(written by another advocate)
My friend, Brian, wanted me to share this: He’s living with an intellectual disability and has been out of housing for about 2 years. He did incredible work over the last year to find a job, stay sober, and pursue housing. We finally had it all lined up, and he was ready to move in December 1st. He went home to visit family for Thanksgiving, went to the gas station for some milk for his mom, got profiled and arrested for a bogus 4 year old warrant he didn’t know he had. His mom and I were set to advocate at his court date, but the bailiff never brought him in. We found out later the DA held him up in a back room, told him no one was there on his behalf –– that he would either have to take a plea bargain for 4 months in jail or face 11 mo & 29 days. Terrified and with out any representation, he took the plea bargain, lost his housing & his job, and served 120 days that could have easily been dismissed with evidence on his behalf. SO shameful. But TODAY –– we celebrated his release and found out he’ll get his job back and has a new chance at housing. Somehow he has managed to keep kindness and hope alive, even in the most dehumanizing and unjust circumstances, but why is this even happening?! I wish I could say this was an unusual story, but it happens every day in our backwards, racist “justice” system. If you still have doubts about the criminalization of black & brown people, poor people, or people with mental illnesses, let’s talk –– or better yet, talk to Brian. I’m so overjoyed that he’s finally free, but for God’s sake, we’ve got to stop this. Open Table Nashville, Inc.