The Community has two arms: Pre-entry (our carceral in-reach) and the Correct the Narrative Campaign (our outreach). Together, these efforts prepare incarcerated people for success and transform societal stereotypes and fears about this demographic so preparation meets opportunity prior to and upon release.
Our pre-entry consists of newsletters, read by close to half the Wisconsin prison population and a number of people incarcerated in the federal system. Our newsletter consists of criminal justice news, reentry and incarceration resources, financial and career preparation insights, encouragement, and personal development tools and commentary designed specifically for people who are incarcerated. We have also just started a Custom Career Assistance program with professionals and industry and business partners to create info packets on every career and ongoing personalized assistance to help those in prison prepare for careers they actually have an interest in, an aptitude for, and have resources and skillsets to do. It will be a degree of preparation for incarcerated people that has neither happened before or is possible without our direct and constant connections as credible messengers to those inside.
Our outreach consists of the Correct the Narrative Campaign, which proactively presents society with the successes, humanity, and agency of people with criminal records in communities that are more indifferent and antagonistic toward this demographic. Efforts and humanizers have done a great job to get us where we are on this issue, but it will require a different strategy and level of commitment to get us to where we need to be, to a justice system more worthy of that name. Collaboration and reaching far outside our circles and communities to connect with others is the only way to get to the future we envision regarding true safety and justice. Visit our Correct the Narrative Campaign page for more info and videos from events and interviews that illuminate so powerfully why the fears and biases surrounding people who break the law need to be corrected. But we are also getting this content to currently and formerly incarcerated people to correct the narrative we often have about ourselves. We are MUCH more than our pasts and crimes and evidence of that from others who went before us is powerfully encouraging and life-changing.
And contact us if you want to get involved in creating a justice system more worthy of that name so we can help you figure out what organizations and efforts to get involved in, or if you simply want to learn more about this expansive issue. There are many ways to get involved and we can guide you to the path that best fits your values, interests, and resources. Keep moving forward.
I just wanted to thank you for all the help The Community gives those in prison in regards to everything. Because if it wasn’t for the help we get from The Community we honestly wouldn’t know what was going on in here. Thank You.
How You Can Help
We need you and those incarcerated to help us stay informed on reentry and reform news and prison conditions. If you have info, resources, ideas, connections, feedback (esp. constructive criticism) PLEASE send it our way so we can share it with our network and use it to improve our efforts. And we are always looking to connect with passionate people who understand that the health of a society is far more than the people and environment we interact with daily. What we promote grows and grows beyond our control. So what virtues and type of justice do we want to promote?
We accept donations via PayPal, Cash App ($thecommunitynow), Venmo ($thecommunitynow), or checks/money orders sent to The Community, Box 100392, Milwaukee, WI, 53210. Keep moving forward.
PayPal Donations Accepted
Shannon served 17 years in prison in the Wisconsin prison system from the ages of 19 to 36. He created The Community in 2014 with the invaluable help of friends and family while finishing his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Upon his release in September 2020, he began a scholarship as a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee and a fellowship with the Wisconsin Decarceration Platform. He is also a member of Reentry Rising MKE and Unlock Higher Ed and is a mentor with Prisons to Professionals. To learn more about his accomplishments, speaking engagements, and consulting agency (Paradigm Shyft: Reentry Strategies and Consulting), visit his LinkedIn page below.
Ann Knoedler is a retired newspaper reporter and the mother of Shannon Ross. She is also the Vice President of the Uptown Crossing Neighborhood Association and manages a community garden in Milwaukee.
Jim is a polymath and former librarian who recently obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree. He spent seven years in the Wisconsin prison system.
La Shae Warren
La Shae Warren is a Customer Service professional and has a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. She has years of experience enduring the hardships of supporting and communicating with a loved one in prison.
Executive Director of Near West Side Partners, Inc.
Community Engagement Director Americans for Prosperity
Co-founder of Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network
Diversity and Inclusion Talent Acquisition Professional
Kobena-Marcus J. Collins
Diversity & Inclusion Advisor
Executive Director of Wisconsin Justice Initiative Inc.
Founder of Millennial Action Project
Ways to Financially Support
Go to Smile.Amazon.com and login with your regular Amazon acount, then add “The Community” as a charity to receive donations from select purchases you make. This costs you ZERO extra money. Or open the Amazon app on your phone, go to settings, then go to AmazonSmile, activate it, and add us as the charity you wish to receive donations from your purchases. Thank you!