Syrita Steib co-founded Operation Restoration (OR) in 2016 and serves as the Executive Director. OR was started to eradicate the roadblocks she faced when returning to society after incarceration. The organization specializes in creating opportunities for formerly incarcerated women through college courses, a women first clinic, clothing supply closet, case management services, advocacy programs and more.
At the age of 19, Syrita was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison. After serving nearly 10 years in prison, she was released into a community vastly different than the one she left. Other formerly incarcerated women helped her to re-adjust to the world she left behind.
Despite her academic accomplishments while incarcerated, Syrita was initially denied entrance at the University of New Orleans due to the criminal history question on her admissions application. Two years later, she reapplied, unchecked that box and was subsequently granted admission. Syrita went on to earn her B.S. from Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and is a nationally certified and licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist.
In 2017, Syrita wrote and successfully passed Louisiana Act 276 which prohibits public post-secondary institutions in Louisiana from asking questions relating to criminal history for purposes of admissions, making Louisiana the first state to pass this type of legislation. In 2018, she was a co-chair for the healthy families committee for New Orleans Mayor Cantrell’s transition team. She was also a panelist on the Empowerment stage at Essence Festival in 2018 and 2019. She serves as a policy consultant for Cut50’s Dignity for Incarcerated Women campaign and worked tirelessly on the passage of the First Step Act. Ms. Steib was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment oversight council and is the Vice-Chair of the Louisiana Task Force on Women’s Incarceration. Most recently she was nominated to be one of LISC's 2020 Rubinger Fellows.
In this episode, Syrita reflects on her personal and professional journey to restoration. She shares how she has been able to show up authentically in her advocacy to dismantle systems of oppression. We are ignited by her passion, unrelenting determination and wisdom. Ms. Steib is truly a sojourner of our generation; join her in the movement.
We stand in solidarity to break chains of oppression for all women and the communities they lead, as we share Forward 4O’s platform with this phenomenal WOC in the nonprofit and social enterprise sector.