Words & Banter

Have You Ever Wanted A Second Chance?

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash


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I had no idea that April was “Second Chance Month” until you sent me the official proclamation. I find it interesting that in the midst of juggling our usual million and one Red & Black things, your interest in criminal justice, which I know you consider a “passion project”, is as strong as ever, maybe even stronger.


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It is not intentional, sometimes “passion projects” find you. And, when you least expect it.


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Or where you least expect it! Only you would take a “field trip” to a men’s prison.


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I will not get on my soapbox about how our education system contributes to the criminal justice problem. I will never forget a friend of mine who was formerly incarcerated telling me, “Rehabilitating people makes the assumption they were habilitated in the first place.”


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When you stop and think about that statement, it’s pretty powerful! But I have to smile as once upon a time you, and I, used words like “offenders” and “prisoners” until we learned how our choice of words could be dehumanizing.


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Says the woman who once believed in the idea of “lock ’em up and throw away the key”.

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That was before! I know you told me that just because someone made a bad decision, it didn’t make them a bad person, but it sounded like a cliche. Now, my opinion is based on our experience and the impact we’ve seen. The feedback has been eye-opening. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with “do-overs.”

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Exactly. None of us are perfect. We have all made bad decisions. Second chances are about opportunities to show we have learned from our mistakes.

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Well, I know I have. Obviously, not anything illegal. But it made me determined to teach my daughters what I had learned. Probably one of the most heartwarming parts of the feedback we’ve received is that so many people on the inside want better – not only for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren.

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Yes, which is why having a second chance is so critical. And, helping set people up for success, not failure, because it is about more than changing the lives of the formerly incarcerated -- it can change the lives of their families and, in turn, our communities and our country.

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A ripple effect that could mean more people may get it right the first time and not need a second chance.

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True. Maybe we should look at it as giving society a second chance …
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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As much of a history buff as I am, I’m embarrassed to admit that for a long time, I didn’t know March was Women’s History Month. But now that I do, I’m amazed by all the inspirational stories of women’s remarkable achievements.


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Too bad Natasha and Sawyer do not still live at home; it would be fun to start a conversation by asking them what women they find inspiring.


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I already know who they would pick. The first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And I’d have to agree with them. Your Ferrari racing has made an impact on so many people. But especially girls.


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Until you mentioned it several years ago, I never thought about that. In the 1970s, I was one of the few women in business school. I then made a career in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. I am used to being a “token” female.


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Trust me. I watch people whenever we’ve done speaking engagements. It’s predictable ... we put up the family tree, and Natasha and Sawyer get awws, but your two racecars get everyone’s attention.
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Were you like Red and shocked when the actor Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer for years? Cancer isn’t only for older people, and recent studies show more people under 50 are getting cancer. (Doctors aren’t sure why but suspect it may be due to less physical activity, more highly processed foods, and new toxins.) That’s why cancer screenings are more important than ever!

February may be Cancer Prevention Month – but we need to do it all year! Every year. And is why we’re rerunning last year’s post …



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I know that cancer isn’t the “death sentence” it used to be when we were growing up, but it’s still a very scary word. Especially if it’s heard “close to home”.


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When we were young, the word was rarely said. And if it was, it was whispered or referred to as the “ c-word.”


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Kind of like when I had my two miscarriages. No one wanted even to acknowledge, let alone talk about, them. Which made it all the more difficult to get through it, although intellectually, I knew it was not uncommon.


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Unfortunately, neither is cancer. It is the second-leading cause of death in the world, surpassed only by heart disease. But, at least, it is no longer a taboo subject.


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Please don’t make this about numbers. It’s about people. Which you should know. I’m sure you remember when Daddy was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer , which luckily was treatable. And I’ve had skin cancer, although I was very fortunate, it was caught early and easily treated.
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Even though Red’sthe warm and fuzzy one and Black’s extremely pragmatic, we both think of hearts on Valentine’s Day. Just not in quite the same way …



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Happy Valentine’s Day. And before you say anything, yes, I know you don’t celebrate holidays, so just humor me.


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But, I do “celebrate” February being American Heart Month since heart disease is the leading cause of death – for both men and women.


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Gee, that’s one way to turn a “fun” holiday into a real downer. Today’s supposed to be about letting people you love and care about know that you’re thinking of them. Think Hallmark cards, squishy teddy bears, chocolate hearts.
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