Name: Kimberly Haven
What city and state do you live in?: Baltimore, Maryland
How and why did you get involved in the work?: Currently I am the Director of Policy, Advocacy and Outreach for Prison Cells to PhD. I am the Policy and Coalition Director for Reproductive Justice Inside. I am the Legislative Strategist and Liaison for Interfaith Action for Human Rights
What made you want to join CLI?: I knew that the Institute brings an amazing cadre of women together with the same passion that I have and I believed that if I were accepted, I would be a part of an amazing cohort that can collaborate, empower, strengthen each other to achieve our goals.
I am a consummate student and there is so much more that I need to learn to further hone my skills, improve my efficacy and connect me with work in a way that is currently not available to me. I am interested in building out my capacity to expand my work and to be an ally to and support the work that others are doing. While there is a much that I want to learn, I also knew that I bring to the space, an extensive skill set and unique experiences and accomplishments that could contribute to the work of others.
What has been the most valuable thing so far about being a part of CLI?: For me it is the cohort members and the trainings. Even with the impact of COVID on our physically being able to get together, we have adapted to this “new normal” and still been able to share and collaborate. The trainings that have been put together have been timely for me and impactful. The fact that they are delivered by women, to women and for women has been a powerful model for me and that each time we have come together, everything is rooted in “self-care” – not happening in another forum I am involved in.
What do you wish people knew about women who are incarcerated/formerly incarcerated/their families?: We are the changemakers – we are the voice and the power that is poised to change the narratives, change the perceptions of our people, and be the drivers of change. Working together as women, we can support the work of our sisters working in this space and to shape policy work that will ensure our rights remain protected, that we end the collateral consequences associated with justice system involvement, we end the mass incarceration practices and ideologies and that the voices of women and girls with the lived experiences are at the forefront of policy reform, and creating a shift in the narrative.
We are the women and changemakers that others were warned about. We are here.
What is your favorite form of self-care?: Before this year, I would have answered: Work – Now I make time for self-care in many forms. It has not been an easy adjustment for me as I have been a workaholic my whole life – But now I practice daily gratitudes, I make it a priority to spend time with friends (and not talk about work), and prioritize living in the moment at home. Learning to relax and invest in myself continues to be something I work on, but I understand the importance of and am committed to practicing self-care.
Who is your biggest supporter?: I have an exceptionally strong support network. In this network (which sounds really big but truthfully is 5 people) – I not only get unwavering support, but also honesty and grounding. My best friend is perhaps my strongest supporter but is also my voice of reason.
Anything else you want to share?: My work has become my passion & purpose because of my experiences. I never forget those I left behind or who follow. What we do to, what we don’t do for or with those who are incarcerated comes back to our communities. I am committed to the concept that those closest to the problem are also those that are closest to the solution - yet we are routinely denied a seat at the table - much less provided with the opportunity to direct the work and shape the narrative that is truly reflective of our experiences and that is authentically driven by us. Laws and policies are directed at us - not with us. I am committed to working to create and support models that elevate our voices and that creates new narratives.