April Is Second Chance Month

April is officially Second Chance Month.

Second Chance Month is a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the barriers faced by individuals with criminal records and unlock brighter futures for returning citizens. It is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic to highlight the challenges men and women face upon reentry as they seek healthcare, housing, and employment. 

On March 31, 2022, President Joe Biden proclaimed April 2022 as Second Chance Month and called upon all government officials, educators, volunteers, and all the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In the proclamation, President Biden states:

April marks Second Chance Month, when we reaffirm the importance of helping people who were formerly incarcerated reenter society. America is a Nation of second chances, and it is critical that our criminal and juvenile justice systems provide meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation and redemption. It is also vital that we address both the root causes of crime and the underlying needs of returning citizens using resources devoted to prevention, diversion, reentry, trauma-informed care, culturally-specific services, and social support. By supporting people who are committed to rectifying their mistakes, redefining themselves, and making meaningful contributions to society, we help reduce recidivism and build safer communities.

Community leaders throughout the Parish have also acknowledged Second Chance Month.

“A second chance is to extend an opportunity to another to start again. The offering has more to do with having an attitude of grace towards all humanity,” said East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks (District 2). “Second chances are special gifts; often unearned and undeserved.”​

“Some mistakes have very serious consequences. During Second Chance Month, I believe we honor the act of forgiveness,” said Ann Zanders, a Board Member with the Reentry Alliance of Louisiana, “Many in our communities are working to give guidance and resources to those who are seeking that second chance. We honor them and those working hard to take advantage of this second chance.”

Here are some of the local Second Chance Month events in the coming weeks:

  • April 13th – The East Baton Rouge Metro Council will recognize organizations that have done the work of helping reentering citizens in the parish. 3:30 p.m. Baton Rouge City Hall
  • April 14th – Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana hosts New Endings and Opportunities Advocacy Day at the Capitol. 9 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • April 19th – REAL Help Reentry Symposium 2022

Re-Entry Alliance for Louisiana will host the REAL Help Reentry Symposium which has two main objectives: 1) to begin educating the next generation of reentry leaders and advocates; and 2) to reinvigorate those in the reentry community to continue their support of reentry organizations. Symposium plenary speakers include Dr. Alfreda Bester, the special Counsel for Human Services at Southern University Law Center’s Vulnerable Communities & People’s Initiative, as well as PREACH Executive Director Rev. Alexis Anderson.

The symposium’s panel guests will focus on issues such as exploring foundational aspects of reentry, developing equitable pathways to high wage employment and entrepreneurship, examining approaches to expanding housing, negative impacts of unsuccessful reentry efforts. 

For more information about Second Chance Month check out https://nationalreentryresourcecenter.org/events/second-chance-month


About Author /

Rev. Anderson is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization P.R.E.A.C.H as well as a leader with the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition. An ordained minister for over 25 years, she has been a powerful and nationally-recognized voice for social justice and financial literacy.

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