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Can Do - Guardian Angel Program

Can Do - Guardian Angel Program

As we enter the home stretch leading up to January 20, 2017 – the final day of President Obama’s administration, a sense of urgency is setting in as family members worry about whether their loved one in prison will be on the next list of clemency recipients.  President Obama has stepped it up and has been commuting sentences every month, but there are so many worthy candidates still waiting to learn their fate.  As the clock winds down, more and more people are contacting the CAN-DO Foundation either seeking help or offering to help.  This combination of those in need, plus good samaritans expressing a desire to help planted a seed that has germinated into the CAN-DO Guardian Angel Program.  This will last until one of two things occur.  Your clemency applicant receives their own set of wings in the form of clemency, or, President Obama leaves office, at which point we hope your applicant is on the final list.  Heading up the program as Directors are two Obama clemency recipients, Ramona Brant and Jason Hernandez who are already moving mountains to help clemency applicants. Clemency Recipient Ramona Brant, who had the extraordinary opportunity to meet, and have lunch with President Obama, will be one of the Directors of the Guardian Angel Program.  Ramona has been to the White House on four separate occasions and has spoken on numerous clemency panels and on Capitol Hill.  Jason Hernandez was the first Latino to receive clemency from President Obama and has been emphasizing the need for more people of the hispanic community to be set free, especially Latinas. He co-founded Crack Open the Door to help raise awareness and spotlight people seeking clemency and wrote an Op Ed for Fusion entitled Why hasn’t President Obama granted clemency to a single Latina inmate?  The article focused on Josephine Ledezma and Rita Becerra who are on the CAN-DO Top 25.  He is already their Guardian Angel and a perfect fit to help provide guidance for others who want to be part of this epic and historic effort by the Obama administration.

This program will allow us to be more efficient, organized and hands on for all the worthy souls who have suffered for so long and deserve every opportunity possible to win that clemency lottery ticket.

Here is how it works:

CAN-DO Guardian Angel ProjectIf you want to be a Guardian Angel, we can assign, or you can choose a clemency applicant from our Top 25 Women or Top 25 Men who need someone to watch over them. You may have time to watch over TWO applicants but we prefer that you don’t take on more than you are able to handle.  This is a labor of love and compassion.  There will be no pay and your only reward will be knowing that you are helping someone during their most desperate hour, who deserves a second chance and may not get it if they do not maximize their chances.

Don’t worry – you will not be alone – this is a joint venture and we intend to make this as smooth as possible, yet patience is required at all times as we navigate these waters together.  Initially, we will introduce and connect you to an applicant that you are comfortable communicating with.  This will occur using inmate email (Corrlinks) and/or phone and/or text (most prisons are now allowing prisoners to text).  Moreover, you will assist (with our direction and help) with some and/or all of the following:

  1. Determine the status of their clemency petition – whether it has been filed and assigned a # by Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) If not, send an email to OPA seeking the current status. We have a template.
  2. Determine whether they have a CAN-DO Profile page and if not, provide the applicant with a list of questions that we already have available.  Coordinate with a family member or applicant to obtain 2-3 photos for the profile page.
  3. Determine whether applicant has provided a liability release form. If not, mail them one that you will be able to download from this page.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the details of applicants case, strong points, health issues, etc.  If they have a profile page, check the information to make sure it is up to date.  Send applicant a copy for them to review.
  5. Assist with media outreach – if applicant wishes media.  We will provide some media contacts.
  6. Determine whether Judge has written letter supporting clemency and if not, determine if contacting the Judge is a viable option and proceed – someone with CAN-DO will assist and provide oversight, if necessary.  We suggest making a phone call first and will provide assistance and review letter before anything is mailed out.
  7. Encourage family to contact their Congress member to seek support and can provide tips on how to proceed.
  8. Determine whether applicant has a change.org petition and if not, determine whether they are a good candidate and/or desire one.
  9. If and when applicant has a change.org petition it’s important to promote the petition using social media.  Amy Povah will optimize the number of signatures due to our partnership with Change.org; all drug clemency petitions are under the CAN-DO Movement page. CAN-DO now has over 200,000 followers on the CAN-DO Movement page.
  10. Strategize on how to get your applicant the maximum exposure and assistance they need to come home.
  11. Finally, if your applicant received clemency, we hope you will help us secure a laptop for them.  We have determined that a decent laptop can be purchased for $300.  It is not mandatory, but if you are able to raise $150, CAN-DO will match that for a total of $300 to go toward the one item everyone uses daily to succeed – a computer.  This is also within reason – if somehow this program has over 100 people get out at one time, we may not be able to meet that quota, but we hope that is the worst case scenario and will cross that bridge when we get there.

