By: Nicki Wiggins
Mr. Anthony Body is a Bail Disruptor for The Bail Project Cleveland, which focuses on mass incarceration, while also reuniting families and challenging a system that criminalizes race and poverty. As a Bail Disruptor, Body acts as an advocate and freedom-fighter.
Throughout his life, Body has helped anyone who has needed it. He has served as a community organizer in the Glenville area, a neighborhood that he grew up in. Along with this, Body sat on the police commission, where he helped to make policy recommendations to help create change within the police department.
According to Body, many of the people that The Bail Project has interacted with have been people of color who have been accused of committing crimes and have been impacted by the crossroads of the criminal justice system. In his role, he has spoken for those who haven’t been able to speak for themselves.
In order to be aware of the problems that are happening in today’s world, Body encourages people to be engaged and to let their voices be heard.
“Get engaged, get educated, and learn the game. In order to participate in any game, you’ve got to know the rules,” Body said. “You’ve got to become civically engaged, learn the constitution, know your rights, and know the basics.”
Ms. Tonya Perkins-Stoudermire is the founder and executive director of Bessie’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to nurturing, educating, empowering, and providing low-income housing for young women who have aged out of foster care, also in Cleveland.
Perkins-Stoudermire created this organization in honor of her grandmother Bessie, who she said lived a life of service. She advocates for young women in various ways, all while continuing her grandmother’s legacy.
“We really want to turn them into women that can succeed”, Perkins-Stoudermire said. “A lot of the young people that we serve think that you can do these things all by yourself. And the thing that we do is we let them know that you can’t succeed without help. Everybody that has gotten anywhere, somebody helped them. Somebody saw them, somebody heard them, and somebody supported them.”
Bessie’s Angels helps to meet the immediate needs of young women, while also teaching them necessary life skills. Cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and goal-setting are just some many skills that the organization provides.
Through her organization, Perkins has supported young women by being someone whom they can look to for guidance and support. Her leadership, kindness, and advocacy serve as an example for many to follow.