In honor of Second Chance Awareness Month, the Philadelphia Office of Reentry Partnerships is hosting a virtual panel discussion titled “Making the Most of a Second Chance!” Tuesday April 26, 2022 from 3 PM to 4:30 PM.
Join us for a discussion, moderated by Assata Thomas, Philadelphia Reentry Coalition Chair and Chief Community Justice Officer for the Institute for Community Justice (ICJ), with individuals with lived experience sharing their stories, best practices, and opportunities that helped them make the most of their second chance.
Panelists for the discussion include:
Dominic Speach, Founder & CEO, Dreams and Opportunities After Mistakes, LLC
Dominic Speech is a proud Muslim father and the founder of Dreams and Opportunities After Mistakes, LLC. His goals are to mentor and empower the youth to decrease violence in our communities; while helping small businesses and entrepreneurs with branding and creating job opportunities for others. He prides himself on being an Empowermenteur, someone who encourages and empowers others to walk confidently in the direction of their dreams. Dominic currently works for PowerCorpsPHL as a Project Manager for a reentry initiative called T.R.U.S.T. where he supervises and mentors a crew of disconnected youth from school and work, providing on the job workforce development training focused on Urban Agriculture. He carries out his mission by facilitating a series of workshops around Entrepreneurship, where he encourages members to create and brand their own businesses. During his time with PowerCorps, he was asked to join the PennSERVE Advisory Board where he consults with a diverse team around AmeriCorps programs in the state. He organizes community clean-up efforts in the Kensington section of the city to beautify the area and promote keeping the neighborhood clean. Dominic often volunteers with different organizations in Philadelphia doing additional neighborhood clean-ups and feeding people who are homeless. He is an avid community member who puts action to his vision of decreasing violence and empowering youth.
Tinika Hogan, People’s Paper Co-Op Fellow & Sankofa Healing Studio Care Coordinator
Tinika Hogan is a mother of two, a consultant with the Incarcerated Women’s Working Group, a Fellow with The People’s Paper Co-op, and Care Coordinator at Sankofa Healing Studio where she is a member of the organization’s Advisory Circle and serves as a Peer Support for the Sankofa Art Therapy groups held for as many as 90 incarcerated women each week. As a Social Justice activist for the human rights of directly-impacted women, Tinika is active with several organizations/collectives in their fundraising efforts and donation drives for feminine hygiene products, personal care supplies, art materials, and resources. Her goal is to bring attention to women’s suffering behind the walls and to advocate on their behalf. Her personal story of resilience can be used as an inspiration for others; it is a testament that when basic needs are met, and holistic support is accessible, people are empowered and they can achieve their life’s goals.
Through all of her work, Tinika uses her powerful voice to fight for the rights of women. In 2021 she helped to raise over $65,000 to bring Black Moms and Caregivers home from jail in time for Mother’s Day. During the height of the pandemic, she helped assemble and distribute over 250 Art Self-Care packets to Philadelphia incarcerated women. As a Vaccine Champion, she has helped to increase the COVID vaccination rates in Philadelphia’s Women’s and Men’s jails. For self-care, Tinika enjoys writing poetry and spending time with her kitten Safari Justice.
“As a formerly incarcerated individual, I fight for women’s freedom because other women fought for mine. People need support, people need to be given a chance so they can thrive. Women need to see and understand how much we need one another to stand strong. We need to know that we’re supported in all directions, not just by family or close friends. People need to unite to advocate for women behind bars and women coming home; to call for change; invest in other people’s lives and together, we can create the world that we all deserve.”
Donnell Drinks, Leadership Development & Engagement Coordinator, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Donnell Drinks was arrested at the young age of 17 and was subsequently sentenced to the death penalty, which was later reduced to a life sentence. He spent over 27 years in prison and was released in July 2018. During his incarceration, Donnell spent his time educating himself and engaging in significant charitable work through various inmate organizations. He accumulated college credits, completed certificate programs and became an outspoken advocate for prisoners. He held various positions in inmate organizations, being elected as President of the Graterford Branch N.A.A.C.P. and Journey for Change. Since his release, Donnell has employed the skills he gained while incarcerated, and now uses them in his Philadelphia community as an entrepreneur, mentor, re-entry specialist anti-violence advocate and motivational speaker for the nonprofit organization he cofounded. Gaining Respect Over our Worst Nights (G.R.O.W.N.) is a community-based outreach and mentoring program for Philadelphia youth. Designed to work as a conduit for change and empowerment for men and women. Donnell has worked for ACLU and The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Violence Prevention. Donnell has the distinction as being the first former juvenile lifer to be a full time employee of The Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s office. Donnell is a member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy network, which amplifies the voices and leadership of formerly incarcerated youth, and he joined the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth in March 2021, where he now serves as the Leadership Development and Engagement Coordinator.
Aaron Kirkland, Supervisor, Philadelphia Water Department, Green Stormwater Operations
Aaron Kirkland is a proud husband and father of two. After serving in the PowerCorps Phl, Americorps program he was referred to the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) for an opportunity in their apprenticeship program. Over the last 6 years, Aaron has promoted into different leadership roles within PWD and has been an integral component of structuring the build-out of Philadelphia’s first municipal maintenance program dedicated to green stormwater infrastructure systems across the city. Aaron is now the Supervisor of the Philadelphia Water Department’s, Green Stormwater Operations unit overseeing its daily operations. Aaron is committed to change, helping others and enjoys sharing his story hoping to enrich, inspire and motivate others who face obstacles.
To register for the discussion, use our Zoom meeting registration link or the link below. After registration, a confirmation email, with meeting instructions, will be sent to the registered email. For other information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.