TRAILBLAZER THURSDAY: Sharon Richardson
Updated: Sep 20, 2018
by Amelia Oates
Sharon Richardson is not considered a badass simply because she has been to jail, but because of what she did with her time in jail and following her release. The fact is she chose to use her experiences to make her stronger, not bring her down.
In 1990, city corrections officer Richardson fell madly in love with a drug dealer named Jeffrey Bridges, and she fell hard enough to post his bail. Their relationship evolved into an abusive relationship, where Richardson was beaten and betrayed. After four months, their relationship ended abruptly when four men broke into their apartment and killed Bridges while Richardson and her children hid in the other room.
Richardson found herself on the other side of bars because of this incident because one of the men, Dwayne Mitchell, testified Richardson had basically arranged for them to do it. Although she maintained her innocence, she was sentenced to 20 to life.
Richardson became the model inmate and worked through the anti-violence rehabilitation programs and even was named ‘angel of the year’. After 14 years, Mitchell recanted his statement that Richardson arranged the murder. She was finally released from prison in 2010.
Since her release from prison, Richardson has been working to help other women who have been incarcerated and been victims of domestic violence. She now works at STEPS to End Family Violence, which is a holistic program that provides services for victims of gender-based violence, and focuses on prevention and intervention. She began a reentry program, called Reentry Rocks, through the STEPS program and has been overseeing it ever since.
Richardson has also started her own catering business, Just Soul, that only hires formerly incarcerated women to help them get back on their feet. It has put a large emphasis on the human aspect of serving yummy food. She is also very honest with the fact her employees are formerly incarcerated women and that is what makes their business unique and brings the soul aspect into their work.
Badass is the perfect word to describe Sharon Richardson. She went from being behind bars to starting her own company and being in charge of a program completely devoted to helping other people who found themselves in a similar position to her re-entering society.
She has completely devoted her life to helping others, has thrived as a businesswoman and also as an individual. Many people who find themselves in Richardson’s situation let their unfortunate circumstances tear them down. Instead of succumbing to her misfortunes, Richardson used them to make her stronger. Her courage and bravery is truly inspiring. She found a way to not only help herself, but also help others. She truly is a trailblazer and changed the path of life for incarcerated women following their release from prison. She created opportunities for women who were unable to do so for themselves, and that makes her a true role model.
Blog Post Intro: This week on Trailblazer Thursday we are featuring Sharon Richardson, former corrections officer, inmate, and victim of domestic abuse. Read her story for some motivation and a little reminder we are in charge of our own futures and instead of letting a seemingly impossible situation bring us down, we can use it to make us stronger.