After much contemplation — and 12 years of service to the movement — I am announcing my decision to hand leadership of Women Against Registry over to the next generation.
I was first called to this movement in 2007, when my son Josh was involved in the criminal (lack of) justice system. I knew that no one should be permanently branded because of a poor choice they made in their past. Like many of you, I have seen firsthand how the registry can destroy families, condemn our loved ones to poverty, and cut people off from hope itself. I couldn’t be prouder of the work WAR has done during my time charting its course, or more grateful to all of the amazing people I have met along this journey who lead with a shared commitment to abolishing these dehumanizing laws.
It is my honor and privilege to welcome Meaghan Ybos as the next President of Women Against Registry (WAR). Meaghan is a surprising ally: a prominent and outspoken survivor of rape who is dedicated to abolishing the registry, ending systems of perpetual punishment, repealing pre-crime preventative detention laws, and shuttering shadow prisons.
In 2003 at the age of sixteen, Meaghan was raped in Memphis. She was revictimized by the state when law enforcement did not investigate the case or test her rape kit for more than nine years. Meaghan strategically used the (all-too-common) mishandling of her rape case to raise awareness about needed policy changes. In 2015, Meaghan and a group of lawyers and community organizers formed People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws (PERL), which advocates for criminal justice reform and for several years provided the community’s only peer support for people who experienced sexual violence. She is also a contributing writer at The Appeal, part of the Harvard University School of Law’s Fair Punishment Project. Meaghan holds a BA in English from Rhodes College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi.
WAR needs your financial support now more than ever, as we make this historic shift to new leadership. Please consider making a donation today.
My stepping down as President of Women Against Registry is effective on Mother’s Day 2023, but I will continue on as a senior strategic advisor for the next six months to help Meaghan stand up her new Board — after which I intend to take a sabbatical to focus on my family and pivot my work to the dire need for prison and sentencing reform. WAR will be announcing new additions to its Board over the coming months as Meghan builds her team to create meaningful systemic change.
Over the past dozen years, I’ve met thousands of people from all over the country from every walk of life and level of income who have been baptized by fire into this movement — people who share my commitment to ending the sex offense legal regime. I’m excited about this new chapter in my life and can’t wait to see where this new, youthful leadership will take us in the fight for the rights of our families to live free from the stigma of the registry.
Love to all,