The Importance of Resources After Jail

NORTHRIDGE, CA — For more than 30 years, Homeboy Industries and The Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles help former gang members and inmates by providing tattoo removal services, general education classes, and jobs.

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Homeboy Industries Founder, Father Greg Boyle with current members. Credit, Homeboy Industries

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) in L.A. is a support network for formerly incarcerated men and women. Employees talk to inmates while they are inside so that when they get out they already have a network. The ARC provides clothes for inmates, if they need them or have an interview. The ARC is an inclusive and comfortable space for former inmates to interact and stay off the streets. Some members and employees get the opportunity to go on retreats and get out of the city. Allowing time to focus on their future, learn new skills, set goals, and relax.

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Credit, Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Adrian Vasquez is a Job Developer, In-Take Specialist at the ARC. He was incarcerated and took courses at a community college. Vasquez understands the lack of resources and wants inmates to have and participate in trade and rehabilitative programs.

Husband and father of six, Larry Butler started his own cleaning business. After serving nine years he could not find a job to support his family. He cleaned at the prison and started a residential and commercial cleaning business. Butler believes the support from his family and self-determination is the reason he was able to start the business. Butler struggled with reentry, and he lived in a small town that did not have nearby resources like Homeboy Industries or the ARC. Looking back he believes inmates need to be prepared for reentry. 

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The U.S. Sentencing Commission found within two years after being released nearly half of former inmates go back to jail for another offense or a violation of their parole. Dr. Allen Lipscomb helping to start up a men’s transformation program in South L.A. He works in the Social Work Department at California State University, Northridge. With the new transformation program Dr. Lipscomb plans on bettering the community. He said, “If we help mitigate the recidivism rates if we mitigate the pipeline trajectory not only are we saving funds we’re saving lives.”

Homeboy Industries in L.A. gives gang-involved men and women free services. Not all members have been in prison or jail. Homeboy Industries has an 18 month program that employs more than 200 men and women helping them re-identify themselves in the community. Homeboy Industries manufactures food like chips and salsa, and baked goods. Homegirl Cafe is a place where L.A. residents go to buy coffee for their day, or sit down and eat. Member, Ruth Butler plans on becoming an OBGYN. For her Homeboy Industries is a place to ask for help, she said members “have assistance with counselors, case management, sometimes you just need to relax your mind and they give you that.”

Carlos Caballeros used to sell drugs, and when his step-father told him about Homeboy Industries he was hesitant. Caballeros is 20 years old and has a son and recently graduated from community college. He is in the 18 month program and gives tours to visitors he questioned where he would be without Homeboy Industries. During the tour he explained his growth since he’s been at Homeboy Industries, “I never liked to talk to people, I was always quiet, but now I’m a public speaker and I give tours to strangers.”  

The Washington Post reported that the United States has the highest prison population in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 2.3 million people in the U.S. are incarcerated.

Leaving Prison: How an Inmate Spent Her First Day Free

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Homeboy Industries, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Photos, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Homeboy Industries

Video, ABC News

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Get The Proof Ready Nicki Minaj Might Pay Your Tuition Next

NORTHRIDGE, CA – One tweet from a fan turned into Nicki Minaj paying more than 30 of her fans’ student debt, tuition, and school supplies expenses, last night.

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Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ

Three days ago Nicki Minaj’s music video for “Regret In Your Tears” was released. Minaj tweeted her fans of #TheKingdom, which is the new name of her fandom. She wanted to see them create their own #RegretInYourTears video with an app called, Musical.ly.

The app allows users to make videos with music and it is the largest and easiest platform for users to share videos. Musical.ly tweeted that Nicki Minaj would pick her favorite videos and pay for the creators’ flights to the Billboard Music Awards to hangout with her. Minaj also tweeted that first place winners may get to hangout in the studio with her and listen to unreleased music. Winners may be picked next week.

In a tweet the singer-rapper expanded the competition to all countries.

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Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ and @cjbydesign

After the tweet and reply, Minaj responded to 31 other fans on Twitter. The fans asked her to help them pay off their student loan debt, summer programs, tuition, room and board, meal plans, and class materials. The artist replied to the tweets asking for proof of their debt and grades. She also told them to direct message her their bank information.

Nicki Minaj is known for being an education advocate. She has made comments about young girls staying in school and getting their education in her lyrics, interviews, speeches after getting awards, and during her concerts.

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Credit, BuzzFeed

The 34-year-old said she plans on paying more of her fans’ expenses in a month or two. Minaj has won more than 20 awards in the last 7 years. The estimated total of how much she gave to her fans is about $50,000.

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CNN reported that 40 million Americans have at least one student loan according to Experian. MarketWatch said $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is stopping Americans from economic growth making them unable to purchase cars, and homes. Forbes said that in December 2016, the unemployment rate for college graduates was only 2.5 percent. Students prefer to work jobs that are not related to their major or dream career in order to pay off their debt and personal expenses. The student debt crisis makes it hard for some students and graduates to continue school.

Student Loan Debt

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Twitter, Forbes, CNN Money, MarketWatch

Photos, Twitter

GIF, BuzzFeed

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Soccer Player Fights Racism

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Ghanaian central midfielder, Sulley Muntari said he has been abused multiple times after a racist experience last Sunday on the field during Serie A game against Cagliari. 

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Sulley Muntari after he told the referee, “This is my color.” Credit, Ghana Soccer Net
In the last 10 minutes of the game, Cagliari fans started shouting racists chants. When Muntari heard the chants he tried to report the abuse of the small group in the crowd. Referee Daniele Minelli did not stop the game to address the situation. The 32-year-old went toward the small group, and the referee then booked the player.

The Pescara player walked off the field as a demonstration and he got another yellow card. After refusing to play, Muntari was suspended but on Friday the Italian Football Federation overturned the suspension.

When Muntari was with Internazionale he helped them win the Champions League in 2009 and 2010. Pescara is standing by Sulley Muntari, they released a statement to, “send a strong signal against racism, whether it’s done by one or 100 people.” The world football player’s union, FIFPro also supports Muntari’s decision to walk off the field. The union said, “We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari’s version of events, investigated why the situation was mismanaged and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.”

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They also said, “Muntari was well within his rights to approach referee Daniele Minelli, as the first point of reference, to make his grievances known and seek a solution. Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.”

The husband and father, had an interview with CNN Sport. He told the interviewer this was not the first time he experienced racism. He said his cup was full and he could not take it anymore, and that he is human. The interview was very emotional. Muntari is not the only international soccer player who has experienced racism. Mario Balotelli, Scott Sinclair, and Medhi Benatia have also experienced racism on the field.

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Credit, CNN
According to a research analysis from University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, last year there were 104 racist incident reports in sports internationally.

Black and White:The Evolution of Racism in Sports (DOCUMENTARY)

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Football Italia, ABC, Mirror, Black America Web , CNN

Photos, Ghana Soccer Net, CNN

Video, Nick Parr

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