Our Founder: Rahim Buford

Rahim Buford shares his thoughts on his beginnings, time in prison, identity reconstruction, and the indomitable human spirit.


MY REASON, MY WHY, MY WORK

I discovered “MY WHY” and inspiration from the pain, misery, and suffering from individuals confined in prison with me, including my very own biological brother’s and our tragedies combined. I believed that I could help to change fear-based stereotypes of how society viewed prisoners and formerly incarcerated citizens by becoming a Voice for restorative justice. It became apparent to me that WE had to challenge the labels of criminal, convict, and felon as our identities and present narratives of our humanity through OUR own authentic voices. I clearly realized that we had to be accountable for behaviors that harmed our communities and demonstrate that WE have value to contribute to society from our transformations and desires to make amends. My work is to be an advocate, reformer, and organizer for the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and affected communities. JUSTICE includes MERCY and second chances. Social Justice involves equality and empowering disenfranchised persons. I will partner with affected families brutalized by Mass-Incarceration, build bridges of reconciliation and work to empower formerly incarcerated persons to become self-determined leaders who give back through the Unheard Voices Outreach.
— Rahim Buford