Please join and support YaVonne ‘Hakim’ Anderson in requesting that the California Board of Parole Hearings and Governor find her suitable for parole and grant her release after serving over 15 years on a 7 to life sentence! Read Hakim's personal request below to outside allies for support, and join Justice Now by signing your name and encouraging others to do the same.
For those of you who haven’t yet had the incredible opportunity of knowing or working with Hakim, Justice Now can speak to her amazing contributions in making the world a better place. Over the last 10 years, Hakim has been a leader in Justice Now’s human rights and campaign efforts. She has prioritized the health and safety of others inside by training as a health educator, always advocating for others in need, and mentoring and inspiring hundreds of Justice Now interns and volunteers. She is also a brilliant writer and poet! Check out one of her pieces 'What to the Prisoner is the 4th of July?' and her spoken-word poetry featured on the CD, "The We That Sets Us Free: Building a World Without Prisons," which was produced by Justice Now.
At 30 years old, Hakim has been imprisoned 15 1/2 years--over half her life--yet she continues to remain positive, focused, and offering her best to all of those around her. Please offer your support by signing below and sharing Hakim’s request with others. If you know Hakim, have had the opportunity to work with her, or have been affected by her work, please also consider writing a personal letter supporting her parole (c/o Justice Now, 1322 Webster Street, Suite 210, Oakland, CA 94612). Pictures: Hakim at 15 years old and today at 30 years old.
Hakim's message to friends and supporters:
"My name is YaVonne M.T. Anderson and I am 30 years old. On November 20th of 1996, when I was only 15 years old, I participated in a crime that nearly took the life of an innocent person, Ms. Denise Henderson. I was tried and convicted as an adult and given 7 years to life with a one year enhancement, I have been incarcerated for 15 1/2 years thus far. Although I was very young, immature, easily influenced, and had absolutely no idea how grave of an atrocity I was committing, I still hold myself accountable for my actions and I accept full responsibility for my participation. There is no excuse for what I have done and I have had close to 16 years to reflect, accept accountability, and ask forgiveness from all that I have hurt as a result of my selfishness.
I made a huge mistake and the remorse that I feel towards this injustice I've served Ms. Henderson is insurmountable. I fully understand that I deserve to be punished for what I have done. Yet, my incarceration has had an adverse effect. I have obtained my G.E.D. and I am only a few units away from obtaining my A.A. degree. I've graduated from multiple self-help groups (Conflict Resolution, Victims Impact Self-Awareness, Anger Management, etc.), and have completed Vocational Welding, Electronics, and Office Services. In the year of 2001 I was certified by the state of California as a Peer Health Educator. I now work as a lead porter/housekeeper for Paris-Lamb Hospital where I train others on how to properly clean biohazard waste and maintain the up-keep of the in-house hospice patient rooms. I do women's rights advocacy work for Justice Now and California Coalition for Women Prisoners. I have also been an active member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for over 12 years and received the name of Amtul Hakim, which means servant of the Al-Wise.
I have grown significantly since my crime. I have practically raised myself within these prison walls. I have come a long ways and have overcome many obstacles. I am rather proud of my accomplishments in spite of my circumstances, for they prove that regardless of your current situation, how you respond to it determines whether or not you succeed. I don't feel like I've been thrown away or that my life has all been in vain. It also shows that change is possible. Although none of my good works will ever erase what I've done, in some way I still feel as if I'm doing some justice and giving back to the community. I will still forever feel indebted to Ms. Henderson and continue to pray for her well being.
I cannot take back what I've done and I apologize for my wrongdoing. However, I am deserving of a second chance at my freedom. I am a prime example of a good child who has made a poor choice in their life that has impacted an entire community and then some. Yet, I am also a great example of rehabilitation. I now take the time to think about what it is that I am thinking about. I am very conscientious of my attitude and the words I use to express myself as well as the tone in which I am speaking, for even that is enough to hurt someone. Yes, I have made a huge mistake as a child. One in which Ms. Henderson, myself, and all others affected will never forget. Nevertheless, aren't I worthy of a second chance and to be forgiven? T.D. Jake once said, "Our greatest learning opportunities often emerge from our greatest failures."
Ms. Henderson, if you run across this petition, from the bottom of my heart I am sorry…I am sorry.
Please sign your name if you are interested in support of my release."