Tiawana Brown becomes first formerly incarcerated Charlotte city council member

December 6, 2023

Tiawana Brown [Leading with Conviction™ 2020] stood at the center of the dais, surrounded by friends, family and her 10 new colleagues on Charlotte City Council.

“Clad in a glittery dress, her voice rose above the rest as the new council took the oath of office together.

“‘I, Tiawana Brown, do solemnly swear …’

“It was a big moment for Brown, who on Monday night officially became the first formerly incarcerated person to serve on Charlotte City Council. She is now the newest representative of District 3, the west Charlotte community in which she was born and raised.

“The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on her.

This position is a gift from God

“‘As most of you may know, I am a formerly incarcerated individual,’ Brown said in her first remarks from the dais. ‘And for a long time, we were called convicts, felons, inmates … This position is a gift from God that I don’t take lightly.’

“Brown describes herself as a ‘survivor of mass incarceration.’ While in her 20s, Brown served four years in federal prison on felony fraud charges. She was pregnant at the time of her sentencing, and gave birth to one of her two daughters while incarcerated. Black women are greatly overrepresented in the U.S. prison population, and like Brown, many of them tend to have young children.

“Since her release from prison, Brown has dedicated herself to helping formerly incarcerated women like her. Her nonprofit, Beauty After the Bars, provides assistance to women both inside and outside the prison system. She also works with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office on a mentorship and re-entry program to lower recidivism rates among those released from jail.”

Read more at CharlotteObserver.com.

(Photos above: Khadejeh Nikouyeh / Charlotte Observer)

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