FOLA Staff Member Ernest Melendrez Recipient of Harriet Tubman Award!

Job Specialist Ernest Melendrez (Ernie) was a recent recipient of the the Harriet Tubman Distinguished Award at the inaugural Beyond the Bars LA Conference. The conference is “reserved for special individuals who have experienced incarceration and dedicated their life’s work to abolishing the current state of mass incarceration.”

Here is an excerpt from Ernie’s award letter…
“Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman, a noted abolitionist, subsequently escaped only to come back and free others trapped in slavery.  It was during this time the Underground Railroad was born – a network  of antislavery activists and safe houses.  Tubman was a brave champion of freedom and equality, and it is in this respect that we intend to honor you and your work.”

Ernie participated in a Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) program, Project New Start, in which FOLA was sub-contracted under the City of Los Angeles.  He was offered a job with FOLA and is quickly approaching his eighth year anniversary with our organization. We are fortunate to have him on “Team FOLA” and congratulate him on this wonderful accomplishment and well-deserved recognition.

Mary Weaver, Executive Director