Last Thursday, we were extremely honored to have Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries join our very own Congressman Troy Carter for a tour of The First 72+ and our new Ben Smith Welcome Home Center!
“It was an honor to join Congressman Troy Carter, a champion in Congress for criminal justice reform, on this informative tour of The First 72+,” said Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. “The work that this organization is doing is critical to reducing rates of recidivism and breaking the cycle of incarceration that is tearing so many communities and families apart. It was inspiring to hear about their successes in the New Orleans area and learn about how we can continue to partner with them at the federal level.”
In 2018, Jeffries was the lead Democratic sponsor of the First Step Act, which helped stand up an infrastructure so that formerly incarcerated individuals could successfully transition back into society. “I’m grateful to Congressman Carter and The First 72+ for their tremendous leadership in providing individuals with housing, job support and more so that they can return to their communities and pursue their God-given potential.”
Congressman Troy Carter, a long standing supporter of the First 72+ and our mission, followed: “I am truly honored to have Leader Hakeem Jeffries join me in visiting The First 72+... Leader Jeffries and I both believe that once the debt is paid to society, [formerly incarcerated individuals] must have a fair chance to live a respectable and normal life. This auspicious organization assists with housing, employment, health care and a host of other programs that aid in returning citizens to the community where they can thrive.”
At the press conference (where our usual 9 Steps Class is held for clients), our staff were able to ask policy questions on behalf of our clients directly to Congressman Carter and Leader Jeffries. Chloe Dinman, our Policy Analyst asked about making TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) licensing easier to access for the FIP community, and Meagan Jordan, our Economic Empowerment Coordinator asked about the various barriers that formerly incarcerated individuals experience in qualifying for grants and loans through SBA due to felony convictions, and possible federal legislation or policy that could be put forward to fix this.
Our Co-Executive, Pastor Tyrone Smith said it best: “A divided house will never stand but with great men like Hakeem Jeffries and Troy Carter, organizations like the First 72+ will never fall.”
Watch the video from Capture Connect Media here!