On April 29, 2022 LMM hosted the second Charles R. See Forum on Reentry, which honors Mr. See’s 44 years of service at LMM and his work leading the innovative Community Re-Entry program. The forum was endowed thanks to several generous donors, with the goal of continuing Mr. See’s legacy by bringing continued attention to the challenges faced by returning citizens – and identifying possible solutions.
The forum, which took place at the City Club of Cleveland, featured Ms. Susan Burton, the founder of A New Way of Life (ANWOL). ANWOL works to breaks the cycle of incarceration by providing housing, case
management, employment, legal services, leadership development and community organization on behalf of, and along with people who struggle to rebuild their lives after incarceration. Ms. Burton is an advocate, activist, and author of Becoming Ms. Burton where she shares her own experiences with addiction, incarceration, and trauma.
Joining Ms. Burton in a lively conversation moderated by Rachel Dissell of the Cleveland Documenters and the Marshall Project, was Malika Kidd, LMM’s Program Director of Workforce Development, and Dr. Roxanne Coey, Assistant Deputy Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Topics covered by these three impressive speakers included the need for compassion and empathy for returning citizens, the importance of supportive employers, and the need to ban the box on housing applications. Currently, individuals can be denied rental housing because they have a criminal record. Even a misdemeanor offense can lead to a denial.
The Charles R. See Forum highlighted multiple facets of LMM’s programming. Leading up to the forum, LMM’s Community Engagement Coordinator Gloria Craig facilitated two discussions on the book, Becoming Ms. Burton, which highlighted key aspects of the autobiography, and encouraged staff partners to share how they related to the book. The third and final convening focused on the forum’s discussion.
A photo exhibit by LMM’s Volunteer Coordinator Lydia Bailey was displayed prominently in The City Club’s lobby. The photos, which are part of a larger exhibit which will be release in September, titled “Portraits of Strength,” featured staff partners at the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside and their stories of overcoming addiction, homelessness, and at times incarceration, before finding their calling at LMM.
Further, all 18 participants in LMM’s Chopping for Change program were in attendance. The women prepared for the event by reading Becoming Ms. Burton, the keynotes autobiography and meeting with her in a private conversation a few days prior to the event. They then served their pastry creations at a small reception following the event. We are thrilled the ladies were able to just at the City Club and hope they found the conversation both impactful and inspiring.
This forum would not have been possible without the support and guidance of the forum Host Committee: Tom Andrzejewski, Judge Ron Adrine, Bruce Akers, Simeon Best, Crystal Bryant, Sharyna Cloud, George Hrbek, Dan Moulthrop, Beth Sersig, Melanie Shakarian, Maria Smith, and Katrice Williams or without the support of the Cuyahoga County Department of Reentry.
This program, took place during Cuyahoga County’s annual Reentry Awareness Week.
– written by LMM’s Advocacy Directory, Margie Glick