Reform Alliance has a goal of donating 100,000 masks to prisons to aid in combating the COVID-19 virus.
Shaka Senghor of Reform Alliance received an anonymous $100,000 donation, said Jessica Jackson, chief advocacy officer. The organization used this money to buy personal protective equipment.
“We partnered with Shaka Senghor — who spent 19 years in prison and wrote a memoir about his life — who was able to find us an anonymous donor who donated $100,000 to buy masks,” said Jackson.
Reform Alliance was founded in 2019 by celebrities and business leaders, according to CNBC on April 3. Among its members are musicians Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Meek Mills. Meek was once arrested on drug charges.
Another member is Van Jones, who served in President Obama’s administration. Jones helped pass the First Step Act. Other members of the group are notables such as Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots; Robert Smith, CEO of Vista Equity, and Dan Loeb, CEO of Third Point. This group helps as advocates for granting clemency and reforming penal codes and probation.
Of the purchased masks, 40,000 were delivered to the Tennessee Department of Corrections and 5,000 were delivered to Mississippi State Penitentiary.
New York’s Rikers Island will receive 50,000 masks. Rikers Island usually houses around 5,000 to 6,000 incarcerated people and there are at least 200 documented cases of COVID-19.
Senghor is a consulting producer for the Oprah Winfrey Network program titled “Released.”
He visited San Quentin in November 2017, where he said he wanted to collaborate with men in prison, according to a San Quentin News article.
The documentary “Released” follows Kevin Carr and Sam Johnson, who were both paroled from San Quentin. The show illustrates how they are transitioning into society.
Senghor had spent 19 years in a Michigan prison.
Both Senghor and the attorney/author of The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander, have spoken at the Ella Baker Center in Oakland. Senghor also met President Obama.