Just announced is the second annual Long Walk to Freedom, set for Saturday, October 11th, 2008 at Richmond City Jail (1701 Fairfield Way). The walk is “symbolic of the difficulties and struggles that an incarcerated individual faces as he or she strives to re-enter society. A smoother transition is made possible through the aid of solution providers– food services, counseling services, legal aid, education opportunities, job training, and housing.”
Long Walk to Freedom is designed to achieve two goals: 1) raise awareness of the challenges facing released prisoners and 2) raise funds for programs that provide solutions to these challenges. The walk, scheduled for October 11, 2008, will begin at Richmond City Jail and end at Freedom House’s Conrad CenterÃ¢â‚¬â€both on Oliver Hill Way.
Long Walk to Freedom participants will experience the “virtual reality” of re-entry issues from the perspective of released prisoners. They exit the Richmond City Jail and the challenges begin:
“¢ How and where do I eat and sleep?
“¢ How do I get a job and/or training for a job?
“¢ How do I cope with the broken relationships I left behind?
“¢ How do I recover from self-destructive habits?
“¢ How do I become part of a productive, law-abiding community?
“¢ And the question underlying all the others: Who Cares?
Along the way, walkers will encounter the challenges of re-entry and the community resources dedicated to helping individuals needing a second chance. Stations along the walk will represent the various barriers to and solutions for the ex-offender. These stops will address housing, food, identification, self-esteem and emotional competency, addiction recovery, transportation, employment and restoring relationships with family and community.