Soon, we will have more tools in the form of templates and hyperlinks that you can access to see how best to contact the Pardon Attorney, write a support letter, change.org petition or find out who who your Congress member is.

We will also create a Guardian Angel comment page where you can ask questions, provide information about your applicant, updates, status, etc.  And, we are all just a text, email or phone call away.  Amy Povah is completely hands on and working day and night to try to get as many profiles up of clemency applicants who are seeking assistance and exposure.

If you don’t have time to be a Guardian Angel but want to help with the cause in some other way, we are open to suggestions.  Some of the best ideas are the ones we have not yet thought of.  Please contact us using this link. CAN-DO Foundation 



Resources

Resources

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American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
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Bonds for JobsThe Work Opportunities Tax-Credit and the Federal Bonding Program are the only 2 National federal programs for re-entry. WOTC provides employers who hire ex-offenders a tax write off of up to $2,400.00. The FBOP provides free Tax Theft Insurance to the employer who hires a releasee.
BOP Bureau of Prisons UNICORFederal Prison Industries (commonly referred to as FPI or by its trade name UNICOR) is a wholly owned, Government corporation established by Congress on June 23, 1934. Its mission is to employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons; contribute to the safety and security of our Nation’s Federal correctional facilities by keeping inmates constructively occupied; produce market-priced quality goods and services for sale to the Federal Government; operate in a self-sustaining manner; and minimize FPI’s impact on private business and labor.
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Jason Hernandez was the first Latino to receive clemency from President Obama and has been emphasizing the need for more people of the hispanic community to be set free, especially Latinas. He co-founded Crack Open the Door to help raise awareness and spotlight people seeking clemency and wrote an Op Ed for Fusion entitled Why hasn’t President Obama granted clemency to a single Latina inmate? The article focused on Josephine Ledezma and Rita Becerra who are on the CAN-DO Top 25. He is already their Guardian Angel and a perfect fit to help provide guidance for others who want to be part of this epic and historic effort by the Obama administration. This program will allow us to be more efficient, organized and hands on for all the worthy souls who have suffered for so long and deserve every opportunity possible to win that clemency lottery ticket. Here is how it works: CAN-DO Guardian Angel ProjectIf you want to be a Guardian Angel, we can assign, or you can choose a clemency applicant from our Top 25 Women or Top 25 Men who need someone to watch over them. You may have time to watch over TWO applicants but we prefer that you don’t take on more than you are able to handle. This is a labor of love and compassion. There will be no pay and your only reward will be knowing that you are helping someone during their most desperate hour, who deserves a second chance and may not get it if they do not maximize their chances. Don’t worry – you will not be alone – this is a joint venture and we intend to make this as smooth as possible, yet patience is required at all times as we navigate these waters together. Initially, we will introduce and connect you to an applicant that you are comfortable communicating with. This will occur using inmate email (Corrlinks) and/or phone and/or text (most prisons are now allowing prisoners to text). Moreover, you will assist (with our direction and help) with some and/or all of the following: Determine the status of their clemency petition – whether it has been filed and assigned a # by Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) If not, send an email to OPA seeking the current status. We have a template. Determine whether they have a CAN-DO Profile page and if not, provide the applicant with a list of questions that we already have available. Coordinate with a family member or applicant to obtain 2-3 photos for the profile page. Determine whether applicant has provided a liability release form. If not, mail them one that you will be able to download from this page. Familiarize yourself with the details of applicants case, strong points, health issues, etc. If they have a profile page, check the information to make sure it is up to date. Send applicant a copy for them to review. Assist with media outreach – if applicant wishes media. We will provide some media contacts. Determine whether Judge has written letter supporting clemency and if not, determine if contacting the Judge is a viable option and proceed – someone with CAN-DO will assist and provide oversight, if necessary. We suggest making a phone call first and will provide assistance and review letter before anything is mailed out. Encourage family to contact their Congress member to seek support and can provide tips on how to proceed. Determine whether applicant has a change.org petition and if not, determine whether they are a good candidate and/or desire one. If and when applicant has a change.org petition it’s important to promote the petition using social media. Amy Povah will optimize the number of signatures due to our partnership with Change.org; all drug clemency petitions are under the CAN-DO Movement page. CAN-DO now has over 200,000 followers on the CAN-DO Movement page. Strategize on how to get your applicant the maximum exposure and assistance they need to come home. Finally, if your applicant received clemency, we hope you will help us secure a laptop for them. We have determined that a decent laptop can be purchased for $300. It is not mandatory, but if you are able to raise $150, CAN-DO will match that for a total of $300 to go toward the one item everyone uses daily to succeed – a computer. This is also within reason – if somehow this program has over 100 people get out at one time, we may not