Help Send Formerly Incarcerated College Students to Columbia University in New York

In three weeks student organizers, Danny Murrillo, Lily Gonzalez, Adrian Caceras, and Maria Elena Morales are sharing their experiences as formerly incarcerated people in higher education at the Beyond the Bars: Transcending the Punishment Paradigm on March 2-5, 2017 at Columbia University in New York.

These student organizers will speak to the transformation and empowerment that higher education has made in their lives. They will address their individual roles in creating a student organization on their respective campus and their current project to create a statewide network of formerly incarcerated student organizations.

“It’s important to share our narratives for many reasons. For one, it dismantles the master narrative. It breaks down stigmas as well as any preconceived notions we may have about those that are formerly incarcerated,” states Lily Gonzalez, the Co-founder and Vice President of Revolutionary Scholars at Cal State Northridge and blogger for

“We are currently reaching out for help from the community to help fundraise for our trip as the conference is in three weeks. We are excited about this next step for formerly incarcerated students, but we know that we cannot do it without the support and love of our communities. We are extremely grateful for any and all help provided,” said Maria Elena Morales, co-founder and President Urban Scholars Union.

La Comadre has played an extremely large role in the connection of Lily and Maria Elena’s work for formerly incarcerated students. They have been a platform for them to blog and share their personal experiences as formerly incarcerated students and mothers.

When La Comadre was created it was with the purpose of sharing our narratives as mothers, as mujeres and our collective experiences with the education system. For me, that translated into the intersections of my experiences as a woman of color from the hood, a system impacted person, the mother of charter school kid and a formerly incarcerated student in higher education. My daughter’s educational experience was impacted by my incarceration. With Los Angeles being home to a large jail system as well as the second largest school district, there is a high possibility of our kids having a parent or family member that has been impacted by mass incarceration. The experiences of these kids and their education matter. La Comadre was the platform for us to share these narratives and the experiences of these students as well as highlight some of the work that our amazing charter schools were doing in response.  La Comadre has created the space for our storytelling, healing and community. Our experiences matter. We matter. Our kids matter. This is what that La Comadre has created and it is in this space in which Maria and I came together. And it is in that spirit that we continue to do the work that we do.

To help these formerly incarcerated students with the cost of their trip to New York to speak at Columbia University, please click here.

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