Make a Lifelong Commitment to Justice: A Letter from Dr. Jocelynne Rainey

Dear Friends of GOSO,

“Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.” – John Lewis, Former U.S. Representative

As this difficult year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on these words from the late John Lewis. His statement resonates deeply with me because it affirms that we must not become complacent. The issues of systemic racism, mass incarceration, and police brutality are not new, and caring about these issues is not a trend. We remain committed to connecting our participants to essential resources for employment, education, and emotional well-being because we know this work is a critical piece of the solution to ending these devastating injustices at large.

2020 was a year of awakening for many and the awareness of the unjust realities of our society sparked hundreds of thousands to amplify their voices calling for justice. As a Black woman and a mother of two Black men, I know in my bones these injustices will continue into 2021. We must be prepared to push for justice, every day, month, and year until we achieve our vision for an equitable future for all.

Throughout this year, you’ve shown that you’re willing to push by being there for GOSO and the justice-involved people in our communities. With your support, we provided over 20,000 packs of PPE and 7,000 meals to our participants and neighbors. We distributed over 200 pieces of technology, like laptops and phones, so participants stayed on track to reach their goals. We continued to place participants in jobs, helped them to enroll in school, and provided essential mental health support during this heavy time. We pivoted to virtual services with little disruption and at the height of the pandemic, we were one of the only reentry services in New York City enrolling new participants. This was all made possible because you were by our side.

Looking ahead to 2021, I feel inspired by what I see in GOSO’s future knowing that you will be there with us. We’re growing to meet the need in New York City — our staff is expanding to serve even more justice-involved individuals in NYC, we’re moving to a larger office space that will allow for more robust programming and services, and we will be focusing our attention on policy work to create lasting, systemic change.

As John Lewis said, we must each do our part. Today, continue to do yours and make a donation to GOSO. Pledge to work alongside us and make this a lifelong commitment to justice. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2021.

In Strength and Solidarity,
Dr. Jocelynne Rainey
President & CEO, GOSO