AT&T is working with organizations across the country to help create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black, Brown and underserved communities that face long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment.
In Washington, DC, AT&T is working with two organizations that share those common goals: Voices for a Second Chance (VSC) and SchoolTalk-Restorative DC. AT&T recently contributed $100,000 to these two organizations to help prevent violence among young people and to help previously incarcerated men and women find jobs and create new opportunities for themselves and their families.
VSC is a Washington, DC nonprofit providing comprehensive services for citizens transitioning from incarceration to community. VSC connects with these individuals in local jails, federal prisons, and community corrections facilities. During incarceration, VSC provides critical connection between the individual and loved ones and community members. Upon reentry, VSC helps clients with obtaining vital records, trauma recovery support groups, referrals to medical and mental health care, and their Family Connections programming for children of incarcerated parents. VSC served over 4700 clients in 2019, and in 2020 they are experiencing a 20% increase in clients due to the COVID-19 compassionate release laws. AT&T contributed $75,000 to help VSC meet its mission.
“During this most difficult time, VSC has had to reimagine the way we provide much needed resources and services to justice-involved individuals and returning citizens in the Nation’s Capital by transitioning and making our essential services available virtually,” said Paula Thompson, executive director, VSC. “With the support of AT&T, Voices for a Second Chance will continue to bridge the gap from incarceration to community by providing and connecting resources for sustainability by accessing opportunities for workforce development training and employment, securing housing, and reunifying with family and community. AT&T’s support helps ensure VSC continues to meet the need at a most critical time and provide the space for returning citizens to reconnect and rebuild their lives.”
Violence, trauma, suspensions, and truancy negatively affect school communities and have a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable students. SchoolTalk's RestorativeDC is a community-based initiative that provides technical assistance to support D.C. schools in the integration of restorative justice philosophy and practices into school communities. RestorativeDC is supported by a diverse collective of local restorative justice practitioners. SchoolTalk’s team has a deep knowledge base that spans multiple restorative justice models and practices, as well as complementary expertise in social work, drama therapy, non-violent communication, positive discipline, coaching, trauma-informed practices, special education, and more. AT&T contributed $25,000 to SchoolTalk for the RestorativeDC initiative.
“Restorative justice allows us to bring our community closer together to heal and stay connected during both good and very difficult times like now. The issues we address are systemic issues; our approach needs to be systemic as well. Our restorative justice work creates a space where youth have voice and value. We empower youth to advocate for themselves and their communities,” said Yazid Jackson, Restorative Justice Program Manager, SchoolTalk. “Support from AT&T will help SchoolTalk continue this important work to drive positive change in D.C. communities now and into the future.”
This support is part of AT&T’s Believe DCSM, which harnesses our employees’ generosity, supports it with company resources, and joins with collaborators to make an even bigger impact on local communities and society at large. This is part of a broader $10 million effort by AT&T to address social inequality through support for education and career readiness programs for underserved people and cultivating Black technology development and entrepreneurship at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“We know there is much more that must be addressed when it comes to racial inequities across every facet of society – education, health care, economic opportunities and jobs – across our communities,” said Denis Dunn, president, AT&T-Washington, DC. “We continue to work with these and other organizations throughout the District of Columbia to address these issues in underserved communities.”
Dunn added that AT&T has been working with several organizations in Washington, DC this year to help them deal with the challenges presented by COVID-19 and to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black, Brown and underserved communities. These groups include On-Ramps to Careers, So Others Might Eat (SOME); Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW); A Wider Circle; Friendship Place; Genesys Works; Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington; Washington School for Girls; National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI); Washington Jesuit Academy; and Washington Tennis/Education Foundation. All told, AT&T contributed more than $400,000 this year to organizations in Washington, DC to help them meet these challenges.
Our society doesn't work if it doesn't work equally for all. We recognize that inequalities are pervasive, and we have a role to play in helping to address them. That’s why we’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives, particularly amongst historically underserved populations. We have a long history of investing in projects that promote academic and economic achievement and addressing community needs that promote social justice and racial equality. With a financial commitment of $600 million through AT&T Aspire since 2008, AT&T has leveraged technology, relationships and social innovation to help give people – regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status – the opportunity to succeed.