Startup Newspaper RISE Tackles Challenges in Cincinnati

Tracy Brumfield is no stranger to the challenges that incarcerated individuals face in the Cincinnati area, both during and after their time in prison. Dealing with incarceration, homelessness, and the struggle to get back on your feet can make it difficult to get reacquainted with the community. So how did someone go from being a heroin addict and feeling isolated from the community to making a bounding difference in the Cincinnati area?

                “After working for over two years at recovery, I began to volunteer and mentor women incarcerated in the Hamilton County Justice Center. I even got a new job working as an aide at the Center for Addiction Treatment. Between volunteering and working for a recovery center, I found that I had built a life of purpose, and I think that has been the key to keeping my disease in remission.”

The People’s Liberty Haile Fellowship, providing a year-long civic sabbatical for two highly-motivated Greater Cincinnati residents each year, was awarded to Tracy in 2017 to fund RISE, Re-enter Into Society Empower, a monthly newspaper circulated to inmates while they’re incarcerated that provides information about critical community resources as well as stories of hope and recovery.

The idea to create RISE came from Brumfield’s experiences as well as volunteering in the jail. Re-entering the community after incarceration can be a challenge, especially considering that services like safe affordable housing, job readiness, drug treatment and employment opportunities are not readily available to those currently incarcerated.

Tracy Brumfield, founder of RISE

Six issues of RISE have been published since September 2017 and were completely funded by People’s Liberty Haile Fellowship. Each issue focuses on a different area of re-entering the community post-incarceration including recovery, housing, employment, stories of hope, healthcare, and community. Because of the funding stipulations, each issue was limited to four pages.

As the fellowship has wrapped up for Brumfield and RISE, considerations for the future are uncertain.

“We’re not sure which way we’re going to go in the future,” Brumfield said in an interview with WVXU. “We’re going to have to see who responds and which way would be the best for RISE.” The team may look to partner with nonprofits or be sponsored by a nonprofit in the future.

A ceremony to “pass the torch” of the fellowship along to the 2018 Haile Fellowship grantees was held on March 6th at People’s Liberty in celebration of a year full of success for the 2017 grantees. Brumfield’s powerful closing asking people to give of time, money, and positive feedback to help RISE continue assisted in bringing about a “new era” for RISE.

Issue 7, as RISE has informed Soapbox, is currently in publication and will be circulated in the coming weeks. 

For more information about RISE and the Haile Fellowship through People’s Liberty, head over to their Facebook page or visit
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Read more articles by Erin Pierce.

Erin Pierce is a contributing writer for Soapbox, and a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University.