In honor of Charlotte Women’s Day, which we turned into a month-long celebration, CWM remembers and celebrates Ramona Brant. We were recently introduced to Ramona through her passionate advocacy work.
Ramona Brant was sentenced to life in prison for a first-time, non-violent drug offense (which she didn’t even commit). She served 21 years of that sentence before President Obama granted clemency; she was released from prison on February 2, 2016.
While in prison, Ramona was a leader and voice for her fellow inmates. With her freedom, Ramona became a relentless advocate for women currently and formerly incarcerated. She fought for the right of women re-entering society to have safe housing and fair wages. Ramona’s vision was to open her own center which would teach returning citizens a trade, help them find a job, and above all, allow them to live with dignity in a home with their families.
Ramona was not bitter. She was a picture of positivity, grateful for every moment she now had with her children and grandchildren. No set-back would deter her from seeing her dream come alive. She was a rising star in Charlotte, a voice that grew stronger with each passing day. Her movement was gaining momentum: she was invited to speak to numerous gatherings, she was being paid for her engagements, and people were listening.
The world lost a gentle soul when Ramona Brant passed away unexpectedly on Sunday February 25, 2018, from an apparent heart attack, almost two years to the day after walking out of prison, a free woman.
Charlotte Women’s March would like to honor Ramona’s memory and work by increasing awareness of the plight of formerly incarcerated women, and the lack of services provided for their re-entry into society. May Ramona’s dream of safe housing and livable wages for these women one day become a reality.