Picture this, it’s September 13th, 2014, a crowd fills Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall as Kira Kazantsev is named Miss America. All of the contestants rush to the front of the stage to congratulate her. Among them is Brittany Lewis, Miss Delaware, and Stacey Cook, Miss Colorado. Fast forward, 6 years. Where are these three women now?
Kira, now Kira Dixon, is a television host and has started a podcast called, “What We Do” featuring the lives of women in business. Brittany Lewis is a PhD candidate at George Washington University and Stacey, now Stacey Putka, is the Executive Director of Defy Ventures Colorado.
In May of 2018, on one of their many trips to see each other, Kira joined Stacey to volunteer in prison with Defy CO. Kira’s platform as Miss America was domestic violence prevention and Kira was able to speak with Defy CO program participants about her experiences in a restorative justice activity. Inspired by her experience and motivated to share it with as many people as possible, Kira chose to highlight Defy CO in a 4-part-series. In the series she explores Stacey’s story of becoming Executive Director, Defy CO’s mission, and Brittany Lewis weighs in on racism in the criminal justice system. Check out all 4 episodes to go on a journey behind the walls of Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, hear the story of one of Defy CO’s program participants, and learn more about how “what we do” defines us all.
What We Do by Kira K. Dixon
“Defy a 4-part miniseries”
- Episode 1
Kira welcomes you back to the podcast and introduces a very special story. WWD has always featured the stories of incredible women, and that’s not changing. But over the last few months, as America’s problems of systemic racial injustice shifted to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness, we decided to use the pod as a vehicle to examine the intersection between race and the criminal justice system. You’ll hear about our justice system from three very different points of view and hopefully, you’ll take away something that will help us live in a more unified nation.
- Episode 2
Kira speaks with Brittany Lewis, PhD candidate at George Washington University, about how our country’s history enables wrongful incarceration, like that of Abe Arrington, to happen in America.
- Episode 3
Kira takes you back to the origin of the miniseries: Stacey Putka, Executive Director of Defy Colorado. Stacey discusses her journey and Defy’s complicated path to where it is today. We also listen to the incarcerated men at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility as they graduate from the Defy program after eight long months of study.
- Episode 4
In the final episode of the miniseries, Abe Arrington shares the ending to his story, at least the prison part, and tells us about what he’s up to now. Stacey, Brittany, and Abe offer their parting words and hopes for the future.