April is National Reentry Month, and you need to take advantage of this opportunity to speak up! Your family lives with the impacts of prison every day, so you already know there are challenges you will need to face during reentry. YOU are an expert on the effects of incarceration and the hardships of reentry.
Most of the year, families of the incarcerated suffer the hardships alone.
These hardships are known to you. Each day with renewed courage and determination while the rest of the world continues on, you face the challenges of staying connected to a loved one in prison. Most people have no idea how hard life is for prisoners who return home or their families who have bravely faced so much social ridicule.
With this in mind, National Reentry Month gives you the opportunity to share your story to the masses. This designated month of April intends to bring awareness to the social and economic disparities imposed on former prisoners. As courageous men and women like you share their stories, People are listening and hopefully learning about the issues you face every day.
If you have been trying to decide how and when to share your story with others, now is a perfect time.
Social media will be full of messages about the impact of incarceration, the ups and downs of reentry, the programs and resources available, and the enormous need for others to help resolve this national problem. You are not a statistic; you are a family impacted by policies, practices, and prejudices against formerly incarcerated people. Know that you have a voice with and an important role in bringing awareness that inspires real solutions.
Here are some ideas to help you contribute to the conversation:
- Repost or share a message you see on social media that resonates with you.
- In addition to reposting/sharing, add your commentary from your personal experience.
- Share your story of incarceration and reentry with close friends and family members.
- Contact local civic or religious groups and offer to share your story with them and their members.
- Volunteer for an organization that provides services to former inmates and their families
- Share a photo of you and your loved one on FB and make it your profile picture for the month.
- Donate money to a reputable non-profit that is making a difference.
- Talk with your kids about the national problem, and then share what they have personally experienced. Sharing a common experience will help them not feel like they are the only ones who are suffering.
- Talk to your partner who is incarcerated and ask them if they would be willing to write an impact statement you can share with others.
- Post a video of your family sharing the impact of incarceration and share it. You can add stats about the scope of the problem to help educate people about the magnitude of difficulties people face before, during, and after incarceration.
I want to encourage you to DO YOUR PART TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Together, we can change the world.
I am rooting for you!