Letter From Dana Johnson to Pastor Brown (Shared with permission)


July 16, 2021


Greetings Pastor Brown,


I learned of you and your church from the "Soul of a Nation Faith episode". I did my research and I love what you stand for. I love that you advocate for social justice at every level of government, business, and at the grassroots level as well. I love that you are a catalyst for social change and believes that systemic problems need systemic solutions. Your church website says that your church is the hub for spirituality and social justice and I'm in need of both.


I was wrongfully convicted in February 2019, and sentenced to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. At the time of my arrest and conviction I was a qualified Federal Law Enforcement Officer working with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 13 years. I am also an disabled Army Veteran (Military Police for 8 years) that served honorably in Iraq. I NEVER COMMITED A CRIME and I had no criminal history.


I am currently serving my 5 year sentence in a Halfway House, that is a Drug and Alcohol abuse program, and I don't have a drug or alcohol problem. Pastor, there is a bunch of things that are making my time here at the halfway house miserable, the devil is working hard in here. I have to live here for the next few months. They are making it very hard for me to do my time the right way. I don't have ANY OTHER OPTIONS. It's here or back to prison, and to be honest I had fewer issues in prison.


You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, I’m just seeking some spiritual guidance. I am a lesbian woman, I turn 42 on Monday, July 19th and from what I can see of you on TV and online you welcome LGBTQ. Most churches don’t and that’s always been an issue for me in finding a church home. I can assure you that I am doing the right thing, I'm respectful to staff and residents, I have no infractions, I follow all the house rules, and I help with other residents. Makes you wonder why they have an issue with me right. I also plan on advocating for social justice at every level. I’m just seeking spiritual guidance and ask that you and your church family pray for me. Nevertheless be safe and have a great weekend on purpose.


https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/veteran-cop-in-prison-for-carrying-a-firearm-despite-leosa-law-unfortunately-you-read-that-correctly/


https://www.change.org/p/governor-phil-murphy-justice-for-dana-j


Many Blessings,


D.A.N.A.

(Determined And Never Afraid)

From Pastor Brown To Dana Johnson


August 9, 2021


Good Evening Dana Johnson,


I pray that this note finds you well. Please forgive my delay in getting back to you. I have been meeting with members of our church to see how we might be of support to you during your ordeal. We're just forming a new ministry at our church focused on supporting those entangled in the criminal legal system. Some members of our team have already signed the online petition in support of your cause on the change.org website. In addition, I hope you don't mind - we've included an excerpt from your letter to me in our Sunday bulletin for tomorrow. I'm sure that more members of our church will sign the petition and others may email you as well.


In addition to all of that, please know that we are praying your strength in the Lord. Staying spiritually and mentally strong through trials is just as important as anything else. In fact, while typing you this note, I was reminded of a story in scripture that could be a source of encouragement for you during this time. Do you have a Bible? If not, I want to mail you one and provide you some scriptures to help keep you focused and grounded. Please share your address and let me know about the regulations concerning phone calls at the halfway house.


Thank you again for reaching out. You are not alone! Not only do you have support coming from Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, but more importantly, God is with you! Never ever forget that.


Sincerely,


Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III

From Dana Johnson To Pastor Brown


August 9, 2021


Greetings Pastor Brown,


I hope and pray all is well with you and your family. Thank you so much for your response and your prayers, I'm extremely grateful. Thank you for the prayers of your church family and thanks for signing the petition on my behalf and no I do not mind that you shared it. Yes, I do have a bible and daily bread and I pray daily. However, I would love to receive spiritual scriptures and guidance from you and other members. I started following you and your church on Youtube and when I'm allowed, I tune in.


I'm having a really hard time here at this halfway house. They (the staff) have a real issue with me and I'm not getting the proper treatment here. I have no other choices, it's here or back to prison, no other options. Currently, I'm a full-time student and they are purposely stopping me from having computer access. This past week I was unable to complete my VA (Veterans Affairs) paperwork and I was also unable to complete my school work. This is not fair to me at all, I'm a model resident here with no infractions and I'm constantly being punished because the staff here have a personal issue with my character. I will continue to do the right thing while I'm here but I need all the prayer I can get. It's hard having to hold everything in, in fear of retaliation which is what they do. This place is not helping me in any way with growth and development. However, it triggers me and my PTSD. They will not allow me to go to the local VA to seek the treatment that I need for my PTSD, my knees, back, and headaches. So I'm just praying for my appeal process to overturn my conviction.


I know God has a greater plan for my life and I know that this incarceration is part of my purpose. So I'm thankful and I'm blessed and highly favored despite my circumstances. I look forward to hearing from you Pastor Brown and thank you again for caring enough to respond. As for phone calls, I get two 20 minute calls a day. However, I can see if I can put in for a clergy call and set up a time when I can call you. Please let me know if that's ok with you. Thanks in advance for understanding. If you really need to reach me you can contact my sister, I speak with her daily and she will give me the message. Be safe and have a great day...blessed day on purpose.

My address here is: (I don't mind if you share my address as well)

Dana Johnson

369-371 Market Street

Paterson, NJ 07501


Many Blessings,


D.A.N.A.

(Determined And Never Afraid)

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