Journal Entry 

 Monday, December 4, 2023: Advocacy and Action 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Advocacy and Action: Becoming a Voice for Change Post-Incarceration

In the journey of transformation, especially after incarceration, becoming an advocate for change is not just a possibility but a profound opportunity. At Prison Professors Talent, we recognize the power of advocacy and the importance of the First Amendment of the US Constitution, even for those in prison. We designed our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” to empower individuals to use their voice effectively, emulating leaders like Frederick Douglass to overcome hurdles and become a force for positive change.

The Power of the First Amendment

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

Even in prison, these rights remain crucial. They allow for the expression of thoughts, the sharing of experiences, and the ability to advocate for change. While the context and extent of these rights might differ within the confines of incarceration, the essence of freedom of speech and expression remains a powerful tool for those preparing for reentry.

Emulating Frederick Douglass: A Model of Resilience and Advocacy

Frederick Douglass, born into slavery, became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, known for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. His life is a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome the most daunting of circumstances. Douglass used his voice, his writings, and his unyielding commitment to justice to become a beacon of hope and change.

In the spirit of Douglass, individuals in prison can start to build their voice for advocacy. By engaging in education, writing, and constructive dialogue, they can prepare to become advocates for change upon their release. Our course encourages this kind of preparation, emphasizing the importance of using time in prison constructively and purposefully.

Your Path to Becoming an Advocate

  1. Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power. Understanding your rights, the issues you care about, and the mechanisms of change is crucial.
  2. Develop Your Voice: Whether through writing, speaking, or other forms of expression, find and refine your voice. Share your experiences and insights.
  3. Engage with Others: Collaboration and dialogue are key. Engage with fellow inmates, prison staff, and external organizations to broaden your perspective and impact.
  4. Plan for Action: Use your time in prison to develop a clear plan for how you will advocate for change upon release.

Join Us and Share Your Journey

We invite you to join our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” and start your journey towards becoming an advocate for change. Share your progress, challenges, and aspirations with us at [email protected]. If you include “Request a Book” in the subject line, we will donate a book from our resources to aid in your journey, provided our nonprofit has the resources available.

Books to Guide Your Path

  1. Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Sentence
  2. Success after Prison
  3. Prison! My 8,344th Day
  4. Release Plan 2024
  5. Preparing for Success after Prison

In the spirit of Frederick Douglass and countless others who have used their voices for change, we stand ready to support you in becoming a powerful advocate post-incarceration. Your voice matters, and your experiences can be the catalyst for meaningful change.

Respectfully,

Michael Santos

Founder, Prison Professors Talent