On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Guardian Scholars, NextUp, Project Change, and TRIO collaborated to host Jackie Bishop, an inspirational speaker who talked about her road to redemption after being in prison for 14 years. With the support of the Student Equity & Support Programs (SESP) Division, faculty, staff, administration, and students, we held a hybrid event with over 40 participants in attendance. Ms. Bishop discussed financial literacy, re-adjusting to society, and reclaiming the power of freedom and choice through the lens of a formally incarcerated individual. As seen through student questions and responses, her testimony provided life lessons and impressed the audience. Ms. Bishop was accompanied by her daughter, who also attested to her mother’s journey and gave an inspirational perspective on the impact of having both her parents incarcerated and, later, uniting with her mother, Ms. Bishop.

She ended her presentation with a powerful quote by Toni Morrison, “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

We are committed to providing support and resources for Skyline College justice-impacted students and look forward to offering more events. For students who have been impacted by the justice system or would like to join in supporting the program, contact Brianna Clay at clayb@smccd.edu or Jacquie Espino at espinoj@smccd.edu and if you are interested in Guardian Scholars or NextUp, contact Karmann Robbins at robbinsk@smccd.edu.

Written by Brianna Clay-Fuller
Photos by Jacquie Espino and Karmann Robbins

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