By Damion Smalls
“Every person deserves a second chance in life,” says Cassy Moore, the founder of Charleston nonprofit Liberating Lives. Launched in June 2016, Moore has drawn from her experiences in the criminal justice system to disperse knowledge and strength to formerly incarcerated women. “The Lord gave me a vision,” she states.
As someone who has been arrested multiple times and served criminal sentences, Moore knows how tough life is once it is time to re-enter society. “Getting out of jail or prison is only half the battle. It’s much easier to go back to the lifestyle you were living that got you into trouble in the first place than turning over a new leaf,” Moore explains.
On her journey before becoming a minister, Moore relates that “I went through a lot with the lifestyle I was living.” She doesn’t hesitate to reveal that a bad time in her past saw her arrested three times within a month. Her struggles did help her come to a realization, however, once she was released. “I had to change both my lifestyle and environment,” Moore recalls.
Moore lived in Georgia for over thirty years before moving back to Charleston in 2014 to aid her mother. Using her past with incarceration, she started visiting the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston on Thursdays to talk to female inmates, eventually becoming a chaplain. At the jail, Moore holds workshops to encourage the women and meetings for habitual drug users looking to recuperate.“The women have been looking forward to my visits,” she discloses. Moore created Liberating Lives in 2016, gathering like-minded individuals to join her crusade to change lives and offer guidance for women to combat recidivism. Her motto is “whomsoever chooses wisdom chooses life.”
A licensed cosmetologist herself, Moore preaches the importance of formerly incarcerated women learning vocational skills. “I’m doing what I can to help women assimilate back into society,” she maintains. Liberating Lives is requesting the assistance of the Lowcountry to reach their goals that will empower women. “This is my passion,” Moore expresses.
Friday, February 22, Liberating Lives held a meal plate fundraiser to benefit their future academy, a group home for women to reside once they finish their sentences. While there, the women will learn life skills, take part in educational classes, be given occupational opportunities and provided a positive, nurturing environment. Visit www.gofundme.com/liberating-lives-academy, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 843-252-0481 to further donate to the cause.
More information on Liberating Lives can be found on their Facebook page (@liberatingliveschs). As a message to formerly incarcerated women looking to improve their lives, Moore relays hope – “If I can do it, you can do it.”