be able to meet that quota, but we hope that is the worst case scenario and will cross that bridge when we get there. Soon, we will have more tools in the form of templates and hyperlinks that you can access to see how best to contact the Pardon Attorney, write a support letter, change.org petition or find out who who your Congress member is. We will also create a Guardian Angel comment page where you can ask questions, provide information about your applicant, updates, status, etc. And, we are all just a text, email or phone call away. Amy Povah is completely hands on and working day and night to try to get as many profiles up of clemency applicants who are seeking assistance and exposure. If you don’t have time to be a Guardian Angel but want to help with the cause in some other way, we are open to suggestions. Some of the best ideas are the ones we have not yet thought of. Please contact us using this link. CAN-DO Foundation
Center for Constitutional RightsThe Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
Center for Media Justice Founded in 2002, the Center for Media Justice is a national movement building intermediary to strengthen the communications effectiveness of grassroots racial justice sectors, and sustain a powerful local-to-local movement for media rights and access.
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CIC Pop-Up Think Tank: Reimagining the C.T.F-Correctional Treatment Facility The Greater Washington Urban League Building CIC Pop-Up Think Tank: Reimagining the C.T.F-Correctional Treatment Facility The Greater Washington Urban League Building On February 1, 2017 The DC Department of Corrections will assume responsibility for the Correctional Treatment Facility that serves as our local jail for short term DC Code Offenders. For the past 20 years this facility, located at 1901 E ST. SE, Wash., D.C. has been operated by the Corrections Corporation of America. As the District transitions and positions itself to effectively operate the CTF the community will weigh in on reimagining a Correctional Treatment Facility that is humane and rehabilitative. Come and join us as Local leaders, practitioners, advocates, family members and formerly incarcerated individuals are all welcome to embark on this very important discussion. Bring your insight on nationally recognized programs, best practices in criminal justice as well as the importance of family reunification and community engagement for incarcerated district residents and their loved ones. Please register before Monday, July 11, 2016 . For more information contact: Lashonia Thompson-El lashonia.thompson@dc.gov or Phil Mosby Phillip.mosby@dc.gov at 202-727-9748.
Community ConnectionsCommunity Connections is the largest not-for-profit mental health agency serving men, women and children in the nation's capital.
Corrections TodayCorrections Today is the professional membership publication of the American Correctional Association (ACA). Its international readership includes individuals involved in every sector of the corrections and criminal justice fields. The magazine is published six times a year; see the Editorial Calendar below for details.
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DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Jobs TrainingDC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Jobs TrainingPlease be advised that the DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Jobs Training program is still accepting applications for our July 5th class. The attached flyer will provided you and your team with needed information to be disseminated the DC’s Returning Citizen population. If you would like for a member of our team to deliver application packets to you so as to be available for your listening audience, we will be more than happy to accommodate your request. We thank you for taking the time to read and consider our information. We look forward to partnering with you and your team in the immediate future. Terrell “Chef Tee” Danley Culinary Instructor - DC Central Kitchen Direct: 202-601-7306 Fax: 202 266-2023 tdanley@dccentralkitchen.org www.dccentralkitchen.org Feeding the “Soul” of the City…
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Family Members’ Experiences with Incarceration and Reentry*This paper explores the impact of the incarceration and return of individuals from prison on their families, including relationships with intimate partners, adult family members, and children.
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Pens to Paper to Parents in PrisonPens to Paper to Parents in PrisonOn Saturday, June 4, 2016, the DC Corrections Information Council (CIC) facilitated a family engagement letter-writing party, entitled Pens to Paper to Parents in Prison. The idea for the event was born on April 26, 2016 during the CIC Pop-up Think Tank when family members, local leaders and formerly incarcerated individuals came together to discuss strategies to increase family engagement with the nearly 4900 DC residents in Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) facilities across the country. Sixteen families attended the event, eager to share their experiences, insight and write letters together. One of the event’s highlights was a conversation between 11-year old Madison Strempek and Tony Lewis, both authors who have fathers in prison. They have become spokespersons for this population in an effort to encourage pro-social coping skills and reduce stigma for children with incarcerated parents. Others on hand to lend support to children and family members with incarcerated loved ones included: Dr. Avon Hart-Johnson of DC Project Connect, Kyle Bacon of Dreamer’s Academy, Yasmine Arrington of Scholarchips, and Yukia Hugee of London Bridges Inc. Edward Doxen from the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) also participated in the festivities. Special thanks to the CIC staff and interns who facilitated this event. Most of all we extend our sincere gratitude to The Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Ward 8 for hosting the CIC family engagement letter-writing party and to Susan Galbraith for her generous donation for refreshments. As the holidays approach, the