Executive Director for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Dorsey Nunn writes about his White House honor in the LSPC newsletter.
Today, I am honored to receive a Champion of Change Award from the White House. I am in Washington D.C. at an awards ceremony along with a small group of other leaders who work to increase civil and human rights for formerly incarcerated people. This award is primarily in recognition of my role in the Ban the Box movement.
However, with Ban the Box or any of the work I have done, these kinds of awards are contingent on the work of many other people. If I ever fail to say “we”, it’s because I’m not speaking slowly enough to let the words catch up with what’s in my heart. I don’t see myself as remarkable. I see us as remarkable.
I know that there are a lot of amazing formerly incarcerated people who are not getting awards, and many people still in cages who have remarkable gifts and intelligence. All the diamonds we allow to remain rough have something to add to the community – we just need to polish them. I’m not the only one!
I’m able to do what I do today because there were people who substantially invested in me and thought I deserved to be given a chance. They thought I deserved an education, and that my ideas were viable. I was never the sharpest knife in the drawer – never the smartest, fastest, or strongest – but I just may have been the luckiest.
Receiving this award is an affirmation that I’ve been on the right side of history, and that over 35 years of work to end the abuses of incarceration has been a worthy path to pursue. When President Obama spoke to the NAACP last year, he talked about Ban the Box and ending solitary confinement – two pieces of work my office was engaged in at that very moment.
The most important people I want to watch me at the awards presentation are my family members, most of whom feel they have been terribly victimized by racism. I want them to know they can continue to fight, and in fact they have an obligation to the next generation to do exactly that.
You can watch the Champion of Change awards ceremony and panel discussion on Wed., April 27, and please feel free to forward our press release. You can also read Dorsey’s blog post on the White House blog