Wow, I got your attention there didn’t I. I can see everyone’s mind racing about what a ridiculous statement this is. Afterall, aren’t these the people that have broken the trust of others, stealing, embezzling, engaged in corruption, Ponzi schemes, back office mayhem and other tricks to devoid others of funds? I am sure that is what comes to mind when you read this statement and imagine these scoundrels robbing the country blind. That is the picture the media has painted, so its no wonder it is what comes to your mind. Or maybe you have been negatively, personally affected by someone in this group.
But, let me tell you the real story about those who I have met, befriended and interacted with in what I prefer to call the White Collar Justice Impacted Community (WCJIC). Just a few days ago at Jeff Grant’s White Collar Support Group, I listened to the stories of over twenty individuals from around the United States and world, talk about the life choices that led to their crimes and the devastating affects on themselves, families, and victims. Members vary in professional background, age, gender, race, religion, and time spent incarcerated or on community supervision. The testimonials were extremely moving and emotional. Often full of shame, regret, disappointment, fear, and anger. But because of time dedicated to healing with this group, the friendships that have been cultivated, self reflection and growth, I also heard love, hope, and acceptance. Plus, a desire to give back and engage in meaningful work.
The members are good, humble humans that need support in a world where so many have abandoned them.
From the beginning of Jeff Grant’s formation of The White Collar Support Group, the goal has been to help the members move from isolation to community. Isolation that is not just from society, but also from our internal cell of shame and guilt. For myself, I was isolated by shame and guilt for more than three years after my crime. In finding Jeff Grant, and several others like me, I feel normal and have a home. I also have a place where, for at least one hour each week, I am not judged, ridiculed, or stereotyped. They are my COMMUNITY. and I am proud of them.
We would all tell you that we should definitely not run the country. But, many have stated that they would trust others in the group (and that they met in prison) more than many others they worked with in their previous professional lives.
Now, we ask for others to provide the same acceptance and trust so that we may rebuild our lives.