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 …

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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.