Building Pathways 4 Equity for women who were incarcerated
In the US, even when that genius is literally released with people returning home, a past conviction still keeps that potential locked away. But that's changing.
One of our heroes, Topeka K. Sam, has realised her incredible potential despite those barriers. She built an organisation that builds stability and the power of advocacy in the families and communities of women affected by the criminal justice system.
Virgin Unite is partnering with Topeka to help create a new fellowship programme that gives formerly incarcerated women a pathway into professional careers with growth potential.
Topeka founded The LOHM in 2017 to help end the crisis of poverty and incarceration of women and girls. The LOHM offers safe housing, re-entry support, and advocacy programs grounded in the insights and ideas of people with direct, lived experience in the criminal justice system. This work has also included bringing formerly incarcerated women into businesses to discuss how a past conviction creates massive barriers for eager would-be employees, how women, who are the fastest-growing population in prisons and jails, are overlooked, and why companies who help break down those barriers will have a competitive advantage.
This year, The LOHM is launching the Pathways 4 Equity Fellowship to bring a cohort of ambitious and skilled formerly incarcerated women into companies who want to partner in unlocking their potential and the myriad benefits of doing so. The LOHM team is actively recruiting businesses as founding partners, and the call for Fellowship applicants is being heard across the US.
The world increasingly understands the private sector's profound role in shaping society and demands companies use that power responsibly. The LOHM's Pathways 4 Equity programme gives companies the opportunity to do just that. It's an important piece of a growing set of tools for businesses to grow in ways that help unlock people's potential, break down the barriers standing in the way of our dreams and aspirations, and address the harms of mass incarceration.