Destiny Carter has joined the public policy staff at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Her work is focused on reentry and criminal justice reform and Springfield-based advocacy. We asked Destiny to introduce herself.
My passion for advocating for underserved communities started at a very young age. Growing up in poverty, with a single parent, and moving frequently allowed me to see a variety of trauma and situations many people with low income face.
Throughout my childhood, I witnessed and personally experienced parents working 60+ hours a week to get by, families doubling up, and families living in questionable housing conditions. I saw the impact poverty had on generations and the impossibility of economic mobility.
Finally, I witnessed first-hand the curse that poverty placed upon black and brown people, people with disabilities or mental illnesses, and the formerly incarcerated. In living through these experiences, I knew that I had to be a facilitator for change.
This drive led me to law school, where I felt that helping individuals navigate through the problematic system of criminal justice could make a meaningful impact on these communities. Nevertheless, I soon realized that even with the great efforts public defenders and civil rights attorneys made, the underlying systems of oppression lingered.
Working with attorneys in civil rights law and criminal defense, I often saw how poverty and minority status had a significant impact on an individual’s entry into the criminal justice system. Even worse, I witnessed the additional barriers and trauma that criminal justice creates when an individual finally reenters society. This sparked my passion for reentry policy.
Policy is important to me because it allows me to advocate for change in the underlying systems that influence so many people’s lives. I am excited to be apart of a great organization like CCH and advocate for legislation that targets these underlying systems to create systemic change and allows people to stand on their own two feet.
Not only is this work important for the communities I’ve been apart of, it is also personal to me. I chose this work because I want to help families like my own create stability and break generational curses. My hope is that my time at CCH will help give communities a fighting chance and change the state of Illinois for the better.