Born and raised in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC (otherwise known as “The DMV”), Renaldo Michael Pearson identifies as a “Harvard Administrator on weekdays, Activist and Social Entrepreneur on nights and weekends, and Morehouse Man year-round.” He half-jokingly adds that he’s a full-time singer in another life.
Prior to joining the Interim National Coordinating Committee (INCC) of Democracy Spring, Pearson selflessly spent 3 years as a criminal justice advocate organizing and lobbying for revolutionary change to our nation’s criminal (in)justice system, while working locally to serve those most affected by it. His work fell along 3 registers: (1) as Member & Spokesman of The #EndMassIncarceration Coalition, he was the youngest member and spokesperson of the 200-member, all-star coalition (which included everyone from Michelle Alexander to Rosario Dawson, John Legend to the now-late Julian Bond) that petitioned and pushed the Obama administration toward its recent historic embrace of criminal justice reform; (2) as a writer and columnist, he was able to instantly broaden his reach and advocacy with several articles that made the front page of The Huffington Post; and (3) as deputy director of a network of halfway houses in metro Atlanta, he merged his macro (or “abolition”) work with the micro (or “underground railroad”) work of the movement to end mass incarceration.
However, despite making solid strides, it soon became clear to Pearson that the egalitarian movement at large would continue to yield diminishing returns hacking at the branches, instead of striking at the root of the problem: a broken democracy exacerbated by the corrupting influence of big money in politics. He saw that whether it was mass incarceration or mass deportation, environmental and economic injustice or gun control, the moneyed interests and big corporations were there at every turn to block progress through campaign finance and lobbying. So this past April, Pearson answered Democracy Spring’s clarion call, participated in the 140-mile march from Philadelphia to DC, and led freedom songs on the frontlines of the largest act of civil disobedience this century where he was arrested with over 1300 others while sitting-in and demanding that congress enact fundamental democracy reform.