Today is #GivingTuesday –a global day dedicated to giving and building awareness for organizations that help people in need.
Read this story below from our client Roy for an example of how your gift to the Mississippi Center for Justice goes to fight for justice for Mississippians.
Please let us count on you to help Mississippians like Roy. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution gift to the Mississippi Center for Justice today.
Roy Harness served three years in the Army and earned a reputation as a hard worker for Southern California Edison Power Company before a drug addiction landed him in prison.
Harness was released, overcame his addiction, and returned to school. He has since graduated cum laude from Jackson State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work, and is on track to receive his master’s degree in 2019. His goal is to become a social worker with the Veterans’ Administration.
“I hope I can inspire and empower other veterans who are suffering the way I suffered,” Harness says.
Having beaten his addiction, reconciled with his family, worked hard for his education, and dedicated his life to helping others, Harness is now focused on another goal. He would like to regain his right to vote.
“I did my time. I’m clean and sober and I’m an educated, productive citizen,” Harness says. “I want to be in a position to make a difference and that means being a part of the decision making process in our state.”
Under Mississippi law, those convicted of certain crimes are permanently banned from voting. The law is a part of the state’s 1890 constitution, which was drafted with the express purpose of denying African Americans the right to vote.
Harness is one of the plaintiffs in a case filed by MCJ challenging the 1890 provision. The ultimate goal is to restore the right to vote for thousands of Mississippians denied that right under this archaic, discriminatory law.
For Roy Harness, the opportunity to represent so many others in his situation through the lawsuit is one more form of redemption.
“Who would have thought that a former crack head, homeless scrub would be in a master’s program, a voice for veterans, and an advocate for voting rights?” Harness says with a proud smile. “Sometimes I wonder, why did it take me so long to reach this point? But now, I see the value in these experiences and what they gave me to offer to others. And that feels good.”