Greetings friends of the marginalized! Many have been asking me, but I am not in Orange again this year for Lent (more on that later). Well, at least not the official Orange uniform of the imprisoned. Instead, a small but growing group of folks here in Waco (and we hope beyond as it progresses) will be wearing orange T-shirts on Wednesdays (and perhaps other times) during Lent. The T-shirts look like this for now.
The quote on the front comes from my final 40 Days in Orange experience with Juan, as shared in this paragraph. That’s Juan’s actual prison number. He has agreed to share his story in the near future. But here is my story with Juan: “Finally, my parents are in town for the weekend so we went to a local restaurant for some takeout. As we waited for our food, a couple of the staff mentioned that they had been reading about me. I gave them my usual smile and thanks, and kept sipping my water. And then Juan came up to our table where we waited. He said he heard what I was doing and wanted to shake my hand. He knew what I was wearing. He had been there. He thanked me. I asked how long he had been out. Two years. And he had been blessed with a job at this restaurant since he got out. Things were going pretty well for him, praise God. But I could still see a remnant of that shame that we unnecessarily and without mercy place on people like Juan. We shook hands again, he thanked me, I told him it was a blessing for me, and he concluded, ‘We’re not all bad people.’ “
Amen, Juan, Amen.
Let us know if you want a T-shirt! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. $12 each.
Our purpose is to advocate and build awareness for a Fair Chance Hiring Policy campaign for the greater Waco community and beyond. We will be posting further details on what a Fair Chance Hiring Policy means and how it benefits everyone in the community. However, a good way to refresh would be by re-reading some of the following links (see below) from last year, if interested.
As people of faith who follow a condemned criminal who provides chance after chance after chance for new life, we cannot keep silent about the dehumanizing stigma attached to those with criminal records. When one of us suffers, we all suffer. This Lenten season, please remember those who suffer, find ways to join with them in solidarity, and use what power you have to be a voice of grace. In the end, isn’t this what Lent is all about?