What Inspires our VISTAS?

You are here

Release Date: 
Monday, July 15, 2019

“When you try to repress a human soul that’s trying to struggle upward, you’re handling dynamite. There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.” -W.E.B DuBois

Grace, a community partnership VISTA serving in New York at the Office of the Appellate Defender chose this quote as her inspiration. It serves as a reminder of the obstacles her family and she have faced to get her to the opportunities she now has, and that willpower alone can overcome improbable odds. This quote also helps Grace feel connected to the formerly incarcerated client population that her work site serves, as these clients understand the endless struggles to overcome crushing injustice in an unequal society better than anyone.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill

Andrea, serving in Montgomery County Defender's Office, has seen large populations in Pennsylvania face a number of challenges such as poverty. A system for reentry will not be developed overnight. Planning and collaboration from public defenders, social services, community organizations, mental health facilities, and so many more actors will certainly help push things a long way. Of what Andrea has encountered so far, she can see that it may be easy for the clients of the Public Defender office to give up and lose all hope. But, what she has seen from the public defenders, the probation officers, and any others is that it while cycling in and out of the prison system may seem like the worst kind of hell, the support network helping along the way can ease the journey and make successful reentry possible. The client’s just have to make it through.