Posted on March 11, 2019
Topeka K. Sam on Why She Created a Home for Incarcerated Women
“When you give a woman a voice, and when you give a woman a chance, you’re changing the world” https://t.co/rrdaEbHWj8
— The Cut (@TheCut) March 9, 2019
Activist Topeka K. Sam gave the keynote speech at the Cut’s How I Get It Done Day on March 4, discussing her journey from incarceration to leading a national movement for criminal justice. After leaving a federal prison in 2015, she devoted her life to helping formerly incarcerated women and children and helped pass criminal justice reform laws in eight states last year.
“When I came home [to New York], I knew I would have the opportunity to do anything I wanted to do,” she said. “I had the experience to start businesses, I had my family, resources, my friends, support, mentors. But I also knew that the women I had left behind [in prison] didn’t.”
After her incarceration, Sam opened the Ladies of Hope Ministries in the Bronx to temporarily house and help women adapting to life after prison. The residence has housed 15 formerly incarcerated women since opening in 2017.
“I don’t look at myself as a voice for the voiceless, I create these platforms so all women can use their voice,” she said. “When you give a woman a voice, and when you give a woman a chance, you’re changing the world.”