In our new series, The American Prison System, our first guest author is going to be discussing the origins of the American prison system, the effect of prison and police policies on minority communities, and teaching positive action steps to effect change in your city. The writer Jase Short is a life-long political activist who has written and worked on minority rights issues for years, is a supporter of Justice Unlocked and one of the first guest authors we’ve invited to write editorial and educational articles that might help someone in need.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain
What Justice Unlocked Means to Me:
For some, finding a reason for your existence is so overwhelmingly incredible, that you have no choice but to run with it. I learned early on that I am on this earth to help my fellow men and women. Exactly how I am to do that was another question altogether. One thing I became aware of is my ability to think inside and outside of the box. This frame of thinking (which yes, leads me to over-complicate things at times) has provided me the opportunity to help many people. I love helping and I love people, and the need for an organization like Justice Unlocked will provide the resources to reach many more with legal help.
Early in our lives, my sister and I were exposed to parts of the legal system that no one really wants to encounter. We had an adventurous and short-lived childhood. After all of those events, we had to grow up rather quickly. Our mother went back to school, graduated with her bachelor's, and later, pursued a law degree (which was left unfinished). The good thing about her attempting law school, is that we were able to attend her classes (read: had to, couldn't afford babysitters) I developed a great love for law and justice. This fire for equality burns inside of me this very day.
There have been so many instances in life where I have thought “if I only had the resources…” I know I’m not alone in thinking this, and I’ve met several people in my life who have actually said the same to me. What Justice Unlocked means to me is the unlocking of access to legal help for those who feel helpless in desperate situations. I’ve had my share of desperate situations. I’ve had my share of negative thoughts, feelings of despair and hopelessness. However, just as the good times pass, so shall the bad times. One of my favorite lines from a song is “I get by with a little help from my friends” by The Beatles. And it’s so true. All bad-to-good stories involve friends, or strangers-turned-friends, whom helped me cope, provided resources or connections, or even just a listening ear.
Legal Help can make a difference
They say networking is a very important skill that everyone can learn, and sometimes it can be as simple as asking for help, whether that means legal help, or anything else. You never know the connections you may have – the untapped resources – unless you ask. When it comes down to it – if you never ask, the answer is always no. I can admit, fear has stopped me from asking for help several times. I have learned that fear is a liar, and asking for help only yields positive results. My desire for this organization is to use my skills in conflict resolution, creativity, and research to provide opportunities for others to get the legal help they need and find justice.
I envision Justice Unlocked providing networking opportunities for individuals to grow and succeed beyond their current situation, as well as unlocking a flawed system to provide more equality and protection to those who choose and are able (with our legal help) to use it. I look forward to helping so many people access the legal services we will unlock, and the partnership of the organization with the community, no matter what someone's wealth or social status is.