As counties across California scramble to implement plans for realignment, in Santa Clara County, one humble program born from the opportunity of realignment is taking off. In this picture Steeda McGruder, founder of Sisters That Been There, reads through a butcher paper full of quotes from recently released women who are participating in her program through the auspices of the county probation department. The quotes are from larger writings the women did on messages they would send out about their hopes and challenges for their new lives free of incarceration. The women range in ages of 59 to 22 years old. Powerful work, be on the look out for more work from Sisters That Been There! (click here to check out the video when Steeda shares how she was inspired to create the program while incarcerated.)
At a forum on realignment towards the end of 2011, our very own Steeda McGruder blew away the audience as she described how the strength and encouragement she found from other women while incarcerated is what allowed her to transform her life, and break a cycle of incarceration. She had a dream of working with incarcerated women to help them turn their lives around. Just months later, Steeda is running a ground-breaking new program in Santa Clara County in collaboration with probation. Check out her story!
By Steeda McGruder — Below is a letter I wrote and handed out to all the women participating in my new program called Sisters That Been There – a support group for women being released from prison and returning to Santa Clara County, done in partnership with the Santa Clara County Probation Department. Continue reading