The new community-focused initiative brings together funding from The Just Trust and Stand Together in a nonpartisan effort to change the narrative around reentry and empower communities with action-focused resources and support.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (October 21, 2021) — Today, Roadtrip Nation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people to pursue fulfilling career paths, is launching a new, multi-year storytelling initiative to transform the narrative around formerly incarcerated people and create a greater understanding of the experiences of reentry and incarceration. This is an issue that directly affects the 6.9 million people who are, at any given moment, on probation, in jail, in prison, or on parole in the United States; the more than 100 million people who live with a criminal record; and their families and communities. This project is made possible by joint funding from The Just Trust and Stand Together, who are proud to partner in support of building a better justice system for all.
This new initiative is driven by the voices of formerly incarcerated people who have been most impacted by the criminal justice system—and who must be the ones telling their own stories and leading the conversation about transformation. The main pillars of this initiative are:
Our Community, Our Opportunity, a website and storytelling campaign focused on career pathways after incarceration, features videos with formerly incarcerated people sharing their comeback stories after reentry, paired with resources and information for connecting to programs, training, and careers after incarceration. This site is a resource for formerly incarcerated people, system-impacted families, and those who support them, to connect to opportunities that can empower better outcomes for individuals and communities. It is also a valuable resource for policymakers and employers who want to better understand the experiences of formerly incarcerated people and be part of supporting and empowering their success.
Alongside this site launch, filming begins this week on a new documentary project as part of Roadtrip Nation’s award-winning documentary series on public television. The film aims to shift the narrative around incarceration by centering the voices of those who have experienced the criminal justice system firsthand. The hour-long documentary, premiering nationwide on public television in fall 2022, follows the journey of three formerly incarcerated people—Cordero, Hugo, and London—who are early in navigating reentry and making strides toward a brighter future for themselves and their families. They’ll travel across the country in Roadtrip Nation’s green RV to meet and talk to formerly incarcerated people who have found their purpose and path after incarceration, and whose stories can help give them the confidence and courage to continue. These stories and conversations are a close-up view of the inequities, racial injustices, and more that shape the system, and will help to create greater widespread understanding of the real barriers and challenges to successful reentry, and offer new ways forward.
“We’re honored to amplify these inspiring and necessary stories, where formerly incarcerated people are leading the conversation about their future and the changes that are needed to create pathways to transformative change,” said Mike Marriner, president and co-founder of Roadtrip Nation. “We want to shine a light on their experiences and show the human impacts to these individuals, their families, and their communities, and we’re thrilled that The Just Trust and Stand Together have joined forces to support this critical work, which not only provides a platform for these stories, but offers next steps, resources and tools for action.”
“Who better to tell stories about the impact of incarceration than those with firsthand experience?” said Ana Zamora, Founder and Executive Director of The Just Trust. “We need more groups out there doing what Roadtrip Nation is doing—handing the mic to the people best positioned to help shift the narrative around our criminal justice system.”
“Stand Together’s commitment to improve our country’s criminal justice system means we work with incredible changemakers, many of whom have firsthand knowledge of the challenges they’re working to solve,” said Brian Hooks, Chairman & CEO of Stand Together. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Roadtrip Nation in an effort that will introduce millions of viewers to the challenges that formerly incarcerated people face. By hearing from them in their own words about what needs to change, we’ll encourage more people to take action to help those returning from prison successfully re-enter society.”
For more information, please visit the Our Community, Our Opportunity website.
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About Roadtrip Nation
Roadtrip Nation humanizes career exploration through story and empowers individuals to connect their interests to fulfilling lives and careers. Through its award-winning public television series, New York Times bestselling book “Roadmap,” and educational programs and tools that provide visibility and insights into career possibilities and pathways, Roadtrip Nation gives people from all backgrounds confidence and belief in their ability to persist through challenges and define success for themselves. Roadtrip Nation, a part of Strada Collaborative, has been showcased at the United Nations Social Innovation Summit, Clinton Global Initiative, NBC Education Nation, TEDx, Talks at Google, SXSW, and the Harvard Social Enterprise Forum. For more information, visit roadtripnation.com.
About The Just Trust
The Just Trust is a new fund that is 100% dedicated to powering criminal justice reform, state-by-state and across the nation. We’re a team of grantmakers, directly-impacted people, and allies, and we invest in visionary leaders, organizations, and campaigns—from underdogs to heavyweights, organizers to policy wonks, rural folks to city dwellers—all fighting for the safety and wellbeing of their communities. Visit www.TheJustTrust.org for more information.
About Stand Together
Stand Together empowers people dedicated to helping others improve their lives. Our philanthropic community tackles some of the biggest challenges of our times, including reforming the nation’s criminal justice system, strengthening K–12 education, helping neighbors beat poverty and addiction, empowering everyone to find fulfilling work, and more. We can all make a greater difference by uniting, than we can by acting on our own. Learn more at www.standtogether.org. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.