Richard is a member of our White Collar Support Group that meets online on Zoom on Monday evenings. We will celebrate our 250th weekly meeting on Monday, March 29, 2021, 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT; all Fellow Travelers are invited.
That the white collar support group has endured to 250 meetings reflects a number of truths both about the group itself and larger society.
One is that there are a great many lonely, tortured souls out there, in desperate need of belonging. They are hurting, suffering and this group provides a sense of community for people where in many cases, they have lost theirs. We share our adversity and more importantly, our hope through a shared, common experience that is universally one of the most difficult chapters in our lives. The sheer fact we draw folks nationally from all walks of life shows what need there is and has been for our white collar community.
Ever since my own criminal case, I have felt an outcast from polite society. I have struggled for years (and still do), and even though I have been exonerated, I carry the scarlet letter of shame deeply branded into my soul. This group helps me not just find myself but forge a new path and new identity for myself. Admittedly, it is difficult at times. But facing life with the oasis of folks who’ve been there is far better than without.
Yet another truth is that no one is perfect. We all have our moments of grace and moments of being low. This group provides a safe space to discuss both.
I’ve known Jeff nearly a decade now, and have had the fortune of walking alongside him, be supported by him and see him come into his own self-actualizing as the driving spirit and leader of the white collar support group and championing a transformation in the way we view and characterize white collar criminals.
It’s ironic despite America’s Judeo-Christian roots, the compulsion to judge, cancel and vilify white collar criminals is oddly strongest with those groups identifying either as strongly liberal or strongly evangelical. Perhaps ‘white collar’ is a misnomer. Perhaps it is just a group that finds no safe harbor anywhere on the social or religious spectrum? For now, we can find safe harbor amongst ourselves.
Jesus was preoccupied with the plight of prisoners. “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” I have found this group strengthens my faith and humanity, and reinforces my belief that God has a plan for each and every one of us.
It’s amazing, 250 meetings. What will we look like when we celebrate 500 meetings? – Richard