CIC will facilitate letter-writing parties in an effort to continue family engagement through written correspondence. Other Methods of Communication with Incarcerated Loved Ones NOTE: None of the communication services are confidential. Communications will be screened, monitored and/or recorded by corrections agencies; and there are no guarantees of delivery. Connect Inmate App This app allows individuals to send a letter or photos to inmates. This app keeps the inmate information saved for an individual to go back and send a new letter or photos at any time using a mobile device. Pigeonly The system allows individuals to send photos electronically to inmates for 20 cents a photo, plus shipping & handling. Individuals can upload pictures from the phone, computer, or social media sites. Pigeonly prints photos and mails them to any institution throughout the U.S. There is an inmate locator system that allows senders to find registration numbers and addresses. CorrLinks Email System CorrLinks allows inmates to correspond via email with persons outside of correctional facilities. An inmate must send an email request to be added to their email correspondence list. Once an individual approves the email request, they may exchange emails with the inmate through the CorrLinks website. The inmate must pay to read and respond to messages. CorrLinks Videoconferencing Pilot Program CorrLinks now supports video chat using your personal computer. Video session times are set by each institution, but are generally available daily. Sessions are 25 minutes at $6.00 per session, which is charged to the inmate. Inmates can schedule up to 2 visits a day with a max of 3 scheduled at any given time. Anyone approved for email correspondence can use the video visitation service. CorrLinks Video Service is being piloted at SFF Hazelton, a women’s facility in WV, with plans to roll out Bureau-wide. Textinmate.com The system allows inmates to send and receive messages through their CorrLinks account. Each inmate will get their own dedicated SMS phone number for their friends and family to send and receive messages, so loved ones can send texts to inmates as they would to any cell phone number. The inmate will be able to receive and respond to text messages on the CorrLinks computer system. The Corrections Information Council (CIC) is an independent agency mandated to inspect, monitor, and report on the conditions of confinement at facilities where DC residents are incarcerated.The CIC does not handle individual complaints, provide legal representation or provide legal advice.Listings and/or links to product sites do not constitute endorsement by the CIC of any product, service, organization, company, information provider, or content. The address for the CIC is: 2901 14th Street, NW, Ground Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone: 202.478.9211
Prison Families of New YorkPrison Families of New York has very limited resources at this time and is unable to personally respond to your concerns. However, there are still as number of ways we may be able to help you.
Prison Fellowship, Inc.We believe that no life is beyond the reach of God’s power, and we envision a future in which countless prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families, are redeemed, restored, and reconciled through the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
Prison Free People SearchInmate prison searches are now on line and can be accessed for free in several states. Most of the inmate searches are by name and provide a recent photo. Some states require a fee for this service, and the information that is included varies.
Prison Legal NewsPrison Legal News (PLN), a project of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center, is a 64-page monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and prison and jail-related civil litigation, with an emphasis on prisoners' rights.
Prisoner ExpressThe Prisoner Express program, sponsored by the Durland Alternatives Library, promotes rehabilitation by offering inmates information, education and the opportunity for creative self-expression in a public forum. Participation in this program fosters self-exploration, enrichment and knowledge. The Durland Alternatives Library has a number of ongoing programs as parts of its Prisoners Express project.
Prisoner LifeAn open and uncensored forum networking prisoners and the world.
Prison TalkThe PrisonTalk Online web community was conceived in a prison cell, designed in a halfway house, and funded by donations from families of ex-offenders, to bring those with an interest in the prisoner support community a forum in which their issues and concerns may be addressed by others in similar circumstances and beliefs.
Rights of Deaf & Hard of Hearing InmatesThe National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation's premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
Remembering LortonThe Workhouse, Reformatory and Penitentiary buildings of the DC Prison at Lorton were active over a 92-year period on land bought by the US Govt. for use by the District of Columbia's penal system. The initial purchase in 1910 of 1155 acres on the Occoquan River grew eventually to as much as 3500 acres. Pursuing a Progressive-Era reform policy, the Workhouse and Reformatory were supposed to “rehabilitate and reform prisoners through fresh air, good food and honest work.”
Samaritan InnsSamaritan Inns' mission is to provide structured housing and recovery services in an environment of support and accountability that will give homeless and addicted men and women the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
Senior Community Service Employment ProgramThe District’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) offers subsidized skills training and job placement assistance to disadvantaged District residents ages 55 years and older.
Serenity Social Services CentreSerenity Incorporated, a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization is dedicated to serving the Washington, DC metropolitan area to aid in the decrease of recidivism.
Sesame Street and the Children of Incarcerated ParentsThe incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers. It can bring about big changes and transitions. In simple everyday ways, you can comfort your child and guide her through these tough moments. With your love and support she can get through anything that comes her way. Here are some tools to help you with the changes your child is going through
Solitary WatchSolitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails is one of the nation's most pressing domestic human rights issues—and also one of the most invisible. Solitary Watch is a web-based project aimed at bringing the widespread use of solitary confinement out of the shadows and into the light of the public square.
The Beat Withinhe Beat Within’s mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth both inside and outside of detention. We are committed to being an effective bridge between youth who are locked up and the community that aims to support their progress towards a healthy, non-violent, and productive life.
The Crime ReportThe Crime Report (TCR) is the nation’s only comprehensive news service covering the diverse challenges and issues of 21st century criminal justice in the U.S. and abroad. Staffed by working journalists in New York, Washington and Los Angeles, it is published daily through the year by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
The Death Penalty Information CenterThe Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.
The Fire InsideA quarterly publication dedicated to providing a space for people incarcerated in women's prisons and their supporters to communicate with each other and the broader public about the issues and experiences prisoners face through articles, art and poetry. El Boletín The Fire Inside es una publicación cuatrimestral con una circulación de 2,800 ejemplares que está dedicada a proveendo un espacio para mujeres en la cárcel y sus apoyos para comunicarse con otros y difundir publicamente sobre los temas y experiencias que enfrentan las mujeres en la carcel a travéz de artículos, arte y poesía.
The Gorilla Convict - The Lorton ExperienceIn 1910 the U.S. Government acquired land along the Occoquan River in Southeastern Fairfax County, Virginia. This site became the Occoquan workhouse, designed first as a workhouse and later as a reformatory for the District of Columbia. Inmates worked on a 1,200 acre farm raising hogs, cattle and chickens and built many of the buildings in the complex including the dorms, dining hall, laundry, bake shop, ice plant and hospital. Two sections were added later, the Lorton Reformatory in 1913 and finally the penitentiary in the 1930′s historical documents relate.
The Greater Washington Urban LeagueThe Greater Washington Urban League is a major interracial, nonpartisan, nonprofit social services and civil rights organization with headquarters in the District of Columbia and offices in the District and Prince George's County, Maryland. Our mission is “to increase the economic and political empowerment of blacks and other minorities and to help all Americans share equally in the responsibilities and rewards of full citizenship.”
The Jailhouse Lawyer's HandbookThe Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a federal lawsuit addressing poor conditions in prison or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limited general information about the American legal system. This Handbook is available for free to anyone: prisoners, families, friends, activists, lawyers and others.
The Journal of Prisoners on PrisonsFor 25 years, the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (JPP) has been a prisoner written, academically oriented and peer reviewed, non-profit journal, based on the tradition of the penal press. It brings the knowledge produced by prison writers together with academic arguments to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions. This is particularly important because with few exceptions, definitions of deviance and constructions of those participating in these defined acts are incompletely created by social scientists, media representatives, politicians and those in the legal community.
The Library of Congress (Thomas)Track the progress of a bill through Congress
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday BillThe Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) led the charge for the passage of a federal observation of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, honoring his contribution to the United States. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) first introduced legislation only four days after King was assassinated. Representative Conyers also organized grassroots organizations in support of the King Holiday. For the next 15 years, the CBC would advocate, debate, and sponsor legislation for the holiday. The CBC was steadfast in its efforts.
The National Reentry Resource CenterA project of the counsel of state government justice center. The NRRC's mission is to advance the re-entry field through knowledge transfer and dissemonation and to promote evidence based best practices providing: education, training, technical assistance, etc.
The Odinic RiteIf you wish to join the Odinic Rite and support our work for the advancement of Odin’s Holy Nation you can do so by clicking on the relevent link and filling out the application form. We have separate application for those in Vinland (US & Canada) and those in the UK/Rest of the world
The Power of the Pen, Jailhouse Lawyer's Literacy and Civic Engagement The history of federal law on jailhouse lawyers reveals a Supreme Court grappling to define access to the courts in the context of a prisoner population with limited literacy skills.
The Prisoner's VoiceThe Prisoner's Voice is a blogspot where prisoners can go to voice their thoughts and opinions.
The United States Freedom Foundation U.S. Freedom Foundation is a private, nonpartisan organization founded in Washington, DC on July 1, 2002. Founding Board Members were U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), Golden Rule Insurance Company Chairman Emeritus J. Patrick Rooney, and John E. Stone.
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Washington Post Article:  Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

