Meet Our Team
It’s the season of giving thanks and Civil Survival is very excited to spotlight our very own staff for the months of November & December! Not only would we like to show our gratitude for their dedication but also share with our communities the faces of those responsible for the life-changing work we do. Our work is not possible without our passionate team. They work hard every day to support our formerly incarcerated families & individuals and thanks to them, we are one step closer to a world free from mass incarceration.
For today’s #StaffSpotlight we’re excited to highlight Corey, our Managing Director of Legal Services & Operations aka the Asana buff that keeps the show running here at Civil Survival!
As a high school student in upstate New York, Corey experienced frequent stops and questioning by police who consistently targeted his BIPOC friends, and by association, him as well. Corey knew that these run-ins with law enforcement were racially-motivated and that his whiteness contributed to him avoiding major legal consequences. These truths motivated Corey to use his privilege to fight for those heavily impacted by racist policies and systems.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Corey.
What drew you to working with CSP?
I grew up in a predominantly white, upper middle class suburb in upstate New York. In high school, my friends and I were routinely stopped and questioned by the police for simply walking around our neighborhood. It was clear that we were often targeted because my friends were Black and Hispanic. One evening, while we were simply parked at the local Starbucks, a police officer decided to search our car. We were arrested for marijuana possession. I was fortunate to have the charges dismissed through a deferred prosecution agreement.
I knew things could have been much worse. Although racially targeted policing often led police to target my friends, and by extension me, my privilege as a white person in an upper middle class suburb allowed us to escape nearly a dozen stops without being searched. And, more times than not, if we had been searched, we would have been arrested for marijuana possession or felony drug possession. My experience as a teenager left me holding multiple truths. There was no reason for police to target my friends and me—we were not harming anyone. We were engaged students who excelled in school and racially targeted policing did nothing more than threaten our ability to attend college. Yet, we all emerged from the criminal legal system with little long-lasting consequence.
I am drawn to Civil Survival because I know that if was not white, or had less class privilege, my story would be much different. I am a couple of police judgment calls away from a criminal record that would have prevented me from going to college. I am motivated to help those without my privilege write new stories. And, I am committed to building a future where race and economic privilege don’t shape who gets a first, second and third chance to pursue their dreams.
What event or impactful change are you the most proud of during your time working with Civil Survival? Or, what part of Civil Survival Project’s work resonates the most with you?
I am most proud of our Legal Financial Obligation (LFO) Reconsideration Days. In Kitsap and Pierce counties, we were able to waive over $10 million in LFOs for people too poor to pay their court fines in just two days!
What’s something you’re looking forward to in the future of CSP?
I am excited to continue to build an organization with a unique approach to dismantling the harms of the criminal legal system organization. Instead of narrowly focusing on direct legal assistance, community organizing, or legislative reform, Civil Survival blends all three to create a stronger whole.
What’s something you’re grateful for within the last year?
I am grateful to have launched as an independent organization after operating as a project of the Public Defender Association (PDA) for the past several years. PDA helped us develop a strong foundation and an amazing team that will allow us to flourish as an independent organization.Tarra Simmons, Nick Allen, Prachi Dave, Cynthia Delostrinos Johnson and Corey at the 2019 LFO Reconsideration Day in Kitsap County.