It is with great excitement that we share, you have been nominated to receive the Excellence In Success Valens Award on Saturday, February 17, 2017, 7pm – midnight at the Brentwood Country Club, 100 Pennsylvania Ave., Brentwood, NY. Couples of all types from throughout the region will be honored for their unconditional commitment to each other and their unique story to tell.“
John and I received a letter informing us of our nomination to receive this accolade a few weeks ago. We were completely taken by surprise — in the best way possible. Who would think enough to acknowledge our commitment to each other in our marriage? To be painfully honest, most people don’t even acknowledge our marriage, much less honor it. Imagine being in love and married and never being asked by those who profess to be your friends and family how your spouse is doing. Let that marinate for a minute. Welcome to the world of having an incarcerated spouse. I’ve learned the hard way that shade about our marriage comes with the territory. While I “understand” it, I don’t respect it and I definitely don’t like it so to be acknowledged in this fashion is rewarding on so many levels — some of them very deeply personal.
Who Is Excellence In Success? What is this organization that is presenting John and me with this beautiful award of love and commitment all about any way? I reached out to the person who could best answer those questions — the President and CEO of the organization.
When asked, Alicia Figueras-Lambert, President and CEO of Excellence in Success stated that
“Excellence in Success was built on creating opportunities to honor different populations that usually do not get deserved recognition. Our efforts are all to create an opportunity to support children of incarcerated parents. Every year in December (for the last 5 yrs) we host a holiday party for children of this population. This year the plan is to add another event (huge summer bbq) with corporate sponsorship.
Our calendar for 2018 consists of honoring:
Men & Women of the Cloth 3/24/18
Previously Incarcerated Mothers 5/12/18
Single Parent Fathers 6/17/18
Fire Fighters 7/13/18
People with AIDS (launching my documentary) 12/1/18”
I continue to be amazed by the plethora of grassroots movements and organizations like Excellence in Success that purpose themselves with the task of supporting those impacted by the collateral consequences of incarceration. They are part of Speak Ya Truth’s “tribe” and we are proud to be doing this work of bringing healing, help, and hope to those in pain due to incarceration, as well as truth and awareness about the ill-effects of incarceration to those who don’t have knowledge about this fastly-growing, detrimental, inhumane phenomenon in the United States of locking up people like animals in cages for extended periods of time.
Please join me (in person) and John (in spirit, as he unfortunately can not be there in person) as we continue to speak our truth, empower others faced with incarceration to do the same, and humbly accept this year’s Excellence in Success’ Valens Award for our unconditional commitment to each other and our unique love story to tell.