The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced grants to eight organizations led by formerly incarcerated individuals working to ensure that people with histories of incarceration can actively participate in criminal justice reform efforts.
Recipients of the grants include Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), which works to restore the full human and civil rights of those most impacted by the criminal justice system; the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, which runs a membership-based platform that provides technical support, coalition building assistance, and resources for local initiatives aimed at ending the mass incarceration of women and girls; Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (All of Us or None), which organizes and advocates for the release of incarcerated individuals, the restoration of their rights, and the reunification of families and communities; and Forward Justice, which works to advance racial, social, and economic justice in the South, with a focus on reducing incarceration and advocating for Clean Slate reform — legislation that would automatically clear certain criminal records over time — in North Carolina.
Grants also were awarded to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a membership organization dedicated to ending the disenfranchisement of and discrimination against people with convictions; Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, which engages young community leaders in building the movement to end mass incarceration and youth criminalization; the College & Community Fellowship, which helps women with convictions earn a college degree; and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which advocates for fair policies in the juvenile and criminal justice systems and provides reentry services and a supportive network to the formerly incarcerated.
"I feel strongly that lifting up the collective stories of incarcerated people is my duty," said Aly Tamboura, criminal justice reform manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. "I hope to move our society past the sensationalism of crime and punishment to a realization of the damage this system inflicts on real people and our country overall. I am sharing my own story honestly and openly, without shame or embarrassment, in the hope that it will inspire other formerly incarcerated people to recognize their own potential, and create fair chances for them to positively contribute to — and lead — our communities."
(Photo credit: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative)