As an adjective, impartial is “treating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just”. This approach is without: bias, adjusting one’s moral compass or personal agendas. It is using your power or control with integrity when it is hard, inconvenient or otherwise. You don’t take sides. You take action.
As a non-profit, Impartial is a new non-profit that creates awareness and support for US criminal justice non-profits. The way we do that is by introducing unique opportunities to learn and impact the US criminal justice system. Learning is done through storytelling, research, blogs and more. Impact is accomplished through each individual’s own level and frequency of involvement and often by giving what is possible a chance. Part of our mission is to assist you in optimizing your justice choices.
The reason I founded Impartial is simple. Years ago, I was prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit and for over six years I learned first hand the twists and turns of what our justice system is like. After that experience, I felt implored to do something with what I had learned. Honestly, at first, my instincts were to be bulletproof. After that wore off, I had to evaluate what I thought was possible.
Clearly, we are taking a long view. Perseverance is going to have to lead the way. Listening is one of the many ways that I humble myself. Regardless of what I had learned and felt through my own case, it paled in comparison with those that were in the legal community. They were taught in classrooms, constantly tested in courtrooms, collected/rejected their own life experiences and biases, but in the end…..many/most succumbed to the reality of a broken criminal justice system.Generally, they were too busy doing their jobs to lift their eyes above the current horizon and imagine that there were other ways to “do justice”.
The vision that I have is a system that our future justice leaders will use their values, resources and relationships to align with holding guilty people accountable for their actions. At the same time acknowledging that the majority of inmates return to our communities at some point and need to be acclimated to at least a minimum standard of living when they are “back in the world”. There are a disproportionate number of mentally ill, addicted and/or actually innocent people in our system. They are treated like criminals and exposed to a criminal environment and mentality when that is not who they were.
Another part of our vision is to find unique ways to financially support US criminal justice non-profits so that they spend less time searching for funding and volunteers and more time executing their mission. I can’t imagine running a successful business when you are often wondering if you can pay your bills, much less scale your mission, and that what you can do is controlled by how much and when people decide to donate. Without consistency, we are asking nonprofits to take a chance at starting/managing a business haphazardly.
The only way that people are going to consistently support non-profits is if they either believe in their mission or if there is some other product, service, etc… that the supporter receives in the process. Impartial offers truly interesting ways of creating funding, for example, we have a significant collection of prison artwork. We offer memberships and we are listening to other products and services that will raise funds for criminal justice non-profits.
The first step is awareness. Generally, you don’t support what you don’t know about. There are about 2500 US criminal justice non-profits that have their own niche and can do amazing work. They have carved out a piece of the criminal justice system that they think they can make better. If we agree with that, if we understand their mission, the next step is to volunteer our time or funds. When you buy a product or service from Impartial a significant amount of the net proceeds is donated to the criminal justice non-profit that you choose. Collectively, our consistent funding and time allows non-profits to maintain and scale their mission.
I am asking you to keep an open mind about what is possible. If you are a criminal justice professional, you might need to “unhear or unsee” things that are familiar to you to make room for what is possible. There are drivers, signals and scenarios that criminal justice nonprofits are using to create a much more progressive criminal justice system.
There is a part of your humanity that is absolutely never the same when you know that you have made an impact. It is not tangible, or easily defined and yet it is undeniable and profound. It changes you.
We are Impartial. We care that you make your best impact on the criminal justice system and want to optimize that experience for you and with you. Let’s do this. Welcome to being Impartial.