I’m hoping to remove barriers for people coming home, some of the same barriers that I encountered.
by Richard Speck, #LwC2021
November 10, 2021
What do you work on and how did you get involved in it?
I’m currently involved in Clean Slate, which is expungement fairs in Michigan. I got involved in it through my job, where we advocate oftentimes for folks that don’t have a voice. We were a big leader in the Clean Slate movement here in Michigan which was greatly expanded, probably the most comprehensive expansions in the country. That work is rewarding because for somebody that’s formerly incarcerated that felony record can affect your job, housing and even education opportunities.
What is the most satisfying thing in your work?
I’m hoping to remove barriers for people coming home, some of the same barriers that I encountered that made my transition more difficult coming home. Unfortunately, I came home from prison three times so I kind of got good at it after a while.
What are your hopes for this year?
My hope for this year is to create as many Clean Slate expungement opportunities for folks and also to help lift up the importance of mentorship and coaching for folks returning.
What has been your favorite part of Leading with Conviction?
I would have to say honestly all the connections I made with folks doing this work across the country, which has been amazing.
What is your vision for the future?
My vision for the future is to work on legislation that would allow coaching and mentoring for formerly incarcerated folks to become a certified career. We’re working on changing legislation in Michigan so that can happen.
What would you be famous for if you were famous?
I would love to be a motivational speaker. Over the years I’ve had a lot of men and women pour into me in the form of motivational speaking, attending different conferences, and it’s made such a huge impact on my life. I’ve been fortunate to do some motivational speaking and I feel on fire when I’m doing it, like I’m living in my purpose, because I didn’t have those things when I came home before. Consequently, I reoffended, I returned back to prison, I didn’t see a pathway out of that lifestyle, until I began to have these people pour into my life and understand the value of that. So it just made this huge impact on me personally.
Where were you a year ago today?
A year ago today, I was probably six months into my new career at Safe and Just Michigan as a Community Engagement Specialist, just really getting the hang of things.
What is your motto in life?
Treat others the way you want to be treated.