Hardie Fleming is our Justice and Equity Leader Award Winner! Here’s more about him:
How did you get involved with Mikva Challenge?
I was referred to Mikva Challenge by my advisor at the Juvenile Advisory Council. At first, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I wanted something that was going to keep out of trouble and involved in something positive, especially during that summer. I did not know that I would continue to do it until now.
Tell me about yourself?
I’m from the Englewood community and growing up, I saw a lot of negative influences around me. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and made some bad decisions, which ended up with me being part of the criminal justice system. I’m trying to escape that and distance myself from people who pulled me into it. The good people at the Justice Advisory Council and the Mikva Challenge have really helped me get to the more positive influences in my life.
Tell us about the work you’ve done to help youth who’re in the criminal justice system?
With the JAC, I’m speaking to youth my age and younger about the rules and regulation of probation, and stuff like that. With Mikva Challenge, I’ve facilitated meetings on Disproportionate Minority Contact, discussed issues young people face in the system and continue to work with my peers to find solutions to issues face by youth in the criminal justice system. Most recently, we presented our work to decision-makers at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center about redesigning the spaces there to be more youth friendly and less intimidating for young people.
What impact did Mikva Challenge have on you?
Mikva helped me open up more, helped me be louder and less shy. You know I’ve facilitated meetings and met with decision makers, so it’s been great. Mikva has really helped me come out of my shell. I always feared a big crowd so being part of Mikva has really helped me overcome that. I’m honored and grateful for everything I’ve achieved and for Mikva Challenge and this award. My dream is to start my own business as an electrician.