It started with a simple idea: to raise awareness of the barriers returning citizens face upon their release from prison. That simple idea became Second Chance® Month, a nationwide campaign led by Prison Fellowship® to unlock second chances for the 70 million Americans with a criminal record who have paid their debt to society.
Four years later, nearly 500 organizations, churches, and businesses across the country have partnered with us as official Second Chance Month partners. This diverse group works together to unlock brighter futures for the men and women who are seeking to make good on their second chance.
This April, as we celebrate our fifth annual Second Chance Month, we ask you to join us for a very special night: The Second Chance Month Virtual Gala!
THE THIRD ANNUAL SECOND CHANCE MONTH GALA
Hosted by Prison Fellowship, the Second Chance Month Gala is a virtual event for our partners and supporters to celebrate second chances and encourage one another as we work toward a better future. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year's gala will go on as a virtual event out of respect for public health and safety.
Hosted by James J. Ackerman, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship, and Heather Rice-Minus, senior vice president of advocacy and church mobilization, the event will be held on Thursday, April 29, at 7p.m. EST. Attendees will hear powerful second chances stories from special guests, and there will be a performance by Christian hip-hop recording artist Lecrae. Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), will deliver the keynote address.
MUSICAL GUEST: LECRAE
Recording artist, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur, Lecrae has been a powerhouse presence in both Christian and secular music since the early 2000s. Together, Lecrae and Prison Fellowship have partnered to bring the Gospel behind bars to America's prisoners.
Lecrae has a heart for the marginalized and forgotten of society. On second chances, he says,
"Restoration is the idea that something that has been stripped of its worth, meaning, and purpose is returned to its original value. The worst chapters of your life do not define your entire story. You were made in the image of God and for a purpose. A second chance means you have the opportunity to determine how it ends. There is nothing so broken that God can't restore or redeem it."
In 2020, Lecrae released his 10th studio album Restoration, a vulnerable yet empowering collection of music that focuses on brokenness and healing. His memoir I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion But Found My Faith focuses on his personal experiences and practices in living a restored life with God.
Prison Fellowship thanks Lecrae for his continued support to remember those in prison.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: BRYAN STEVENSON
Lawyer, activist, professor, and author, Bryan Stevenson has dedicated his career to help the often-overlooked individuals in our society—the poor, incarcerated, and condemned.
As the founder and executive director of EJI, Stevenson has fought for fair sentencing and has won relief for hundreds of prisoners wrongfully convicted or unfairly sentenced. He has advocated for the exoneration of innocent death row prisoners, including 135 wrongly condemned prisoners who have won reversals, relief, or release from prison because of his and his team’s work.
On second chances, Stevenson says,
"Hope is essential for life—the belief that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done is central to how we recover when we make mistakes. The concept that people who have offended have worth, resilience, and potential must be embraced for a healthy community. When we celebrate Second Chance Month and recognize the humanity of everyone touched by the justice system, we can move toward compassion and real social transformation."
Prison Fellowship thanks Bryan Stevenson and the heroes at EJI for their hard work and their support and partnership with Second Chance Month.
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