S2EP6: New Beginnings Reentry Services Inc.
Farenheight TV had the incredible opportunity to interview members of an amazing non profit called 'New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc.' and it was one of our favorite interviews! Dressed in my full "Oprah outfit," I was super excited to find out more about what this incredible organization does especially amidst the current political, judicial and social issues that's going on in America.
Since 1985, the incarceration rate in the U.S. has grown 8 times as many. That's 2.2 million people and counting that are currently incarcerated. Globally, the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world and most of the people behind bars, are people of color. Working for a non-profit this past year (that also employs people who were recently incarcerated) I have become even more intrigued in the justice system. Growing up in public housing and witnessing most of my male childhood friends be harassed by the police, followed or constantly questioned, I've seen how certain groups are targeted. With devastating images of unarmed Black men and women being killed by the police in our everyday news, brave leaders (young and old) continuing to fight for justice, the Black Lives Matter movement and all of the recent documentaries, books and conversations about incarceration and the American justice system, I've become informed, uncomfortable and numb by it all.
Often when we hear about people behind bars, we think that if they are released back into society, their transition should feel easier than being in prison. But what we fail to forget is that stigma and fear follows you everywhere you go. In some ways one is "free" but how much freedom are you able to ingest? Do you have family to connect with? Do you have housing? a job? money? healthcare? necessities? As Jerome Pitts, the NEW Manager of the Transition Employment Program Manager at Haley House Bakery Cafe explains, Freedom is a deranged illusion for many.
"Freedom is all in the mind and a lot of people have time to grow spiritually, physically and mentally when they are in prison HOWEVER once released, you're reminded that there is a system that you are up against. Everything that you may have planned on doing, the reality is that you are a felon on top of being a person of color, a lower class in tax bracket and must reconcile your mental growth with reality's retardation. To be politically correct, I mean in its literal definition which is the delayed process of growth NOT the slang term for people with mental challenges. "
(TEP Manager at HH Bakery Cafe - 8 months released from incarceration).
Obtaining '"freedom" is a daily life struggle for many who are released from incarceration and sadly, society never allows them to forget their past. Imagine being released from prison with only $50 in your pocket, no place to sleep and the world at your hands. Reconnecting with your loved ones (if you have any) is a challenge. Applying for a job is a challenge. You are constantly schooled everyday in figuring out who you are in the world. For many women who are released, they do not have a place to go. Stacey Borden, the Founder of 'New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc.' shared with us her struggles and fears (both personal and societal) she had when she was incarcerated. After 20 years (in and out of the prison system) Stacey decided that it was time to acknowledge her demons and heal herself from her trauma. She attended Cambridge College where she focused on mental health and social studies and obtained a Master's degree! Today Stacey is using her past experience, her incredible intellect and her strong will power to uplift, heal and encourage women in our community to live in their greatness.
Watch our FULL episode now to hear Stacey's story, 'New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc.' mission and how you can help support them. 'New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc.' is collaborating with VDay Belmont members to showcase a beautiful and crowd-worthy performance of 'The Vagina Monologues.'
Funds raised will benefit 'New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc.' and ºF-TV had the opportunity to get an exclusive performance of one of the monologues! These actresses come from various backgrounds and are truly talented! Tune in to hear their stories, understand the importance of art for social change and be woke!
Learn more about how you can support New Beginnings Reentry Services, Inc.' by visiting their website here.
Be sure to check out our FINAL summer 2017 episode on Thursday September 21st @ 7pm LIVE at the Boston Neighborhood Network (Comcast 23, RCN 87).