2017, was a wonderful year in every sense of the word. Yes, there were ups and downs, challenges that needed to be overcome, and stumbling blocks turned into stepping stones. Somehow in the midst of it, 2017 felt different. It felt as if the seeds planted years ago were watered and begun to take root. Stories of returning citizens were getting out to the public through various mediums highlighting the challenges, showcasing the successes, and shining a light on the redemptive qualities of returning citizens.
Due to the authentic nature of these conversations, whether they were held in the home, community meetings, the boardroom, or by various legislative assemblies, processes, and procedures began to take shape potentially allowing the lives of returning citizens to finally move forward in a productive manner. Politicians are discussing solution-oriented policy, organizations are looking into the creation and implementation of wraparound services, and communities are calling for a voice especially in a state like Florida which is on the verge of putting a voter restoration amendment on the 2018 ballot due to close to 1 million signatures collected.
In 2018, I see the seed breaking ground and eventually blossoming into something of beauty. May God’s grace and mercy continue to cover everyone reading this. May your cup run over due to your commitment to something greater than yourself. May the conversations, the developmental programs, and sacrifices made in 2017 prove fruitful not only for the individuals but also for the families and communities they represent. Happy New Year!