Dawn Harrington speaks to the New York Times about the rhetoric surrounding Trump’s felony convictions

June 5, 2024

“For Dawn Harrington [Leading with Conviction™ 2017], who served time on Rikers Island in New York and now directs an organization called Free Hearts for families affected by incarceration in Tennessee, watching the news coverage of Mr. Trump’s criminal conviction last week was upsetting.

“She heard liberals rejoice that he was now a ‘convicted felon,’ a term she and others have tried to persuade people not to use.

The rhetoric, she thought, was “quite frankly dehumanizing to the base that we organize with.”

“Ms. Harrington said she did time for gun possession after traveling to New York with a handgun that was registered in Tennessee. She is from a part of Nashville that has a high level of incarceration, she said, and her brother had also gone to prison.

“After the Trump verdict, she also heard President Biden defend the justice system as a ‘cornerstone of America’ that has endured for ‘nearly 250 years’ — back to a time, Ms. Harrington noted, when slavery was legal.

“The rhetoric, she thought, was ‘quite frankly dehumanizing to the base that we organize with,’ she said.

“At the same time, Ms. Harrington said, a group chat she is on erupted into a conversation about what it was like to see national news outlets discussing ‘permanent punishments,’ like the loss of voting rights. Criminal convictions often become obstacles to finding jobs and housing, and bar people from voting, owning guns and pursuing some careers.

“An estimated 77 million Americans have a criminal record of some kind, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nearly 20 million, according to another estimate, have been convicted of felonies.”

Read this free gift article at NYTimes.com.


(Photo: Jason Andrew for The New York Times)

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