Jul 29, 2011

The Harlem Community Justice Center and Exodus Transitional Community Unite the Harlem Community to Extend a Warm Welcome Home to the Formerly Incarcerated and their Families at the Harlem Family Day Block Party

To counter the message of exclusion often sent to formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, on July 23, 2011, The Harlem Community Justice Center and Exodus Transitional Community united community members, social service providers, and the faith-based community to say, “Welcome home, you are part of our community.  We value you as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and community members and have great expectations for you.”

Our Reentry Family Day was a lively celebration, with service providers, games, crafts, music and food spanning Lexington to 3rd on 121st.  It was a true community effort with the all of our neighbors donating supplies, music and energy.  Despite the humidity and sweltering sun,  seniors and youth danced together to  drums, a local dance studio put on a mesmerizing hip hop and African dance display; there was  jewelery making, free haircuts, and delicious BBQ.   Representatives from local reentry agencies came early and stayed late to make sure information about services reached as many people as possible. Our parole officers, all of them, were on hand as well, as our Reentry Court Judge.  Many of the men in our programs who show up with their kids who were treated to face painting, tie dying, and street games, not to mention the open fire hydrant.

Thank you to all of the participants who volunteered, those who made donations, and those who attended.  It was a truly special day, embodying the spirit of acceptance, hope, and support that we wish for all individuals coming home.