“I don’t think I would have been given as much time if I were a man. I was sentenced to 18 years for robbery in the first. They charged me as though I were a predicate, but I was a first time felon. I appealed, but it was denied because I had taken a plea bargain. I was 19 years old and pregnant when I went to prison and I served 15 years.” – Naquasia Pollard turns 34 years old today. This is her first birthday at home since was 19 years old.
“I think the ability to discern is a gift that is given to most women. In the Bible wisdom is referred to as a woman. I wouldn’t be as wise if I weren’t a woman. I call this discernment God speaking to us. This ability has empowered me to fight for incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and marginalized women and girls.” – Topeka K. Sam is the founder and executive director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries. The mission of The LOHM is to help disenfranchised & marginalized women transition back into society through education, spiritual empowerment, entrepreneurship & advocacy. She is also the c0- founder of Hope House. Topeka served 3.5 years in federal prison and today is her birthday as well as the 2018 #dayofempathy.
“Everything would have been different if I weren’t a woman, especially where I come from in rural Switzerland. It was very gender distinct, so much so that I never even heard about homosexuality until very late in life. My mother said she was a feminist but there was a big discrepancy between her discourse and her actions. She was the center pole of the family and she worked hard and earned a better living than my father but there was always a deference to the males in the family. That is just the way it was there. In my village, divorced women were often looked down on. Even if it was the man who had a lover and broke up the marriage, it was the divorced woman who would have the lower social position. But my mother was always kind to divorced women, well really to all women. She loved women. ” – Sylvie Degiez is originally from Switzerland and is a composer/musician/educator.