I had a son who was in jail for two years. And I find out, when somebody goes to jail, the whole family goes. When they get outta jail, a lot of times the family don’t want to be bothered with them. They don’t have the support. Everybody don’t want Johnny sleeping on their couch, and everybody don’t want Mary just laying around the house not doing anything. But Mary can’t get a job, cause she have a felony. So I see prison separating a lot of families. Even talking about redemption and forgiveness, it’s really important that we, as family members, we have to get involved. We have to get involved and be willing to forgive them, and really give them a chance.
It has been a fight. I’ve been doing petitions over five years. What people don’t know is that there’s a lot of disenfranchised people out there working for this thing. That’s canvassing, that’s door knocking, that’s phone talking, trying to reach others. Really trying to make a difference in the community. We’d had a lot of super volunteers out here helping us over the last several years fighting for second chances. And we want to continue. We got to make it to the end. We got to cross the goal, we got to make it.
If you need someone to pull you out of the gutter, call me.
It’s exciting. I believe we can do this in Florida, but you feel apprehensive inside. The thing is to get the people out and to really vote in November. And a lot of them don’t understand, so we we go around trying to educate people and let them know the importance in the vote. So many people say, ‘My vote don’t count.’ These are the stories that you hear. But that’s not true. And it’s not the money. Walmart is the richest company in the world and they can put you up as the candidate because they got the money. Well, money never went to the poll to vote. People do.
I found that we had to get the family to understand. Paul deserves another chance. Because if Paul comes home and he has nowhere to go, what’s going to happen? He has to come back to the community, and the community needs to work with the church and the family so they can come together. It would change our communities, and it would make our communities more safe for families to have their fathers and their mothers back. We just need more people to open up their hearts for these people. Give them some encouragement. Give them some kind of hope.
I’m always trying to bring churches together, to get them to understand it’s not always easy making change. Years ago we was taught state and church didn’t have no dealing. So I’ll go to some of the pastors and they’ll say, “I’m not dealing with politics.’ So I’ll say, ‘What about a second chance? What about forgiveness? Do you deal with that?’
But it’s a challenge. I got beat up in the parking lot by one old lady about three to four years ago, little old lady, probably 87 years old with a pocket book. I was going around with my petition clipboard and we were getting petitions signed to get on the ballot, and she was walking with her son and daughter. And she said, ‘Don’t tell me about no second chance. My grandson, I gave him 10 chances, and he still came back and robbed me.’ She wasn’t hurting me, but she was just hitting me with a pocket book. So, you know, some people are angry. Everybody don’t believe.
Because I love people, I believe in people, and it blesses me to see people better themselves. I’m the eldest of nine children. My mother basically raised us by herself, and we always was there to encourage people. I guess it’s just a Mother Moses, or Mother Teresa thing was always in me, because I’m there to help encourage them or let them know, ‘You can do it. You don’t have to be like this.’ I was always for the underdog. The one that’s under for some reason, I’m there trying to pick that one up, and tell them, You know, you can make it.’