Reality-TV queen Kim Kardashian returned to the White House on Thursday for an event promoting efforts to help ex-felons return to the workforce.
This afternoon, we also have an exciting announcement to ensure former inmates can overcome some of the greatest barriers to employment, including limited access to transportation, which is needed for interviews and for jobs. To make this announcement, I’d like to invite up a very special guest and a powerful advocate for not only justice reform, but just a good person.
And I hear she’s starting to study law. She’s also one of the most successful people in the entertainment business. Soon she’ll be one of the most successful lawyers — I hate to tell all my lawyers back there. [Laughter] But I knew her father, and I’ll tell you, she’s got good genes — that I can tell you.
Good genes for everything. And she’s been a real friend, and her husband has been a real friend of mine. Kim Kardashian West. [Applause]
Kim Kardashian West:Hi. It really is such an honor to be here today, so thank you. My whole journey with criminal justice reform started about a year ago when I came to see the President, after speaking to Ivanka and Jared — who really fought for me to get here — and I pled the case of Alice Johnson, who the President granted clemency to. And after that, I really spent so much time going to different prisons because I really had no connection to anybody on the inside and really just felt like, for me, I am at the place in my life that I wanted to make a difference and just wanted to do the right thing, but I didn’t know how or what to do, or even really what was going on. And so after going to visit so many different prisons and really sitting down with lifers, with every situation you can possibly imagine, my heart just completely opened up and I wanted to do more.
So I started to study the law, which is law school, basically, in California. And my attorneys are here today, Erin and Jessica, from Cut50. Thank you. So the best part of it is I learned so much that I don’t even know if — I don’t want to speak for anybody in law school, but I learned so much just, basically, working on memos and being the assistant to them while the First Step Act was happening, and like learning how you get bills passed, and working on it from the ground up. So to get the President’s support and to see it come to fruition was magic.
And the one thing that I just realized that needed so much support, that I’m happy to help and be supportive where I can, was the reentry of people coming home and seeing the lack of support that really existed. Whether it’s housing or the amount of letters that I get with people just needing transportation to job interviews, to jobs — these people want to work.
They want the best outcome. And I’m so happy to be here today amongst people that want the same thing and that really believe in supporting their reentry. So I’m so happy to announce today that we have a rideshare partnership where formerly incarcerated people will be gifted gift cards so that they can get rides to and from job interviews, to and from jobs, family members, and that is so important — so needed.
And I just want to thank the President for really standing behind this issue. And seeing the compassion that he’s had for criminal justice has been really remarkable. So I just want to thank all of the organizations that are partnering with everything that’s going on and really being supportive, because it really does mean a lot to so many people that I’ve had the pleasure to speak to. And I think the ultimate goal is everyone wants the community to be safe.
And the more opportunity that we have and that they have, and the support that we help give them, the safer everyone will be. And the recidivism rate will be — continue to just get lower. And so, I’m just thankful to everyone here that’s in support, and so proud of this partnership with the rideshare organization.
So, thank you. [Applause]