Madison Organization in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity (MOSES) will be hosting its second annual Transformation Celebration Fundraising Gala on Saturday, Dec. 14.
The gala, which will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., is an opportunity for three previously incarcerated people to be recognized for successfully transforming their lives post-re-entry. The event will take place at Goodman Community Center’s Brassworks Building, located at 214 Waubesa St. Tickets are $65 and sales end on Friday, Dec. 6.
MOSES is a faith-based organization that advocates for changing policies that deny social justice to the poor, people of color, and the mentally ill, beginning with mass incarceration. The organization hopes to honor those whose hard work often goes unnoticed, Rachel Kincaid, MOSES’ current vice president, said.
“We want to honor people — often unrecognized leaders in our community — who have been through difficult struggles in their lives, poverty, and untreated childhood trauma that leads to committing a crime,” Kincaid said. “That includes further trauma during their prison time and having surmounted the many barriers to reentering the community, and ultimately to achieve success in life.”
MOSES had been doing yearly banquets and dinners prior to the gala but realized there were people in the community that deserved to be celebrated. After the success the organization had last year, they wanted to continue hosting the gala.
This year’s honorees are Juba Moten, an entrepreneur; Deborah Mejchar, a chaplain; and Martin Lackey Sr., a business owner and activist. These honorees can be “role models for previously incarcerated people who went through so much and started living their lives,” Kincaid said.
“As it was last year, these people do their work, never forgetting their past, those they left behind, and those still living their lives in cages,” she said. “We want people who have been formerly incarcerated to know that they do not need to live their lives small but to reach for their dreams. Our honorees are examples of that.”
The event will also have a silent auction and a dancing session with DJ Lady L, host of “Soul Sessions” on WORT-FM.
Tickets can be bought on their website. Proceeds from the ticket sale and silent auction will go to support MOSES.
Kincaid hopes attendees will better understand the importance of recognizing previously incarcerated people, for those who have experienced incarceration and for those who haven’t.
“We want people who have not had these experiences — or do not know about how, why, or what brings people to prison — to know what prison is like, and the barriers to coming back to a community,” Kincaid said. “We want them to be able to see people as human beings that have the capacity to change, continue in becoming (as we all are), and are assets to our community.”