Scores of people attended the first annual Game Changer Happy Hour fundraiser on June 16, 2018 in support of Civil Survival’s mission to empower formerly incarcerated people to improve their quality of life through participation in the political process. The event, which took place in an elegant space overlooking Elliott Bay, raised over $20,000 that will be used to further Civil Survival’s important work.

The speakers at the event included formerly incarcerated attorneys Shon Hopwood and Tarra Simmons, who each spoke eloquently about the importance of second chances and the power of educational opportunities for justice-involved individuals. As Ms. Simmons noted, “your life should not be defined by your worst moment.” Ms. Simmons shared details of her powerful personal journey from early childhood abuse and drug involvement to law school and, ultimately, to her swearing-in to the Washington State Bar Association earlier that day at Seattle University. Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzales, who also attended the swearing-in ceremony, spoke about the need to remove barriers to success for justice-involved individuals. Formerly incarcerated artist SaulPaul concluded the evening with a highly entertaining musical set that included an impromptu group dance lesson on the Texas Two Step. James Beard Award-Winning chef Scott Carsberg donated his time for the event, preparing a wide variety of beautiful and delicious appetizers. Many Seattle locals fondly recall Mr. Carsberg’s Belltown restaurant Lampreia. Fortunately, we can look forward to the opening of his new Italian restaurant, Bisato, in Pioneer Square later this year.