Rutgers-Newark published a powerful profile of Ron Pierce, the Institute Democracy and Justice Fellow:
The Democracy and Justice Fellowship is awarded to a previously incarcerated person who has demonstrated great compassion and advocacy for individuals in prison and those released. The two-year program provides gainful employment and networking opportunities for a talented and dedicated person who has a felony conviction.
“I’m so thankful for my internship with NJISJ because it confirmed that social justice activism is my calling. It’s a meaningful way for me to make a difference and to help my friends on the inside,” Pierce shared.
As a Democracy and Justice Fellow, Pierce hopes to tear down the many barriers to re-entry. While the lack of housing and employment present tremendous challenges for those newly released, Pierce believes restoration of voting rights is the greatest concern. A healthy democracy demands full, unfettered civic engagement, according to Pierce, who last casted a vote in 1985.
“Our voices matter. Through voting we’re no longer silenced. Voting empowers us and allows us to have a say in how we want to be governed.”