It’s daunting to think about transforming America’s criminal-justice system. As it stands, 2.3 million people are incarcerated in our prisons and jails with unequal representation from Black and brown communities. There are between 70 million and 100 million people with criminal records facing extreme barriers to opportunity. We have 50 states, each with different political and cultural realities, and each on a different journey to reform. The challenge before us is immense.
What gives me hope? Leaders like Brian Hooks and organizations like Stand Together—the philanthropic nonprofit he leads—who recognize that rebuilding our justice system, among the many other issues they tackle, starts with rethinking the way we work. They see that scalable progress is only possible when we partner with others and build bridges across every imaginable divide.
This core principle of collaboration speaks volumes about Brian’s leadership. It sends a message to anyone who’s trying to move mountains in tough, often divided spaces, that we’re our best selves and get to our best outcomes when we work together.
Chan is a doctor and a philanthropist who co-established the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative