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:
If 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
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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.
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