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DAY 5 of $20,000 in 10 Days: Hear Evelyn’s truth

Describe your life today.

Life today is beautiful. When I was incarcerated, I began a transformation of my heart, mind and spirit. Thanks to Truth Be Told, that is still flowing since my release in November 2008.

Where do you work and what do you find most rewarding about your job?

Before September 1, I was a nurse at a drug rehabilitation center in Dallas, which was very rewarding because I was helping in an area that was my core problem — drug addiction. Drug addiction was the underlying reason for my incarceration.

However, on September 1, I transitioned into my new job as the executive director of Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM), a Dallas-based nonprofit organization founded by my daughter, Brittany K. Barnett, to empower girls with mothers in prison to break the cycle of incarceration and lead successful lives with vision and purpose. We partner with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for enhanced visits between our girls and their mothers to help break the cycle and build the bond.

What is your experience with Truth Be Told?

I took the Talk to Me Writing class in 2006 while I was incarcerated at Lockhart women’s prison.

What did you gain from the Truth Be Told program?

My self-worth and self-esteem came alive. I learned to take accountability for my actions, realizing and accepting what happened to land me in prison and why. I learned that I could take charge of my life right there in prison and become a positive force to God (my personal belief), myself, my family and my community.

Why is Truth Be Told important and worth supporting?

Because of what it instills in a woman — community, respect, strength. It is critical that women directly impacted by incarceration are at the center of any movement and work surrounding them. Truth Be Told helps amplify our voices, which are too often ignored but very important in aiding in transformative work.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception about incarcerated women?

The biggest misconception is that people in prison are bad people. When in reality, we are just people who made bad choices. First and foremost, we are mothers. We are daughters. We are sisters.

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Honor Evelyn by helping Truth Be Told raise $20,000 in 10 Days between Sept 15-24. All gifts made during this 10-day campaign will DOUBLE in size, thanks to a matching pledge of up to $20,000! Your gift will ensure that Truth Be Told continues to provide safe community and healing programs to nearly 1,000 justice-involved women every year! Click on $20,000 in 10 Days to make your gift today!

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