Other Group

Amistad Movement Power




Philadelphia, PA


Activist Organization




Kris Henderson

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Amistad Movement Power (AMP) is a left-of-center activist organization focused on eliminating what the group identifies as “mass incarceration.” It aims to de-fund the police and redistribute wealth to support Black, brown, and poor white communities in the Philadelphia area.

Amistad Movement Power is the sister organization of Amistad Law Project, a public interest law firm and organizing project focused on these same issues.


Amistad Movement Power (AMP) was founded by Kris Henderson and Nikki Grant in May 2022. 1 AMP is a left-of-center activist organization that advocates for giving “second chances” to individuals who are incarcerated for life and eventually eliminating what it describes as “mass incarceration,” de-funding the police and creating civilian crisis teams and social services as alternatives, and having the rich pay for city services in the community. 2

The term “Amistad” is based on events in 1839 when Africans who were captured to be sold as slaves managed to revolt and win control of the ship Amistad on which they were being transported, but they were captured by the U.S. authorities. A legal battle ensued that took two years to resolve. During that time the Africans remained imprisoned. The final verdict was that the Africans were free and able to return to their homeland. 3


Amistad Movement Power endorses candidates that support its issues and communicates them in meetings and rallies. 4 It recruits volunteers to canvass the communities to vote for these candidates to “win a progressive city.” 5 For instance, the Amistad Movement Power election goals for May 2023 were to elect Helen Gym (D) as mayor and “re-elect progressives to the City Council.” 6 Gym is a prior city council member who describes herself as a “progressive” and has compared herself to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 7

AMP’s “Free Our People Coalition” is a monthly virtual meeting to educate people and encourage them to push for legislation to create parole opportunities for those with life sentences. 8

Throughout the month of January 2023, AMP organized a campaign “Judge Brinkley Must Go” that included a petition and weekly rallies at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center. The campaign claims that Judge Genece Brinkley was unjustly “punitive and has led to the mass incarceration of Black, Brown and poor white communities. 9

Amistad Movement Power, Straight Ahead and Free the Ballot organized a January 12, 2023 event that included a panel of “progressive movement elected leaders and candidates for office.” The program agenda included discussions on community oversight of Philadelphia jails, creating alternatives to the police such as non-police crisis teams that respond to 911 calls, removing Judge Genece Brinkley from office, and electing a left-wing mayor and left-wing city council members in the upcoming primary election. 10

Sister Organizations

Amistad Law Project was co-founded by lawyers Kris Henderson and Nikki Grant in 2014. It is a public interest law firm that represents incarcerated individuals, organizes against mass incarceration, and supports defunding the police. 11 Amistad Law Project is funded by left-of-center foundations including Tides Foundation, Bread & Roses Community Fund, Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, Keystone Progress Education Fund,  and NEO Philanthropy. 12

Straight Ahead is a left-of-center activist organization fighting against mass incarceration. Its 2023 campaigns include parole for elders and parole for those charged with first and second degree crimes. 13 Open Society Foundations, funded by billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros, donated $2 million to Straight Ahead in 2020. 14 The National Philanthropic Trust, a provider of donor-advised funds, was also a donor. 15

Free the Ballot is a left-of-center activist organization made up of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and family and friends of the incarcerated working to end what it views as mass incarceration and to reallocate wealth in society. It supports the movement through meetings, public forums, and rallies. 16


Kris Henderson is executive director and co-founder of Amistad. She is a left-wing “movement lawyer” and activist. In addition to Amistad Movement Power, she co-founded Amistad Law Project in 2014 and the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration, a grassroots organization working to end life-without-parole sentences. Henderson is on the steering committee of Free the Ballot and on the board of Black Youth Project 100. In 2019 she was the recipient of a Soros Justice Fellowship from liberal billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. 17

Nikki Grant is a left-wing movement lawyer and co-founder and movement director of Amistad Movement Power. She co-founded Amistad Law Project with Kris Henderson in 2014 and serves as policy director. She also co-founded the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration. 18


  1. “VIDEO: Power Meeting – State of the Movement Spring 2022.” Amistad Movement Power – Events. May 6, 2022. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/news/video-power-meeting-state-movement-spring-2022?fbclid=IwAR2K2-Izzj3wwkJYj5l7IHTEq-Tkircc6cnIyRJ1P24l-RnmCbezZIvWVYE
  2. “Issues.” Amistad Movement Power. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/issues
  3. “Amistad Case.” History. September 23, 2019. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://www.history.com/topics/slavery/amistad-case
  4. “Building the Politics of Liberation to End Mass Incarceration.” Amistad Movement Power – Elections. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/building-politics-liberation-end-mass-incarceration
  5. “Sign Up to Canvass With Amistad Movement Power and Straight Ahead.” Action Network. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-up-to-canvass-with-amistad-movement-power
  6. “We Ready, We Coming: AMP Endorsements for 2023 Philly Elections.” Amistad Movement Power – Elections. February 18, 2023. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/news/we-ready-we-coming-amp-endorsements-2023-philly-elections
  7. “Who is Helen Gym?” The Philadelphia Citizen. November 29, 2022. Updated March 16, 2023. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/who-is-helen-gym/
  8. “February 6th: Get Involved in the Fight for Second Chances in PA.” Amistad Movement Power – Campaigns. March 16, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/news/february-6th-get-involved-fight-second-chances-pa
  9. “’Judge Brinkley Must Go’: We Demand Justice in the First Judicial District.” Amistad Movement Power – Campaigns. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/news/judge-brinkley-must-go-we-demand-justice-first-judicial-district
  10. “POWER MEETING – State of the Movement Spring 2023.” Amistad Movement Power – Events. January 13, 2023. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/news/video-power-meeting-state-movement-spring-2023
  11. Amistad Law Project. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://amistadlaw.org/
  12. ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer – Amistad Law Project. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/full_text_search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=amistad+law+project
  13. Straight Ahead website. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://straight-ahead.org/
  14. “Awarded Grants.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?filter_keyword=straight+ahead
  15. ProPublica NonProfit Explorer – Straight Ahead. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/full_text_search?page=2&q=straight+ahead
  16. Free the Ballot website. Accessed March 16, 2023. https://freetheballot.org/
  17. “Open Society Foundations Announce 2019 Soros Justice Fellows.” Open Society Foundations – Press Release. September 27, 2019. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/open-society-foundations-announce-2019-soros-justice-fellows?fbclid=IwAR2tI08UpS9s6eAKm8yEcSXZdsfg7Qft4w3tUdhfUkY1uNCnyNP6YhEHX5Y
  18. “Our Team” Amistad Movement Power. Accessed March 17, 2023. https://amistadpower.org/our-team
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Amistad Movement Power

Philadelphia, PA