Prison to Prosperity
- Bronx 10/26/2013 by Linda Perry (WBAI News)

People judge what they don't know.  When they get to know you, people will know you're not the same person who made bad decisions. That's what a young man who was in prison says about life on the outside. Turning around the stigma of incarceration, overcoming the burden of discrimination, developing the tools needed to cope outside of prison and how to develop a business plan -- to prosper - this was all part of a conference today at Lehman College.

Sheila Rule is a former New York Times journalist and co-founder of the Think Outside the Cell Foundation which helped organize the conference. She says, "Society constructs so many barriers to keep members of this population out of the mainstream that they must begin to create their own opportunities."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz says, "Everyone deserves a second chance, and I strongly believe that we need to uplift and equip individuals with skills to improve the quality of their lives.  This event is truly giving a voice to many who are often disregarded."

Five of the country's best business leaders served as speakers and judges in a business pitch competition, including: key note speaker Loida Lewis, philanthropist and former Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice International; Harold Doley, the only African-American to have owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and founder of Doley Securities, LLC; Ed Lewis, Founder and CEO of Essence Communications; Genevieve Michel-Bryan, VP and Director of Broadcast at Black Enterprise; and Jonathan Richter, Managaing of RREEF America, LLC.

The conference organizers include the Think Ouside the Cell Foundation, Bronx Clergy Roundtable, Bronx Reentry Task Force, MetroPlus Heath Plan Inc, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and Manhattan Borough President, Democratic NYC Comptroller Candidate, Scott Stringer.



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