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Project NIA Sunsets

A message from Mariame

Mariame message

In August, Project NIA entered our 15th year. At the end of December our work will officially sunset. In the 14 years of our existence, the world changed and changed and continues to change. When we launched in August 2009, Trayvon Martin was alive and well, so were Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice and George Floyd. We hadn’t experienced a global pandemic like COVID-19 and few of us imagined that we would. Al Gore and others had warned us about climate change as a danger but most of the world ignored them. So much has happened since 2009, some of it horrific and some of it beautiful.

When I launched Project NIA, I had a few goals in mind and a five-year timetable. By year 3, I felt that we had achieved most of those initial goals and was already starting to think about what would be next for me. The best laid plans of people…lol.

It turns out that our work expanded way beyond my limited goals and my shrunken vision. This happened because so many brilliant and wonderful young people joined our work. They brought their passion, creativity, ideas and most importantly their labor to the mix. I feel so blessed to have gotten to meet, to know, to work with, and to love so many people through Project NIA. I’ve worked with many of you beyond the work we started at the organization and that will continue into the future. I also want to thank the many people who worked with Project NIA as staff, contractors, and volunteers. I hope you know what a difference you made.

I have searched a while for the “right words” to share as Project NIA ends and I don’t have them. I will only say “Thank You.” Thank you to each and every person who contributed to what we created together over these years. These two words seem small but they encompass a universe of gratitude and love.

We planted many seeds and I hope that they will continue to flourish well past the lifespan of this organization. I believe that some will as those of you who were involved in our work have taken root in other soil.

This is the last newsletter that you will receive from Project NIA. We are archiving our work on our website. For those who would like to keep up with my work and interests, you can follow Interrupting Criminalization on social media, you can follow my adventures in publishing at Sojourners for Justice Press and finally you can subscribe to my personal newsletter.

My friends and comrades Tom Callahan and Arda Athman worked on a beautiful audio time capsule of Project NIA which I am so proud to share with you. See you soon and take care.

In peace and solidarity,


Founder and Director

P.S. If you’ve found Project NIA’s work valuable over the years and have participated in our workshops/convenings/events, joined our organizing campaigns, & used our educational resources and research, we invite you to donate in our honor to REBUILD. It would mean a lot.