The Community

Our mission is to foster the full potential of people with criminal records through Pre-entry and showcasing their successes, humanity, and agency through Correcting the Narrative.

Our mission is to foster the full potential of people with criminal records through Pre-entry and showcasing their successes, humanity, and agency through Correcting the Narrative.

Upcoming Events

For the most updated information on our events – sign up for our email list or follow us on social media.

March 6, 2023

First Step Act Screening & Panel at The Oriental Theatre In Milwaukee

When: March 6, 2023 at 6:00PM

Where: The Oriental Theatre – Milwaukee, WI

In a divided America, progressive activist and political commentator Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to the addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes Van and a coalition of unlikely allies deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities.

Register Here: https://mkefilm.org/oriental-theatre/events/the-first-step

Facebook Event Link: https://fb.me/e/alIx2Dbz6

March 7, 2023

First Step Act Screening & Panel at UW-Madison

When: March 7, 2023 at 6:00PM

Where: UW-Madison – Madison, WI

In a divided America, progressive activist and political commentator Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to the addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes Van and a coalition of unlikely allies deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities.

Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-first-step-screening-at-uw-madison-tickets-533944631767?fbclid=IwAR2lfxLH5NPIXcN92StlAUKacodNRk0KWqCLU6M9o4nuM5W9UgpeYkQd8pc 

Facebook Event Link: https://fb.me/e/alIx2Dbz6

March 18 - 19, 2023

Emerging Leaders Training for those Directly Impacted by the Criminal Justice System

When: March 18, 2023 at 9:00AM – March 19, 2023 at 4:00PM

Where: Partners In Hope – 324 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI

Emerging Leadership Training 2023

Join us for a FREE two-day advocacy training for organizers and activists who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Attendance both days is required to earn completion certificate.

Registration deadline is February 24, 2023.

March 18th and 19th, 2023
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Partners in Hope
324 W. North Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 532212

A continental breakfast & lunch will be provided.
JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) empowers those most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Through our Emerging Leaders trainings in cities across the country, as well as our yearlong Leading with Conviction training, JLUSA is building a nationwide network of advocates and organizers united by a shared vision for justice reform.

Emerging Leaders Training for those
Directly Impacted by the Criminal Justice System
About Emerging Leaders:

Emerging Leaders (EL) is facilitated by experienced and directly-impacted organizers and leaders, covers the principles of leadership: communication, storytelling, advocacy, policy, and capacity building.

Eligibility includes, but is not limited to, the following:
All EL participants must have a solid commitment to systemic criminal and/or juvenile justice reform. All EL participants must have had some prior criminal justice involvement which we define as anything from being placed in handcuffs up to serving an actual jail or prison sentence or anything in-between. Participants who are currently on probation or parole are also eligible to participate in the training. Participants with a family member who fits any of the aforementioned criteria are also eligible.

What happens at the training, and what skills will you develop?

Over the course of two days, we will cover five key concepts that support leadership and advocacy, based upon evidence-based best practices, the expertise of our trainers, and the experiences of leaders from your community. The five topics are:

  • Leadership in Advocacy
  • Communication in Advocacy
  • Policy 101
  • Advocacy and Organizing on the Ground
  • Capacity Building

3 Principles of Leadership

Each session will apply directly to the work in our local community, and by the end of the two days we will have a shared grounding in the principles and practices of advocacy.

The three main goals for the training are:

Educate directly-impacted leaders on the skills, knowledge, and resources to become effective leaders, such as organizing, advocacy, policy analysis, capacity and coalition building, storytelling, and communications.

Empower leaders with tools to create change in their communities. JLUSA will provide tools and knowledge so directly-impacted leaders can use organizing and advocacy efforts to achieve community-led solutions.

Strengthen and expand JLUSA’s network of directly-impacted leaders, inclusive of individuals who are currently incarcerated.

*Training details will be provided once you are accepted*

Register Here: https://bit.ly/MILWAUKEE2023EL 

Facebook Event Link: https://fb.me/e/2AqD7T8Mw 

Latest Video, Podcast episode, and Newsletter Issue

All In All Out is a podcast partnership between The Community and the Milwaukee School of Engineering University Scholars Honors Program. It explores the nuance of topics and promotes greater collaboration in the reentry/reform/decarceration ecosystem in Wisconsin, as well as showcasing the successes, humanity, and agency of people with criminal records.

How to support this work

Donate now with PayPal

Donate with PayPal

Make a one-time donation or sign up for monthly donations here.

