In her recent appearance at the White House, Kim Kardashian West has announced a new ride-sharing partnership, which will help provide former inmates with transportation to and from job interviews and jobs.
While giving his opening remarks on Thursday, President Donald Trump acknowledged the role the reality star, 38, had in advocating for the passage of the First Step Act, which was signed into law in December. The bipartisan legislation focused on divisive issues, including sentencing reforms and an expansion of programs focused on helping prisoners not re-offend such as job training.
” Jared [Kushner] and Ivanka [Trump] were incredible, they really pushed it. And I think they were pushed a little bit by Kim Kardashian. So thank you, Kim. And Kanye [West], thank you,” he added, acknowledging both the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, 38, who was sitting in the audience between Ivanka and Jared, as well as her rapper husband, who has been an outspoken supporter of the president.
After several minutes, Trump went on to introduce Kardashian West, teasing that the star would be making an “exciting 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,” he shared. “But I knew her father and I’ll tell you, she’s got good genes – good genes for everything. She’s been a real friend and her husband has been a real friend of mine. Kim Kardashian West.”
Taking the stage, Kardashian West shared that it was “such an honor to be here today.”
“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. After that I really spent so much time going to different prisons ’cause I really had no connection to anybody on the inside and really just felt like for me, I’m 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,” the mother of four said.
“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, Erin [Haney] and Jessica [Jackson] from #cut50,” she shared, referencing the prison reform initiative which Kardashian West has been working with for several months.
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Reflecting on how much she’s learned throughout her studies, Kardashian West shared that although the government has taken steps towards helping former inmates get a fresh start, more work needs to be done still – specifically when it comes to finding housing, as well as transportation to and from job interviews and jobs.
“These people want to work they want the best outcome,” she shared, before announcing a new “ride-share partnership where formally incarcerated people will be gifted gift cards so they can get rides to and from job interviews jobs, family members and that is so important so needed.”
She went on to thank Trump for “really standing behind this issue and seeing the compassion he’s really had for criminal justice has been really remarkable.”
Kardashian West added: “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 everybody wants the community to be safe and the more opportunity we have and they have and the support that we help give them, the safer everyone will be. I’m just thankful to everyone here and so proud of the partnership with the ride organization so thank you.”
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Ahead of her speech, Kardashian West went on social media to share that she would be attending the event, where many more partnerships between the government and the private sector were announced.
“Since the passage of the First Step Act in December, I’ve been speaking with people coming home from prison and learning about the challenges they are facing,” she wrote on Twitter.
“While I have been able to offer support to some of the individuals I have met, the obstacles to success are an everyday struggle for thousands and more needs to be done,” she added. “Today, I’m honored to be a part of the announcement that the administration and the private sector are stepping up to create opportunities for these men and women to succeed once home.”
Kardashian West has been focusing more and more of her time on advocating for prison reform and has working with CNN commentator Van Jones and attorney Jessica Jackson, co-founders of #cut50, a national bipartisan advocacy group on criminal-justice reform.
As part of her work with the group, Kardashian West has been visiting prisons, petitioning governors, and attending meetings at the White House. Last year, the reality star successfully petitioned the president to commute the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender.
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Kardashian West, who has begun a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm, has hopes of taking the bar in 2022, and making prison reform her main focus.
“It’s kind of crazy because I’m learning it all as I go,” she said during a recent episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. “I spend more time on this than I do anything else. It’s insane but it’s so fun to be around people that are super smart and get it and want the same thing.”
“I think now having gotten so deep in helping Alice [Marie Johnson], I’m really motivated to get to know the law more and fight for people who deserve a second chance like her,” she added.