From prisoner to activist: Long Beach native Taryn Williams is fighting for second chances

Each year the Long Beach Post hosts Best of Long Beach, a celebration that recognizes not only our favorite places to eat and hang out but also those who are making a true impact in our communities.

Taryn Williams was the recipient of the Community Leader award. If it had not been for her life experiences, Williams might not have been in a position to receive that award, and may not have developed her passion for helping formerly incarcerated people navigate life outside of prison.

In the past, Williams was physically and sexually abused. She was a drug addict, homeless, and spent two years in prison.

The programs in prison helped Williams turn her life around. She received the President’s Scholarship at Cal State Long Beach and began helping those who were formerly incarcerated find scholarships to go to college.

Her story is compelling and she is bolding telling it with the hopes that companies will be more inclined to hire former felons. To help her in that endeavor, she is pursuing her doctorate and researching the labor market experiences of formerly incarcerated people.

She has quite a story. On this week’s episode of “The Word,” Jackie Rae sits down with Taryn Williams to discuss how her past shaped her future and passion to help others.

3 strikes, 24 years, and now freedom: The story of Allen McIntosh

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Jackie Rae is a multimedia reporter for the Long Beach Post who joined in May 2021.