By, Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bullock
“Iron sharpens iron” is a powerful proverbial Old Testament text that signifies that people can become better or stronger by challenging and pushing each other. This simple statement is an ancient call to understand that no one is alone.
We need one another. When applied to the context of reentry after incarceration, “Iron
sharpens iron” emphasizes the importance of individuals supporting and learning from one another during the process of reintegrating into society.
Many reentry organizations are being led by returning citizens themselves. By coming together, individuals who have been incarcerated provide mutual support, empathy, and understanding. They share their experiences, challenges, and successes, offering insights and guidance to one another.
Below are just a few of the organizations that have hosted powerful and informative events I had the privilege of attending this year:
Reentry Certification Training for Churches & Individuals
Maryland Reentry and Justice Involved Conference
Second Chance Month Job & Resource Fair
DC Corrections Information Council Event
2023 Prison Fellowship: Unlock Second Chances
National Second Chance Town Hall
Welcome Home! Family, Friends & Neighbors
STEM-ops Second Chance Roundtable
It is evident, by connecting with others who have undergone similar challenges, many find inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on navigating the hurdles of reentry. Through these interactions, persons can share strategies for finding employment, coping with emotional challenges, accessing resources, and building a positive support network.
I am grateful for the chance to engage in dialogue with these organizations, as it has expanded my understanding of the complex issues surrounding reentry and prison ministry. It has also reaffirmed my commitment to supporting these critical initiatives and advocating for a more inclusive and compassionate society.
Ultimately, the phrase “iron sharpens iron” encapsulates the idea that individuals who have experienced incarceration can positively impact each other’s lives during the reentry process. It is celebration to see that the power of community in reentry in the DMV area is alive and thriving.