Meet Mars Kamenski
I believe that we are all worth more than the worst mistake that we have ever made and that we must work to reshift our focus on dismantling oppressive systems while simultaneously creating new models around community care, so that we are addressing the root causes of crime instead of trying to punish our way out of crime.
As someone who has worked within the legal system for the last 7+ years, I have seen the in’s and outs of the way the system operates have seen what works, what doesn’t work, and how mass incarceration impacts people. I believe that our current ways of responding to harm are oftentimes rooted in punishment using an oppressive system that was created to specifically target marginalized communities. Oftentimes, I have seen that certain practices end up creating a cycle of oppression that makes re-entry or success very difficult.
I am interested in re-imagining what true justice looks like and have spent my career advocating for more compassionate, humane, and just structures and ways of doing business that are rooted in seeing the person, instead of the crime. In my experience in working with people with criminal records, those of which have been predominantly youth of color between the ages of 18-24, I have seen firsthand the barriers that they face and how difficult it is to establish self-sufficiency. Everyone deserves a right to housing and employment, amongst other things that equal success in our society. A criminal record should not impact this but it is.
I serve on the Board for the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition because of the policy and legislative focus that is a core part of the way that the Coalition engages in this work. I think the Coalition has the reputation and credibility necessary to make some transformative changes on a macro level.
Meet Gina Evans
I am grateful that my lived experience, struggles and success is now an opportunity to create change and I thank God every day for that opportunity.”
I serve at the Mn Second Chance Coalition because as a formerly incarcerated woman my path to redemption and restoration was very difficult. Finding jobs, housing, and seeing myself as worthy even when others didn’t felt impossible at times. The thing about this is I am a white educated person of privilege and this journey can be even more difficult for others that don’t look like me. My passion and purpose is to smooth the path for those coming behind me, create new opportunities, eliminate barriers and help change laws to provide a more dignified criminal legal system for all people. I am grateful that my lived experience, struggles and success is now an opportunity to create change and I thank God every day for that opportunity.”