One should never allow their past to define who they are today. Although this sounds simple enough, it can be rather challenging. Often times, even after we have accepted, embraced and have moved on from our mistakes, society still sees you as who you once were. A reputation can far surpass your resume, regardless of how far you’ve come.
However, if you stay determined to become a new person and allow your past to be what makes you who you are in the present, it becomes impossible for anybody to hold it against you. Nobody should run from where they came from or who they once were. Rather, embrace it, acknowledge it, pay tribute and thank your past for delivering you to your present.
In life, all stepping stones are valuable, even those that sink a little, because they too will bring you to your next step. It doesn’t matter where you came from, or how you got there, what matters is that you just keep going.
That is exactly what Shon Hoppwood has done. He was a 23-year old ‘punk’ charged with multiple bank robberies and served 11-years in a federal penitentiary. The time he spent behind bars offered him an insight into our legal system that other’s eyes just cannot see.
It raised his awareness to one of America’s largest social injustices to date: That America has 5% of the world’s population, yet houses 25% of its prisoners. Shon spent 11 years researching and speaking out against this injustice, making quite the name for himself within the judicial system in the process.
So how does how a former bank robber, turned federal inmate, transition into a Georgetown law professor, husband, father, and advocate for those caught in the crosshairs of an unfair legal system? To find out, you can read Shon’s testimony here originally posted in the Washington Times on April 21st, 2017.
Whether you feel trapped by your past or are guilty of judging one based on their past, everyone can gain a new perspective on this story. We have a feeling this is just the beginning of Shon’s movement to raise awareness, becoming the voice of those that cannot speak up those who cannot speak up for themselves. Keep up the great work Shon!