Lieutenant Darlene McClurkin Legacy Fund
In support of Herstory’s jail-based workshops
Herstory’s weekly writing workshops in Long Island’s county jails and on Rikers Island help serve bright, vulnerable women and girls and, through storytelling, put a human face on people caught in the criminal justice system.
So many of the women in Herstory’s workshops are living proof of the profoundly heartbreaking way addiction and incarceration intersect to destroy women and children’s lives. Their stories are full of raw power and the potential to educate, inspire, and drive change. No one recognized that more than Lieutenant Darlene McClurkin, a visionary whose love for the incarcerated women and girls in her charge at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility-Riverhead only deepened when she listened to their stories each week through Herstory’s workshops.
It was Lieutenant McClurkin, along with Sergeant Noreen Fisher, who initiated a special course in Suffolk County’s Correctional Academy using VOICES, Herstory’s published book of stories from Long Island’s three jails as required reading for all incoming officers. She explained, “We require the officers to read the book at home, so that they will be able to experience the stories with feeling, without having to show a strong face to their fellow trainees.” Over an 18-month period, 150 future jail guards were trained in this innovative way, to resoundingly positive evaluations.
Welcoming community members at a reading that took place in Riverhead Correctional Facility
Herstory, alongside of the entire Long Island justice community, and countless women and girls, continues to mourn Lieutenant McClurkin’s untimely death.
Lieutenant McClurkin’s daughter, Bobbi Evans, shared, “My mother worked at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility-Riverhead in the rehabilitation department for over 35 years. She was dedicated to helping inmates better themselves and turn their lives around. The Lieutenant Darlene McClurkin Legacy Fund, in her honor, will help keep her vision alive by offering support and healing for women behind bars.”
Through Lieutenant McClurkin’s efforts and others, we’ve already seen the profound impact incarcerated women’s voices can make on the local and national level as communities continue to rethink our current system of justice and its tragic overlap with mental health and substance abuse issues.
We need you, more than ever, to help support this largely unfunded, critical work. Your gift will help Herstory achieve the dream of serving more incarcerated women and girls and, through writing, take these important, urgent voices out of the jails and into our classrooms and communities.
In the spirit of Lieutenant McClurkin’s memory, every contribution allows us to better serve these mothers, sisters, and daughters and share their hard-earned wisdom with our children, community, and beyond.