This past week has seen the start of a new era in the U.S., one that is filled with uncertainty. As we watch national events unfold, I can tell you that no one feels this uncertainty more deeply than our clients. Amidst the debate over Cabinet appointments and potential Supreme Court nominees, their lives truly hang in the balance.
Our team knows that the best way we can meet that uncertainty is to be constant in our efforts – to keep showing up, to fight for our clients harder than ever, and to make sure that they are not forgotten as the national conversation jumps from one critical issue to the next.
ARC, Inc. was founded to stand with those who are the most vulnerable. All too often, our clients’ lives before incarceration have been filled with the failure of the system to protect them. In prison, they face circumstances that many of us could not endure. Our clients live with the constant knowledge that they have no control over whether their death sentence will be enacted or when, whether they will be released from prison or returned to serve life without parole, or if all their hard work to better themselves will be enough for a parole board to give them a second chance.
Yet our work is also rooted in hope: hope for a positive outcome for each of our clients and hope that what we do each day is building toward large-scale change. We will bring that hope to whatever this new chapter of our nation’s history brings.
As each of you find your ways of engaging in the days and weeks ahead, I hope you will find ways to include our clients in your thoughts and actions. Here are a few simple steps you can take right now:
- Support our work financially. Set up monthly donations or make a one-time gift. You can also support the Client Assistance Fund so that we can continue to provide basic need items to our clients in prison.
- Spread the word. Ask friends and family to sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our work.
- Educate yourself and others. Did you know that, since 1976, only 2% of the counties in the U.S. have been responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions? Similar geographic disparities exist for juvenile cases, as well. Read and share these resources from the Fair Punishment Project to start learning about some of the critical issues our clients face: Too Broken to Fix and Juvenile Life Without Parole in Wayne County.
- Volunteer. Want to get involved with our research projects or provide administrative support? Email us for more details on ways you can help.
- Get in touch. Have other ideas about getting involved? Let us know!
I am honored to be part of this community working for the values of justice, mercy, and equity.
Thank you for all that you do to support this movement,
Elizabeth Vartkessian, PhD
Advancing Real Change, Inc.