May 31, 2011

On Friday, May 13th over 125 community members and probation/parole staff came together in the Highland Christian Center to celebrate clients who were formerly incarcerated and are now making a successful transition back into their communities.  The celebrated keynote speaker Dr. Joy DeGruy, engaged the packed audience with an impassioned presentation on post-traumatic slave syndrome and the long-lasting effect it is still having on the African American community.   

The celebration continued with the first-time presentation of the Diane Wade Award and the Erick Montgomery Award.  Named for two beloved DCJ parole officers who died in 2010, the awards were given to Larry Turner and Kimberly Amerson for their personal achievements and positive influence on others.  “The entire evening was created to celebrate our clients who are overcoming tremendous challenges and succeeding,” shared Kate Desmond, Community Justice Manager with the African-American Program at the Department of Community Justice. “They need to hear that we are proud of them and that the community has welcomed them back.”  Additional awards were also presented to:  Gary McFarland, Carl Rucker, and Dashia Fontleroy.

As part of the celebration, poems, songs and prayers rounded out the evening.  Heavenly Host Catering provided a dinner buffet and dessert table.