Wow. I never imagined I’d be asked to speak at an event as important as the 2019 Conscious Capitalism Annual Conference.
I was speechless.
I was given the opportunity to be one of five presenters during the coveted Sum & Substance part of the agenda, which is held on day one of the conference.
I was honored.
In preparation for the event, I kept asking myself, “What’s my goal?” I came to the realization that I needed to capitalize on the chance to show everyone—even my peers in prison jumpsuits—that our past does not define who we are today or, more importantly, who we will be tomorrow.
I want the world to look past the label of “felon” and see us as fellow human beings who are as bright, talented, capable and motivated as those who never stepped foot in a jail cell.
I want the world to open their eyes and arms and embrace our disempowered population and all the skills and potential we possess.
I want the world to see that we are people who have the power and the desire to change and learn and grow.
I want the world to give us a second chance to rebuild our lives and rejoin the workforce.
I drafted and finalized my speech, ready to get in front of the camera to forever cement my story. After everything that I’ve endured in my life, both good and bad, I felt empowered to share my journey of transformation and inspire others in the hopes of changing their hearts and minds as it relates to people behind bars.
We’re all familiar with the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. However, this experience helped me see the benefit in repeating our efforts: the more we use our voice and share our stories, the more lives we can touch and the more impact we can have.
We cannot give up! We must continue moving forward with passion, enthusiasm and a commitment to change for ourselves, our families and for all those who will unfortunately enter those through prison gates tomorrow.
I know there are people who care about our futures. Many were in the room at the Conscious Capitalism conference.
Although I was unable to attend the event in person (pesky logistics), I was given a play-by-play from my peers and fellow panelists who were there.
It was my first time ever presenting my story to a public audience, and it was incredibly nerve-wracking!
Guess what happened? I received a standing ovation that I was able to see because it was filmed for me!
I was amazed that people saw ME for the woman I am today and all the talent, skills and potential that my peers and I possess. I have hope because I know everyone in that room wants to give us a second chance.
Business leaders in the audience are now pledging to remove the felon box from their job applications.
This is huge. A game-changer. A life-changer.
As my days here at Perryville wind down, I, too, will make a pledge: I will never give up. No matter where I go, I will be somebody and I will be successful. I will be a great mother to my children. I will tell my story over and over again, and I will make an impact on the world.