On a cool, sunny Friday morning of September 9th, 2016 a movement and historic event took place in Oakland CA. The 2016 inaugural FICPFM – Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People & Family Movement Conference, which was led by and for the formerly incarcerated and convicted.  Among them were many supporters that included family members, attorneys, scholars, activists and organizers, Dorsey Nunn, All of Us or None, Susan Burton, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, Glenn Martin, Just Leadership USA, Albert Woodfox, activist, former political prisoner and last of the Angola 3 to be released after spending 4 decades in solitary confinement to name a few.  For me it was like a family reunion seeing all those people from across the country representing 37 states, all united for the movement and responding to the clarion call or battle cry “All of Us or None of Us.”
Personally I have never been surrounded by so much passion and energy in the atmosphere in my life.  It was clear from the very first day that everyone led with conviction of their convictions, without any fear and without shame of stigma.  They wore it with honor based on the resilience of their life experiences and the accomplishments of their work.  I know for a fact from my own experience and all the people I’ve met over the years doing this work, that our life experiences have value and power that holds weight greater anyone else fighting for criminal justice reform.  In the words of CNN Hero award winner Kim Carter of Time For Change Foundation, “I don’t have a PHD, I have a PH Do.”  I believe everyone who attended left there inspired, empowered, energized and ready to return to their communities across the country to do something transformational to the criminal justice system.
Darwin Hamilton
Board Member, Grassroots Leadership
Texas Advocates for Justice

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