goodman has faced the harsh reality of her son Kevin’s 28-year imprisonment, enduring the harsh conditions of the IDOC. Restless nights and concerns for Kevin’s safety made her a vocal advocate for justice and systemic reform. Her activism demands accountability and seeks to restore the lost time and opportunities for her son and her brother, imprisoned for nearly four decades on dubious charges. Rosalind’s story testifies to a mother’s resilience and unyielding love in the fight for change.

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