The Re-entry Action Committee (RAC) of Opportunity Youth United (OYUnited) is a diverse group of community leaders, justice impacted individuals, and concerned citizens organized for the purpose of bringing forth change in the American justice system. In addition to proactively advocating for legislation, policies, and practices that will produce changes and improvements to the system, the RAC aims to bring increased awareness to policymakers and community members by humanizing justice impacted individuals.
History and Purpose
Formed in 2021, the RAC was created to spread awareness, offer solutions, and influence systemic change in our country’s broken justice system. The RAC was formed because the issues around the broken justice system need to be addressed and corrected before any additional damage is done to Black, Latinx, Native American, and all low-income individuals and communities. We plan to put primary focus on improving the process of re-entry into society for returning citizens. The RAC was birthed from Opportunity Youth United’s national movement of young people and allies working to increase opportunity and decrease poverty in America.
Actions and Current Work
The RAC’s first step was to develop a comprehensive set of Recommendations for Improving the Justice System, integrating our own justice reform recommendations with those in the founding document of OYUnited’s National Council of Young Leaders. The RAC’s second step was to select several Federal legislative initiatives to support through direct communication and developing partnerships with other advocacy organizations.
As part of our commitment to informing the public and mobilizing grassroots action, the RAC led a Harvard Global Day of Service on August 30, 2021. The day included previously incarcerated individuals sharing their personal stories and goals for reform; educating Harvard students about positive legislation pending in Massachusetts and nationally; and advocating directly with elected officials.
We built on the work of the Harvard Day of Service by convening a group of Massachusetts returned citizens to communicate necessary changes to the MA Department of Corrections. After carefully designing their policy priorities, in May, 2022, the group presented them to Senator Will Brownsberger and two of his colleagues. These priorities were based on the group’s collective 100 years of direct experience in 17 different MA jails and prisons. Following this meeting, Senator Brownsberger invited the group to participate in creating new reform legislation that he will be introducing in 2023. Brownsberger is former chair of the judiciary committee and the President Pro Tem of the MA Senate. Learn More Here.
We are currently preparing to interview a series of returned citizens to create a video series that uplifts their humanity and that communicates what policies are beneficial to rehabilitation and re-entry.
Join or Support Us!
The Re-entry Action Committee (RAC) welcomes former and current Opportunity Youth and their allies to join. The RAC also welcomes support from foundations, corporations, and individuals who believe in the power of underserved young adults who have dedicated their lives to repairing and rebuilding the broken justice system.