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Real Women, Real Voices: Where People Meet the Policy
December 1, 2016 - December 2, 2016

The Real Women, Real Voices: Where People Meet the Policy symposium organized by the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (The Council) will occur Friday, December 2, 2016 from 5:00-8:00PM. A reception begins at 4pm.

Real Women, Real Voices: Where the People Meet the Policy symposia are a groundbreaking events focusing on the issues, concerns and needed changes affecting incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. The panels feature currently and formerly incarcerated women discussing the effects of incarceration and the carceral state on themselves, their families and their communities.  In less than a year, “Real Women Real Voices: Where the People Meet the Policy” Symposia have been held at the law schools of Columbia University, American University, Loyola University in New Orleans, Yale University and Vanderbilt Divinity School.


Daughters of Incarcerated Parents: Last Plea seeking Clemency from President Barak Obama for their loved ones from LIFE Sentences include:

Ebony & Miko Underwood (William Underwood), Kyndia Riley (Santra Rucker & Darryl Riley), Melody Martin (Curtis McDonald), Ashley Hughes (Roberta Bell), Tretessa Johnson (Alice Johnson), Miquelle West (Michelle West), Ericka Wilson-Herron (Eric Wilson)
Second Chances: Clemency, Pardons and Compassionate Release

The Realities of Reentry: Reentry and Education


Panels and Moderators Include:


Andrea James, a formerly incarcerated woman, Founding Director and Executive Director Families for Justice As Healing, Founder of The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerates Women and Girls, 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award recipient and Soros Justice Fellow will introduce and moderate the panels.


Topeka K. Sam is the National Organizer of the University of Washington symposium, Ms. Sam is the National Director and Founding Member of the Council and Founder of The Ladies of Hope Ministry. Topeka Sam is a formerly incarcerated woman. She is pursuing her Certificate in Christian Ministry at New York Theological Seminary, a Beyond the Bars 2016 Fellow and a Justice-In-Education Scholar at Columbia University. She has received the “Women’s Championship” Award 2016 from The Go Get It Women’s Empowerment Conference, and on November 28th, the “Make it Happen” Community Service Award from The Kids League 2016.


Starcia Ague – Local Organizer.  Ms. Ague is currently a working at the Washington State Senate. Previous to that she was the Youth and Family Advocate Program Administrator with Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation Administration. Her goal of empowering youth is one of the reasons Starcia obtained a degree in Criminal Justice from Washington State University in 2010. Starcia received the 2009 Spirit of Youth Award for her rehabilitating juvenile with convictions, and was part of the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change, a juvenile justice reform initiative. Governor Chris Gregoire pardoned Starcia, the first juvenile with a conviction ever pardoned in Washington State. She also serves on the Governor’s Washington State Partnership Council for Juvenile Justice for the last three years and recently was reappointed by Governor Jay Inslee. Ague is a 2014 Soros Justice Fellow.


Tarra Simmons was released from a Washington State prison in 2013 and is currently in her third year of law school at Seattle University. She is a Rule 9 Legal Extern at the Public Defender Association where her focus is expanding the law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD) program, providing reentry legal services, and reentry policy reform. Tarra was recently appointed by Governor Inslee to the Washington Statewide Re-entry Council where she co-chairs the council alongside King County Prosecutor, Dan Satterberg. Tarra also has direct experience with the Washington State Clemency and Pardons process. She is the mother of three children and presents regularly on the impact of incarceration on women and children.


Shajuanda Tate is a Board member for the Freedom Education Project of Puget Sound and is close to completion of her Degree in Human Services. Through her work with (FEPPS) she has been a panelist and speaker committed to advocating for incarcerated individuals right to higher education in prison and post prison support for people with criminal offenses transitioning home.


Tiff Renfro is a full-time student at Seattle Central College (SCC). As an advocate for the formerly incarcerated people, Tiff has volunteered as Consultant, Public Speaker, Re-Entry Navigator and provides training to future Re-Entry Navigators for SCC, Freedom Education Project Puget Project Sound (FEPPS).


