We are proud to continue our Justice Transformer of the Month series, recognizing individuals from our community who are working to create a more equitable and vibrant world for everyone. We are honored and privileged to call Tasia Hawkins one of GOSO’s Action Board members. Tasia serves on our Programming Support Committee and works hard to make sure everyone can benefit from new technologies as Social Impact Program Manager at DoorDash. We are so grateful to Tasia for arranging a Fundraise with DoorDash event that raised money for justice-involved youth with every purchase of a meal.
We sat down with Tasia to get her insight on equity, using her voice for good, and what Justice Transformation means to her.
How did you get involved with GOSO?
I got involved with GOSO in 2019 after hearing about GOSO through one of my teammates. I knew I was really aligned with the mission and decided to get more involved through the Action Board.
How do you work to be inclusive and work towards a more equitable society for all?
I believe that an equitable society for all requires structural change in our policies and economy. In addition to volunteering with organizations like GOSO, I also work to support progressive political candidates, distribute funding to community organizers, and create corporate social impact programs that support local economies and people of color.
How do you feel society can move past the stigmas of incarceration?
As a society we need to better understand and empathize with the personal circumstances that oftentimes lead to incarceration, and learn about the vast amount of legislation in our country that has overcriminalized people and been designed to disproportionately incarcerate people of color. The combination of a lack of equitable opportunity, generations of trauma, and racist policies can limit people’s options and lead to incarceration, but certainly doesn’t mean that people who’ve been incarcerated are inherently bad people.
How can we level the playing field, so that people with justice involvement can see a future for themselves in any career?
Part of the issue is that people with justice involvement oftentimes didn’t see viable careers or economic opportunity before they were incarcerated. I think we first need to address the education systems in the communities that are disproportionately criminalized and increase funding for career programs. I also think for those who are currently and formerly incarcerated, programs like GOSO that provide access to education and employment are fundamental. There needs to be more resources to allow people who’ve been incarcerated to gain the skills, experiences, and education to transition quickly into a career, and a commitment from employers to hire them.
What does justice transformation mean to you?
To me, justice transformation means a world in which our justice system is focused on recovery, rehabilitation, and reentry rather than simply punishment, and we have strong communities with the resources to help prevent crime from happening in the first place.
Do you have a personal motto that guides you in your daily life? What keeps you focused and motivated during challenging times?
I’m all about self care and remembering that as a Black woman, staying healthy and thriving is an accomplishment in itself. There’s an Audre Lorde quote that keeps me grounded: “Caring for myself is not self indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”