Authentic Voices Global

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STAND for EDUCATION not Incarceration. Breakdown walls, shift perspective, and be a part of the CHANGE. Help make a difference, please give today.


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The REDEMPTION SCHOLARS is a Documentary that follows three men of color on a journey of redemption as returning citizens (post-incarceration), using EDUCATION to mold their present lives and build hope for the future.

Only 3% of Black men and 4% of Black women hold a Bachelor's degree or higher while in prison. (Vera Institute of Justice)

Prisoners who participate in correctional education have 43% lower odds of recidivating than those who do not have access to and participate in educational programs. (RAND meta-analysis

This Revolutionary Documentary follows three men exploring their journey through re-entry and education to find concrete liberation, healing, hope, shift perceptions and judgment, and make lasting changes to the broken systems.

The Redemption Scholars range in age, years of incarceration, upbringing, and life direction, but one thing they have in common, they are all living redeemed.

One woman, Lauryn Whitney, searches to understand the failures in education and systemic structures that divide and fail communities of color. Through the experiences of three men, who call themselves, 'The Redemption Scholars" she gains a deeper understanding of how these systems create inter-racial division, hierarchy, and oppression, and how they hold the keys to doors of access and opportunity.


The Redemption Scholars is not just the story of three men on a journey to better themselves and those closest to them, but a cultural journey of betterment for everyone. For us as a society to gain a deeper understanding of those individuals who are often written off and dismissed as lost causes, and find ways to make a collective and personal change.

Throughout the documentary we will work hand in hand with Law/Policy advisors, taking these individuals' experiences and placing them against the lens of implemented laws and policies and past practices, while aiding the Redemption Scholars with suggestions and actionable solutions to bring systemic change.

(From Left to Right)

Chris Lynch | 34 years old | BA 2024 | Time Sentenced: 12 years | Time Served: 9 yrs 8 mo and 5 years parole

Raised in East Orange New Jersey, Chris fought to not become a product of his environment. He desired to have more for his life, but his desire for instant gratification led him down the path he tried to avoid. He began living a double life, going to school by day and robbing by night. Chris entered prison at 22. While incarcerated he started his journey in higher education through the NJ Step Program in 2014 and is currently a student at Rutgers University - Newark.

While behind prison walls Chris fell back in love with music, allowing him to escape and find peace. His music and education drive him forward today.

Vernon Kyle Johnson | 56 years old | BA 2022 | Time Sentenced: 19 years | Time Served: 11 years and 5 years parole

The son of a preacher, Vernon grew up in the church. He was born with congenital cataracts, defined as 80% blind. He spent much of his life overcoming his handicap by combating and manipulating other people. Addiction became his escape from being alone and his window to acceptance.

In 2012 behind prison walls, Vernon began his journey in higher education through the NJ Step Program. He is a 2022 Graduate of Rutgers University - Newark.

He embodies the role of the father to all those he encounters as he redeems his years as an absent father.

Christopher Charriez | BA 2021 | 42 years old | Time Sentenced: 25 years | Time Served: 21 years and 5 years parole

Talib had a violent upbringing. By 14 He had his first encounter with becoming a justice-involved youth, and at 19 entered prison. While incarcerated he began his journey in higher education through the NJ Step Program in 2015. Talib is a 2021 Graduate of Rutgers University - Newark

While in prison he received one of the highest callings in the Muslim faith as the lead Khatib (A Speaker/ Preacher).

Lauryn Whitney is a storyteller. She tells stories that evoke change, shift perspectives, inspires personal impactful narratives, and connect hearts and souls. She is a black mother to a black boy, and she is committed to making a better/brighter tomorrow and changing broken systems.

Lauryn Whitney is the founder of Authentic Voices Global Inc., a platform highlighting the audacity of real people daring to make a change no matter how big or small, creating ongoing dialogue and providing actionable solutions for social change. A place for connecting people and purpose. "We share the stories that are often hidden and overlooked. We are here to disrupt the false narratives and bring truth through individual and collective unaltered authentic story."

The Redemption Scholars is fiscally sponsored by the Creative Visions Foundation (CVF). CVF is a publicly supported 501c3, which supports Creative Activists who use the power of media and the arts to affect positive change in the world. Every dollar you donate towards the completion of the Redemption Scholars is tax deductible!

Your donations and support give us the chance to shift the narratives, inspire future generations, and implement actional solutions to challenge broken systems.