From Federal Prison: Both Santra Rucker and Alice Johnson are seeking clemency from President Obama.

Santra Rucker via Phone FPC Alderson. Sentenced to 390 months (32 years).

Alice Johnson via Skype FCI Aliceville. Sentenced to Life. http://www.candoclemency.com/alice-marie-johnson/


Fox Rich, nationally recognized speaker and formerly incarcerated woman, prisoner’s wife, mother of six sons focuses how mass incarceration is slavery and should be abolished.


Amy Povah received clemency from President Bill Clinton awarding-winning filmmaker and President of the CAN-DO Foundation that advocates for justice through clemency. (Council Founding Member.)


Susan Rosenberg is a human rights and prisoner rights advocate, an adjunct professor, communications consultant, public speaker and formerly incarcerated woman. She is the author of American Radical which explores her 16 years in prison. (Council Founding Member.)


Ramona Brant was incarcerated for 21 years for a drug conspiracy charge.  She received clemency from President Obama in December 2015. Immediately after being released she began advocating for other women and had the honor, along and other formerly incarcerated women and men, of having lunch with President Obama.
Syrita Steib-Martin is nationally certified and licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist in the state of Louisiana. After serving 110 months in Federal Prison and upon being released, she returned to college and then founded Operation Restoration, working to assist women as they transition back home after incarceration. (Council Founding Member.)


Ivy Woolf-Turk is an ICF certified Professional Life Coach in private practice and the founder of Project Liberation in New York. She served four years in Federal Prison and is now a motivational speaker on criminal justice issues. (Council Founding Member.)
Dawn Harrington is from Nashville, TN.  She has a bachelor degree in Recording Industry Management and Public Relations from Middle Tennessee State University, a Master of Business Administration in IT from Bethel University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in International Business at Walden University.  Harrington worked in the entertainment industry for 12 years. In 2014, Harrington started working with Ban The Box Nashville.  On November 10, 2015, the Commission voted to direct Metropolitan Human Resources to implement a Ban the Box policy for most Metropolitan Government jobs which took effect on January 1, 2016. A Council Member, she is the executive director of Free Hearts, an organization she envisioned while incarcerated on Rikers Island, providing education, support, and advocacy to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated mothers and children of incarcerated parents.


The Council: The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls is a national network which supports the work of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls who are in the forefront of change of the criminal justice system by working individually or within organizations. Members support one another by sharing their knowledge and powerful experiences. Council members know firsthand the impact of the current criminal justice policies. We know the realities of incarceration, the many hurdles women face after returning home, and what changes are necessary to shift the system to one based on human dignity and social justice.   By bringing together policy makers, academics, researchers, and the public in dialogue with Council members, we strive to ensure that when policies, laws, practices, organizing and services about women and girls who are or were incarcerated are decided upon, our voices and ideas are included. Our mantra is “Nothing about us, without us!” This is a big goal. We believe it is attainable. Through connecting with each other and freely sharing information, insights and strengths, we are creating opportunities to have our voices heard and collectively build new and just policies grounded in human rights.


Symposium Funders
University of Washington, Bothell: Division of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Seattle: School of Law, Division of Social Sciences, Simpson Center for the Humanities, Center for Communication, Difference and Equity (CCDE), Department of English, Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies

Other Sponsors
The Ladies of Hope Ministries, Families for Justice As Healing, The Operation Restoration, The Real Cost of Prisons Project, Can-Do Clemency, Freedom Inside Project, Project Liberation.
About the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls The Council held its first organizing meeting in New York City on December 2015. Since then, the Council has convened organizing meetings in New York City, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Chicago, Connecticut and Boston. Council members live and work in more than 22 states. The Council actively engages currently incarcerated women and girls in federal and state prisons, county and state jails, and immigrant detention centers.


December 1, 2016
December 2, 2016


University of Washington, School of Law, William H. Gates Hall
- Room 133 Toni C. Rembe Appellate Courtroom 4293 Memorial Way
Seattle, WA United States
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