2023 Honoree

Barbara Martinsons

prison reform organizer

Barbara was studying sociology in a graduate program when she was asked to teach the subject in a new college program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in upstate New York, through Marymount Manhattan College.  She learned a great deal from the students as she helped them navigate the challenges of life after prison, and particularly of getting a college education.  These experiences led her to found the  College & Community Fellowship.  Having grown up believing that the court system was an avenue to justice, when she was a witness to mass incarceration, she realized this wasn’t always true and wanted her students to be able to have their stories and voices heard.


Interview conducted, taped and edited by Ruth Sergel

Awards Ceremony

Video by Antony Wong


Posters about the honorees are by students from The Imagine Society, where young leaders work with adult mentors to help make the world a better place.

A student at the Green Hill Maximum Security Juvenile Detention Center made this poster about Barbara Martinson’s work.

[Click image to enlarge.]