Updated: Jan 20
with Prison Fellowship to advocate for restorative justice in criminal justice reforms!
It's still hard to believe I was invited to Washington, D.C., to partner with Prison Fellowship. The first day there March 27, 2019 I was able to go lobbying with Matthew Charles and Heather Rice-Minus to speak to our TN Senator, Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. He has laid out a proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. As part of this act, we asked for the ending of the ban on federal Pell Grants for eligible students behind bars! Charles and I shared our testimonies of incarceration, addiction, recovery, and how education has had a profound effect on our new lives. We also asked him to investigate the issue of the Pell Grant being denied to those with drug-offences even after their debt to society has been paid.
“Sounds like you both have done better with your second chance than most people do with their first,” Senator Alexander told Matthew and I.
The following day, March 28, 2019 we spoke at Prison Fellowship’s news conference with many others that are passionate about criminal justice reform! It was an honor to speak on the “Living Proof” panel to share our past experiences and passion for removing barriers for those returning to society! Sharing our experiences with the criminal justice system and how we are using our stories and lives to bring hope to others.
The Second Chance Month Gala was held that evening at the historic Watergate Hotel, which was a beautiful reminder of the second chance story of Prison Fellowship’s founder, Chuck Colson, the former White House Counsel to President Richard M. Nixon.
It was such an honor to speak on the “Living Proof” panel with Marcus Bullock, CEO/Founder at Flikshop and Matthew Charles, Criminal Justice Reform Fellow at Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). With Heather Rice-Minus as our panel moderator, we were able to share our past experiences and passion for removing barriers for those returning to society! I pray that our stories first bring glory to God and, second, lead hearts and minds to make the necessary changes to remove barriers and invest in second chances. As Christians, we should give our voices to the dignity of others. I urge everyone to advocate for a real second chance to those incarcerated. Please find it in your heart to become educated on criminal justice reforms, advocacy, and giving a helping hand to re-entry services in prison and post-release.
Every human is a gift from God and we all deserve a chance to live out our God-given calling!
Please contact me if you would like to know how you can help advocate for restorative criminal justice reforms! I would love to help you get involved!
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