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Raquel Thomas, C'2021, Works to Empower Children of Incarcerated Parents

August 2019

Raquel ThomasExperiencing parental incarceration has taught Raquel Thomas, C'2021, how to persevere in the midst of hardships. She is the founder of Liberating Legacies, a program focused on supporting middle and high school students with incarcerated parents. With the help of a $1,500 grant from the Change Agent Tank, which is supported by the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute, Thomas plans to partner with Forever Family, Inc., to recruit participants.

Through weekly meetings, she hopes to help empower participants by assisting them in narrating their own experiences through readings and discussions on topics like mass incarceration.

"The program will expose young people to social, emotional and academic lessons that will allow them to understand how to use oppression as a tool for progression," she said.

A Scholar and Thought Leader

A member of the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program, Thomas is no stranger to success inside and outside of the classroom. She serves as co-director of leadership and civic engagement of Spelman's Student Government Association and is a Social Justice Fellow.  After graduating from Spelman, Thomas will enter a Ph.D. program studying how parental incarceration shapes Black girls’ navigation through girlhood.; and become CEO of her nonprofit, Liberating Legacies. She also aspires to develop as a writer, speaker and global traveler.

Start of QuoteNo matter what I have lived through, I always remain hopeful and I End of Quotebelieve I am meant to teach others how to do the same. More than anything else, I describe myself as a lover of people and a life-long learner with an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

In Her Own Words

Raquel Thomas I am a first-generation college student and UNCF/ Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Spelman majoring in sociology and minoring in Spanish. Higher education has gifted me with the privilege and access to resources to study societal systems not only in the U.S. but also abroad in the Dominican Republic and Italy. I am adamant about becoming an interdisciplinary scholar who dedicates herself to work that uplifts the narratives of marginalized people both domestically and globally. 

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