Aaron Suganuma is the Executive Director at A Brighter Way, a mentoring and social support program for men and women returning to Washtenaw County from incarceration. He also works as a prison-based substance abuse counselor and is an Executive Board Member for the Youth Justice Fund. For three years, he was the Coordinator for Nation Outside, an organization that focuses on elevating the voice of formerly incarcerated people at the policy-level of the criminal justice reform movement where he remains as a Steering Committee member. Aaron attended Eastern Michigan University's School of Social Work, where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees. He was a founding member of the EMU Students for Recovery group. Released in 2009, he completed his associate’s degree from Washtenaw Community College while serving 4.5 years in prison.
He is passionate about helping people to find their freedom – from incarceration and substance abuse, through policy, community organizing, and individual work.
What kind of messages does a person receive about themselves and society if they are sent to prison during their formative years? Sit and think about that for even just a moment. I believe that it is simply not enough to say that we believe in second chances. YJF is actively creating networks and resources that an individual can access to meet their needs and reach their goals. The collateral consequences of incarceration are often invisible to the general public. This is about personal healing, community healing, and creating a more holistic future.