All ICAN members are leaders, making a positive difference in their communities and nationally. Here we spotlight a handful of these extraordinary individuals, who are working in a range of fields, realizing their dreams.
Anthony Gomez (Virginia)
After growing up in the Bronx and moving to Virginia, Anthony was arrested at 17 years old and incarcerated for 24 years. He maintained a stellar record in prison; he earned his associate’s degree and numerous certificates, assisted staff with facilitating programming, and remained infraction free. Prior to his release, Anthony had the opportunity to seek atonement directly from those impacted by his crime; a powerful and life-changing experience. He was the first person granted parole in Virginia when that state’s law changed in 2020.
Anthony is currently working at a multinational corporation. He has extensive experience as a paralegal, including and assisting in all aspects of complex cases, and as a notary. He enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his family. He loves to work out at the gym daily and enjoys long bike rides, and he’s looking forward to traveling around the country and learning how to kayak!
Francesca Duran Lopez (New Mexico)
Francesca “Frankie” was involved in a tragic incident when she was 13 years old and was held in the county jail and juvenile facility until she aged out at 18 years old. She gave birth to her first son while in confinement when she was 16 years old, and was subsequently introduced to PB&J Family Services. It was then that she discovered her passion for helping children and families, especially those involved in the criminal justice system.
Initially she began her career in retail, and despite being promoted to a management position, she could not deny her desire to help vulnerable families. She is now a public speaker, educator and leader in the movement, running community events and working as a Family Intervention Specialist with children whose parents have been impacted by incarceration. She is dedicated to helping children and families find their full potential and to ultimately feel loved, accepted and happy despite their past experiences. She is also a mother to four beautiful children Joe Damien, Enrique and twins Dyna and Adam.
Halim Flowers (Washington, D.C.)
Halim was 16 years old when he was sent to prison under an indeterminate life sentence of 40 years to life. He spent 22 years behind bars and came home in March 2019. In the short time he’s been home, Halim has established himself as a premier artist and influencer, working for social justice and prison reform. While in prison he started a publishing company and published 11 books.
When he first came home he started his career by promoting his books, and doing public speaking engagements. He then won first a coveted fellowship with Echoing Green, developing a platform for incarcerated artists to tell their stories and share their art, and then a fellowship through Halcyon Arts Lab, which is designed specifically for artists innovating bold ideas to use art for social impact and change. While establishing himself in the art world he continued to write poetry and spoken word, and has presented with Kayne West. He collaborated with Kim Kardashian on The Justice Project, a documentary aimed at raising awareness about the need for reform and helping people who are serving extreme prison sentences come home.
When the Covid pandemic hit, Halim pivoted his written and spoken art, and public appearances, to visual art. He gained a following on social media and has signed with two prominent art galleries: Stella Jones in New Orleans, and DTR Modern, which has galleries in major cities across the country. When not creating art, Halim serves as an Ambassador for Represent Justice, and is on the Board of Directors for both the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice and CulturalDC. He is also a husband and proud father of his six-month old daughter.
Louis Gibson (Louisiana)
Louis is currently an advocate working with people returning home from prison throughout Louisiana. He was 17 years old when he was sent to prison for life; and came home in August 2018 as a result of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana, which deemed his sentence unconstitutional.
For 11 years, Louis worked in the selective Louisiana State Police Trusty Program, where he had the incredible responsibility of repairing and maintaining aircrafts for Louisiana State Police. He also worked at Delta Media, a locally-owned company operating nine radio stations, six televisions, and several digital platforms in central Louisiana, where he kept all the essential equipment – on the television towers, in the office and on the grounds – running and maintained in excellent condition to ensure smooth and effective daily operations.
In 2019, Louis joined a Baton-Rouge based nonprofit, the Parole Project, where he serves as a reentry specialist and is responsible for ensuring that people coming home from prison have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. He excels at this position in part because of his own lived experience, and his strong belief in the power of second chances and redemption.
Jarrett Harper (California)
Jarrett was caught up in child protective services and the foster care system as an infant. At 16 he committed a crime, and was given a sentence of juvenile life without the possibility of parole + 10 years; he served 20 years. Jarrett is now a passionate advocate working for equality, positive change in the foster system, ending life sentences for juvenile offenders, and creating more resources for rehabilitation for those returning to society.
He currently holds multiple titles and wears many hats including Officer in the Children Rights Division of Human Rights Watch; Ambassador and Activist for Represent Justice; and Coordinator at Friends at Work, a 21st century management, entertainment, and social impact company. Jarrett is a renowned public speaker, presenting at national events, and regularly collaborates with partners such as Scott Budnick, Common, and John Legend to raise awareness about prison conditions and the urgent need for juvenile sentencing reform.
Trevor Walraven (Oregon)
Trevor committed a crime when he was 14 years old, and was sentenced as an adult and given juvenile life without parole with a 30 year minimum; he spent almost 18 years behind bars. Because he was so young when he entered the system, when he came home he wasn’t really starting over – he was simply starting. He capitalized on the many jobs he held and skills he developed in prison, including the college classes he took, and the support from family and a large social network.
Since coming home he’s been driven by his conviction to give back and is currently Co-Founder and Director of Public Education and Outreach with the Oregon Youth Justice Project. In this role, he works with attorneys, paralegals, private investigators and others to provide data, training, consulting and team communication. His areas of expertise include juvenile justice, restorative justice and advocacy on youth and adult incarceration issues within Oregon.
Chris Wilson (Maryland and Washington, D.C.)
Chris was raised in Washington, D.C., where he grew up under extremely difficult circumstances. At the age of 17, he was sentenced to juvenile life without the possibility of parole and served 16 years behind bars. While imprisoned, he earned his high school diploma, graduated from multiple vocational shops, earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology and taught himself to speak and write in several languages.
He has founded multiple successful companies, and is author of the bestselling book The Master Plan, which has sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide. He now splits his time between Baltimore and New York City, working as a visual artist and social justice advocate. Through his work, he investigates societal injustices, human relationships, and public policies. His artwork is collected and displayed internationally. He is also the founder of the Chris Wilson Foundation, which has given out thousands of dollars to support social entrepreneurs and prison education, including re-entry and financial literacy for returning citizens, as well as art-related programs.