Donate with CashApp

Donate with CashApp

Click the icon or use $thecommunitynow on the CashApp app.

Donate with PayPal

Donate with Venmo

Click the icon or use @thecommunitynow on the Venmo app.

Free People Problems merchandise

See our Free People Problems page for fundraising merchandise options and info about the meaning behind the words and design. It’s more than a slogan; it’s pyschology.

photography image by Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography captures the vibrance of unfiltered nature to bring renewed hope and healing to those who need it. They donate 25% of profits from photography purchases to The Community.

Dev Cabin Technologies logo

Dev Cabin Technologies

Dev Cabin Technologies offers digital solutions for your business or personal needs, whether you need web design and development, apps, digital marketing, and more. Use the name “The Community” and they will donate 20% to us.

Donate Now with PayPal

Donate with PayPal

Make a one-time donation or sign up for monthly donations here.

Free People Problems merchandise

Free People Problems Merchandise

See our Free People Problems page for fundraising merchandise options and info about the meaning behind the words and design of the logo. It’s more than a slogan; it’s pyschology.

Donate with CashApp

Donate with CashApp

Click the icon or use $thecommunitynow on the app.

Donate with PayPal

Donate with Venmo

Click the icon or use @thecommunitynow on the app.

Amazon Smile

Donate with Amazon

1. Go to Smile.Amazon.com
2. Log in using your regular Amazon account info
3. Add “The Community” as the charity.

OR go to settings on the Amazon app on your phone and activate AmazonSmile, then add us as the charity.

Amazon will donate to us .5% of every purchase you make at no extra cost to you.

photography image by Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography captures the vibrance of unfiltered nature to bring renewed hope and healing to those who need it. They donate 25% of profits from photography purchases to us.

Dev Cabin Technologies logo

Dev Cabin Technologies

Dev Cabin Technologies offers digital solutions for your business or personal needs, whether you need web design and development, apps, digital marketing, or more. Use the name “The Community” and they will donate 10% to us.

Some Of Our Partners

Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison
FairShake
Kohler Foundation
The Bradley Foundation
Bader
Community Warehouse
The Way Out
Milwaukee Turners
WisconsinVoices.org
Represent Justice
Bader
Bader
Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks
Project Return

Some Of Our Partners

Our Team

Shannon Ross
Shannon Ross

Executive Director

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. He is also a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee’s Masters in Sustainable Peacebuilding program, a fellow with the Wisconsin Decarceration Platform, a mentor with Prisons to Professionals, and co-owner of a transportation company. To learn more about his speaking engagements and innovative consulting agency (Paradigm Shyft: Reentry Strategies and Consulting), visit his LinkedIn page below.

Jim Kaufman
Jim Kaufman

Jack-of-all-trades

Jim is an overall polymath with multiple degrees, graphic design expertise, legal acumen, and tech know-how who spent seven years in the Wisconsin prison system.

Ann Knoedler
Ann Knoedler

Office Manager

Ann is a retired newspaper reporter and Vice President of the Uptown Crossing Neighborhood Association and manages a community garden in Milwaukee.

Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers

Preentry Liaison & Information Analyst

Roy is a public speaker, advocate for “juvenile lifers” in the Wisconsin prison system, and an associate of the Wisconsin Alliance For Youth Justice (WAYJ). Roy has over two decades of experience mentoring and counseling youth during his 28 years in prison from the age of 16. He is a graduate of the Madison Area Technical College and certified in Entry Level IT training at the New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Milwaukee and CompTIA ITF. And he also serves as a musician at the Progressive Baptist Church.

Our Directors

Tracie Sparks - President
Tracie Sparks - President

Diversity & Inclusion Talent Acquisition Professional

Ryan Ramnarace - Vice President
Ryan Ramnarace - Vice President

Founding member of Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network

Iran Amandah - Treasurer
Iran Amandah - Treasurer

Co-founder of LRL Capital

Aldira Aldape - Secretary
Aldira Aldape - Secretary

Community Engagement Director Americans for Prosperity

Kobena-Marcus J. Collins
Kobena-Marcus J. Collins

Diversity & Inclusion Advisor

Catherine Pederson
Catherine Pederson

Founder & Executive Director of Loving Venti

Peter Borg
Peter Borg

Consulting Historian

Steven Olikara
Steven Olikara

Founder of Millennial Action Project

Keith Stanley
Keith Stanley

Executive Director of Near West Side Partners, Inc.

Contact & Follow Us

13 + 6 =