The Month of June Is Such A Special Time

The month of June is such a special time with so many celebrations: graduations, weddings, family reunions, proms, my birthday (June 1st), Juneteenth, and the list goes on. PRP2 has so much to celebrate. Our speakers this month will highlight good news. The hope that I have written about for the last two months has come to fruition and is still growing as hard work pays off, minds are opened, policies change, and struggle continues without ceasing. PRP2 had its inception in the month of June 2005; BaBa Eng was released from prison in the month of June 2013; and Gerrod Bennett’s release from prison came in June of 2016. BaBa and Gerrod will be two of our four main speakers.

Many have heard BaBa Eng speak about the importance and value of Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices. Many have been trained by him in hubs throughout this city. Donna Habeeb, a PRP2 member and good friend, will talk about the ways in which her family has been positively impacted by a Restorative Conference which BaBa facilitated several months ago.

Gerrod Bennett will talk about his reentry experience, recounting the ups and downs which have ultimately led to his college graduation, after 22 years in State Prison and only two years on the outside. Reentry is very difficult, given the pressures that one faces adjusting to the world outside. Gerrod is a successful reentry candidate who beat the odds.

Sheila Hayes is someone who can speak effectively about the ways in which an incarcerated loved one’s imprisonment can impact the entire family. Supporting Robert “Seth” Hayes has been extremely challenging. According to the “Jercho Movement” website, “Seth first came up for parole in 1998, but prison officials have refused to release him, and are effectively punishing him for having been a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army.” Still he has remained true to his ideals even after 45 years behind bars, medical maltreatment, and ten parole denials. Recent news has announced that his release from prison has been approved.

BaBa Eng is our fourth designated speaker. He will talk about the importance of parolees now having the right to vote. On April 18, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order granting the right to vote to thousands of New York State citizens, no longer in prison, who are now on parole. BaBa will talk about the value of this decree and how it effects all of us.

I will talk about my visit to Auburn State Prison where I have been invited to speak at the prison’s Juneteenth Celebration. I have not had the opportunity to speak at a prison in quite some time so I am excited and grateful for this opportunity.

You’re invited to join us for the celebration at our next meeting, Monday, June 25, 2018 at the Rafi Greene Center located at 1423 Fillmore @ Glenwood in Buffalo, from 7:00- to -9:00pm. For more information, contact Karima Amin, 716-834-8438, karima@; or BaBa Eng, 716-491-5319, g.babaeng@

Voices Columnist /Storyteller/Activist Karima Amin