Washington Post Article: Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

The Washington Post

March 18, 2016

Memorial service to be held for celebrated, controversial Frances Cress Welsing.
Psychiatrist and author Frances Cress Welsing was known for her controversial views on race. (Elvert Barnes/elvertbarnes.com)
By Hamil R. Harris March 17 at 10:32 PM  
When family members, friends, and colleagues of Frances Cress Welsing began planning a memorial service for the psychiatrist and author who devoted her life to studying racism and its root causes, they knew they would have a tall order trying to capture her impact.

She was both celebrated and controversial, but never wavering in her belief that the persistent struggles of people of color were the results of the racism they had endured. Welsing died Jan. 2, a few hours after suffering a stroke. She was 80.
Welsing provided psychiatric services to D.C. government agencies and institutions for 27 years. She also maintained a private practice in the District beginning in 1967, counseling patients until days before her death.
Several of those she helped, such as motivational speaker and radio host Roach Brown, say they owe her their lives.
In 1965, Brown was a 21-year-old inmate at the D.C. Department of Correction’s prison in Lorton, Va. A year earlier, he and two other men had been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a “local fence in a dispute over the price of hot jewelry,” Brown said.

[The price of redemption]

No weapon was ever recovered, and Brown, now 72, has always maintained that he was not the triggerman.
Welsing testified during his trial that his actions were consistent with someone whose environment had led to mental-health problems.
“They ended up giving me life in prison because Dr. Welsing spoke up on my behalf,” said Brown, who went on to start the prison theatrical group Inner Voices. “She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”
Brown, who had his sentenced commuted in 1975, will be among those in attendance at the memorial service for Welsing on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at Metropolitan AME Church in the District. “Dr. Welsing turned me and other guys around,” Brown said. “She was our Harriet Tubman to get out of mental slavery.”

Welsing first gained notoriety in 1969 after she wrote an essay, “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy).” In it she theorized that racism was rooted in the varying degrees of melanin and the “color inferiority” of white people. She argued that the lack of melanin led white people to develop “hostility and aggression” toward people darker than themselves.
 “She had a theory about race and why white people do what they do and I dealt with the what,” said Neely Fuller, author of “The United Independent Compensatory Code System Concept: a textbook/workbook for thought speech and/or action for victims of racism (white supremacy).”

In her 1991 book, “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors,” Welsing again looked at the origins of white supremacy and its impact. She wrote that “black males must help one another to understand that they are being led by the dynamic of white supremacy to inflict extreme damage upon themselves and each other.”

[Welsing’s work provokes different reactions]

“Dr. Welsing’s major contribution as it relates to black mental health was that she had the capacity to challenge the dominant prevailing thought of our society and she gave it the name global white supremacy,” said Kevin Washington, president of the Association of Black Psychologists.

Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University and former director of the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, said Welsing drew heavy criticism for her views, which she expected. She frequently engaged her detractors.

In 1974, she and Stanford University physicist William Shockley, who had argued that blacks were genetically inferior to whites, engaged in debate on the syndicated television show “Tony Brown’s Journal.”
Welsing was born in Chicago in 1935.Her father, Henry N. Cress was a physician, and her mother, Ida Mae Griffen, was a school teacher, and there were high expectations.
“We were taught that we were special,” said Welsing’s older sister, Lorne Cress-Love. “We were encouraged to read and discuss all types of issues.”

Cress-Love said their father and their grandfather, who also was a physician, were passionate about fighting for equality. “My father told us that our grandfather spent more time fighting for the race than practicing medicine.”
In 1957, Welsing earned a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College and in 1962 she earned a medical degree from the Howard University College of Medicine. After graduation, Welsing completed a residency at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington. From 1968 to 1975, she taught in the pediatric department of Howard University’s Medical School.
 







Roach Brown
Motivational Speaker/Criminal Justice Consultant
© The Inner Voices
240.988.3548
Roach@ The Inner Voices.com