Zoom Meeting
Today was our SECOND Zoom meeting, and we had 56 participants!!!
 
Guests: Welcome, virtual guests John Stevens, and Al Quan from the Bainbridge Club, and Clark Morgan – all friends of Gary Nakamura. 
 
The meeting was run jointly by Michele Doyle and Kathy, as Kathy was initially expecting to be on vacation, but had to return.   
 
No story from Ardis this week, due to hip trouble, but otherwise she is okay! 
 
Pluto's AdviceMichele began with a video of “Pluto’s Advice,” from a “four-legged” to the “two-leggeds,” who are in crisis.  
 
Donna Pledger had our Thought For the Day: “Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” George Sand 
 

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

 
1. Jon didn’t have any announcements. Please email announcements to Jon. 
2. Jim Sund thanked Hugh Nelson for getting the scholarship application on the website. The cutoff is April 26, so please spread the word. 
3. Rob Gelder shared that outbound Exchange Student Chris Carthum has decided to come home early. 
4. Duda is doing okay – she has been doing lots of crafts, but she reported that her teacher finally found her. She showed her tie-dye shirt (which was beautiful!) 
5. Viking Tour has been postponed to Aug. 22 (Saturday). It’s the day before E. Jefferson Rotary’s bike ride, but they might be able to market them together and offer discounts. 
6. Lori thanked the volunteers who have been transporting plastic for our Trex project – 5645 pounds of plastic. Thank you to drivers: Rodger Gallington, Ray Donahue, Steve Hogg, and backup drivers Duane Edwards, Jim Davidson, and Tony Modugno 
 

MAIN PRESENTATION: The Washington State Civil Survival Project 

Tarra Simmons:

The Washington State Civil Survival Project Tarra is the Executive Director of the Civil Survival Project in Washington State, whose mission is to organize people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation. She is also now running as a Democrat for an open House seat in the 23rd Legislative District. 
 
Tarra is an attorney who was previously incarcerated, who now resides in Bremerton. She had many adverse childhood experiences – parents who were addicts, divorce, exposure to violence in a family with mental health issues and incarceration. She left home at thirteen and was in and out of foster homes, then had a child at age fourteen. She returned to high school so she could keep her child. She finished all four years of high school in a single year and went on to become a registered nurse. She was injured in an accident and became addicted to the opioids she was prescribed for her pain. 
 
Tarra went to jail for two and half years, during which time her children didn’t have their mom. She received help in jail from a group of volunteer women, who later sponsored her in a 12-step program when she was released. She was able to heal, and she had a support network. She is now eight years into her recovery with no drugs and no alcohol. 
 
Tarra SimmonsIn the US, 1/3 people who are released from incarceration go back to prison. There are many civil issues that follow incarceration: divorce, custody issues, foreclosures, credit card debt, repossessed vehicles, and HIGH court costs with 12% interest. When she was released, she got a job at a fast food restaurant that paid minimum wage, and 50% of her wages were garnished for court costs. 
So Tarra Simmons went to law school. She started a non-profit which now has staff and a 1.5 million dollar budget. But her challenges didn’t end there. She was initially denied the right to take the bar exam. It took her seven months to get to the Washington Supreme Court, who voted unanimously to allow her to take the bar. She has helped get laws changed – there is no longer interest charged for nonrestitutive legal fees, and she works with the Governor and Drew Hanson and others to change more laws and to enact the New Hope Act.
  
Tarra noted that the US has 5% of the world’s population but has 25% of the world’s prisoners. Unemployment runs at 27% among the formerly incarcerated. (Compare this to the 25% unemployment rate in the US during the Great Depression.) We need to stop the recidivism. And we do that by creating job opportunities and offering supports. 
 
Kitsap county released 276 prisoners in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. But they released them without housing or food. Other nearby counties reduced numbers so prisoners would have their own cells and they housed those released in hotel rooms with supports so they don’t commit crimes. 
 
Her project his helping many get their legal fees waived. When people see their debt go down, they’re more willing to pay their other legal financial obligations and vacate their criminal records. They have a chance. 
 
Tarra talked about a change in the prison system in Norway, which no longer has violence. Prison there is were people learn how to become a better neighbor. The have a rehabilitative model: mental health support, education, and drug treatment. 
 
We need more higher education opportunities, more apprenticeships, and more access to mental health and drug treatments. This will reduce recidivism and will reduce the costs of incarceration. 
 
Applause
NOTE from the writer: I think if this had been a face-to-face meeting, there would have been a standing ovation! Tarra was extremely inspiring. THANK YOU! 
 
HAPPY BUCKS: 
Happy Bucks
Steve G: Delighted with Zoom – it’s a game changer! 
Dan W: A happy $10 for adding David Roefer to First Underwriters Inc. 
Nick: now using Zoom for pleasure, as opposed to just work 
Hugh (from Paris!): at 8pm, everyone opens their windows and applauds to thank the medical workers and all the people who are working 
Kathy: thanked Meredith and Michele for taking care of the meeting 
Tom – wants Tarra’s contact info. 
Ann: Tarra is a stunning model of what rehabilitation can do! 
 
Meredith: recorded Tarra’s presentations and will share. It can be forwarded to anyone, plus the closed captioning (thank you, Laurynn!) and the chat. 
 
Steve (part 2): He’s having a virtual Zoom dinner with family on Sunday. Please call Steve Garfein if you need help setting it up!