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Learning from Kanye and Kim

Editorials

10/25/2019, 6 a.m.
It will take a lot of money for anyone really trying to keep up with the Kardashians.

It will take a lot of money for anyone really trying to keep up with the Kardashians.

In case you haven’t heard, Mr. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, presented his wife with an interesting and com- mendable birthday present aside from the usual high-ticket handbags and bling. He donated $1 million to Kim’s four favorite charities working on prison reform.

The donation in her name was from Kanye and their four children, North, Saint, Chicago and Psalm.

Critics may slam Mr. West for not giving more. After all, his current net worth is estimated around $240 mil- lion, according to Forbes. The publication stated in a recent edition that he made about $150 million in 2019, with his footwear and apparel brand, Yeezy, expected to bring in more than $1.5 billion in sales for the year.

And while we may not like his politics — yes, we are confounded that he continues to support and defend President Trump — and have to close our ears on his latest song, “I Love It,” with Lil Pump, we have to give Mr. West props for giving some of his fortune to important causes that strike the African-American com- munity so intensely.

The charities are these:

• The Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation and others who may have been denied a fair trial. The Montgomery, Ala.,-based nonprofit, founded by Harvard-educated lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, also opened a museum and memorial last year to lynching victims in the United States.

• #Cut50, an organization co-founded by former Obama administration adviser and Yale-educated attorney Van Jones that seeks to reduce the prison population in all 50 states through coalitions and strategies that also will build safer communities.

• The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, a California-based organization that helps current and formerly incarcerated people with support services, including stable housing, education and job opportunities, mentoring through the re-entry process and policy advocacy. Sam Lewis, a former life prisoner who has dedicated his life on the outside to helping formerly incarcerated men and women transition back into society, was named executive direc- tor of the organization in June.

• Buried Alive Project, which works to help eliminate life without parole sentences for federal drug offend- ers, many of whom are first-time offenders who were caught up in excessive mandatory sentencing rules. The nonprofit seeks to humanize the people incarcerated for life under the draconian law.

One person the Buried Alive Project highlighted was Alice Marie Johnson, who was 41 when she was sentenced to life without parole for working as what is described as a “telephone mule,” passing messages between drug suppliers and clients. Ms. Johnson, a single mother of five, had been laid off from her job in the 1990s and turned to the drug trade for quick cash.

Learning about her story, Kim Kardashian took up the baton in trying to win her release, even talking with President Trump on her behalf. In June, President Trump granted clemency to Ms. Johnson, now 63, and she was released from federal prison.