Today we feel so much gratitude. Gratitude, of course, for our families and friends, as we do each and every year on this day. This year is special, though, because it marks our first Thanksgiving since our launch less than 2 months ago (feels like much longer!). So, on our first Thanksgiving as Root & Rebound, we take this moment to reflect on the immense gratitude we feel to the community of formerly incarcerated advocates, reentry practitioners, academics, human rights activists, educators, and changemakers who have opened their doors to us in the last two months, and given us their time, energy and expertise—just because they believe in us and our work.
This has been the most overwhelmingly wonderful part of our work—seeing that people who, on paper, seem too successful, too busy, or too important to take the time to talk to the two of us, actually, after so many years, have so much passion for their work, for making the world a better place, that they never tire of encouraging others who are just entering this field, and giving them hope that they, too, can make a difference.
There have been many times in our lives, as I know is true for all of us, when we have come across people who refuse to help, who turn their backs when they are asked to do for others. These experiences can make us jaded and tired, can cause us to shut down and close off to the world (an experience we both had in law school). But the last two months have shown us that these people and these experiences are few and far between, and that there are so many wonderful people who light up with enthusiasm at the opportunity to get involved with yet another project.
These incredible people have made our program stronger, and by reaching back after walking through the doors of success, have enhanced our ability to do that for others. So thank you, thank you to everyone who has taken time out of their demanding jobs and busy schedules to lend us their advice and expertise.
We would especially like to thank our incredible founding Board of Directors and Advisory Board, people who have committed to continuing to be a part of our work. We could not do it without them, and we have great hope for the future of our organization because of them.
Our Board of Directors is currently made up of these wonderful folks:
- Jody Lewen, Executive Director, Prison University Project
- Debbie Mukamal, Executive Director, Stanford Criminal Justice Center
- Laurie Parise, Executive Director, Youth Represent
- Janet Leban, Retired; Former Executive Director, Delaware Center for Justice
- Loren Lewallen, Research Analyst, Select Equity Group
- Katherine Katcher, Executive Director, Root & Rebound
Our Advisory Board is currently made up of these wonderful folks:
- Jason Bell, Director, Project Rebound
- Airto Morales, Data Specialist, Project Rebound
- Alton McSween, 3 Strikes Reform Advocate and Reentry Coordinator, California Reentry Institute
- Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law; Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society at Berkeley Law School
- Stephanie Sauter, Attorney, Law Project of Los Angeles
- Elie Miller, Attorney, Pepperdine/ Union Rescue Mission Legal Aid Clinic
- Brittany Stringfellow Otey, Attorney and Clinical Professor, Pepperdine/ Union Rescue Mission Legal Aid Clinic
- Ronald Jacobi, Of Counsel, Bryan Cave, LLP
- Charlotte Cassel, M.P.H., J.D. Candidate May 2014, University of Miami, 2014 Equal Justice Fellow
- Elizabeth Wegner, P.H.D. Candiate, Clinical Psychology, May 2014, Columbia University & Psychology Pre-Doctoral Intern, CAPS UCLA
- Annie West Honart, M. Phil, M.D. Candidate, May 2014, Columbia University
- Leonard Rubio, Executive Assistant, Prison University Project
We are so incredibly grateful for your commitment and service.
—The R & R Team