In 2013 I was fortunate enough to have Tysheerah Johnson contact me and ask to volunteer against the death penalty in Pennsylvania. She was writing her senior paper on the death penalty and wanted to complete her required volunteer service with me, researching and writing about the death penalty as well as meeting people affected by the death penalty personally. When I asked her what brought her to have such a strong opinion on the death penalty she told me it was because her uncle was currently serving time on death row, for a crime she and her family insist he did not commit.*

Tysheerah’s family has put much of what they have into sustaining their family and helping their incarcerated family members. Leaving Tysheerah with a need for assistance as she proceeds into college, the first member of her family to do so. I am reaching out so we can help her succeed. While she has a few grants and loans, works as a hostess at a center city restaurant, and has been saving money all summer, there is much she still needs to prepare for.

From buying books, and class items to hotpots, linens and dormitory items, there is much a young woman must prepare for when going off to college. These include monetary items, but also shared wisdom.

If you can donate any of those, she would appreciate it. During the summers she will be looking for internship opportunities related to her studies, and contact from people in working in criminal justice would be extremely helpful to her. Every person who makes a donation can receive information from Tysheerah to update on her progress.

On August 10, 2014 Tysheerah’s family will be having a party for her and I will be attending, she is registered at Target for some of the things she needs. If you would like to make a donation to help Tysheerah please contact me.



Below are words from Tysheerah.

My name is Tysheerah Johnson and I recently graduated from Parkway Northwest High School. This fall I will be attending ESU (East Stroudsburg University) for sociology. Going to college is a big step in my life for many reasons. Not only will I be preparing for my future career as a criminologist but I will be making my family proud. In just a few months I will be the first in my family to attend college. Something positive is exactly what they need after some of the disappointing news they have had this past year. Like my father being incarcerated and my uncles appeal being dragged out. My mother has sacrificed a lot for me to be able to follow my dream and I would like to show her that it was worth it.
College would be the start of something new. I will be on my own for the first time, making my own decisions and following my own path toward a brighter future as an criminologist. Someone who analyze data from crimes to determine why they were committed and how to prevent these crimes from reoccurring. My work will consist of studying behavior patterns, backgrounds and sociological trends of those being accused of a crime. I find myself to be passionate about this career path because I believe that it is important to know why crimes occur. If we are able to read people and understand why they do things we will probably be able to detect signs of criminal behavior early and prevent future crimes from ever taking place. I figured out exactly what I wanted to be while working on my senior project. It focused on the death penalty and how something so cruel shouldn’t exists in our judicial system. People should be allowed a second chance because the circumstances of each crime differ and in order to understand that we have to remain open minded and and try to understand both sides of the situation.

In order to make my dream come true I plan on working the entire summer. Every penny earned will go toward helping my mother pay for my tuition of 16,000 a year. To help get everything I need for living on my own I will have a trunk party to get as much as possible to help shorten the list of things I need to buy. As for my tuition I plan on taking out a small loan to help cover the cost of my payment plan.

These next four years of my life will determine the rest of my life and hopefully everything turns out for the best.


*Because of the sensitivity of the issue, Tysheerah and her family do not want to publicly name her uncle for this purpose (they already receive death threats) but the relationship has been confirmed and further information can be provided if requested.