Beyond Bars

Truth Be Told graduates advocate for all justice-involved women at the Capitol

On March 8, International Women’s Day, a group of Truth Be Told graduates used the power of their stories to advocate on behalf of all justice-involved women in Texas.

Graduates Margie O’Neal, Lisa Davis-Bell, Kimberly Davis, Chelsea Williams, Dara Musick, Evelyn Fulbright, Laurie Pherigo and Lauren Johnson were part of a much larger community of formerly incarcerated women who gathered at the Capitol to participate in Women’s Injustice Day, a day of community and advocacy hosted by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The event’s objective was to raise awareness on a shortlist of bills in the 86th Legislative session that, if they became law, would improve the lives of the more than 12,000 justice-involved women in Texas.

HEAR HER VOICE: Nikki Pierce reflects on life after incarceration

Editor’s note: Nikki Pierce is a 2014 graduate and 2015 mentor of Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me program at Bryan Federal Prison Camp, where she was released on Nov. 1, 2016. The following is her Truth being told.

I traveled to Bryan, Texas, recently with my son to tour Blinn College where he might start the next chapter of his life. Blinn offers a two-year program. I also was in Bryan for a two-year “program” of sorts when I served out a sentence at Bryan Federal Prison Camp, just a couple miles from the college campus.

Driving to Bryan, I had moments of fluttery tummy. It was after dark by the time my son and I arrived, and we decided to take an impromptu drive past the prison.

This was how I saw it the first time too: in the dark. My husband and I, with our children, drove down to Bryan on Oct. 30, 2014. We spent a final night together at a local hotel that offered a free breakfast of Texas-shaped waffles. Funny the details that stick out in my mind.

2018: The Year in Numbers

“I need you to know that being part of the Truth Be Told community has been LIFE CHANGING!”

This artwork and quote come straight from the heart of Samantha, who participated in our Talk to Me Movement program at Lockhart women’s prison this past spring. She then returned in the fall to serve as a classroom mentor, supporting her peers as they learned how to embody and share the story of what they believe put them on a path to prison.

Healing through truth-telling. That’s what Truth Be Told is all about, and it changes lives — one woman, one story, at a time.

Because you, like Samantha, choose to be in community with Truth Be Told, we experienced growth in EVERY program in 2018, serving more than 1,000 justice-involved women and adding two new programs.