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Felecia Tyson-Waters
Safe & Just Michigan

Felecia Tyson-Waters, Clean Slate Summer Fellow

Felecia Tyson-Waters became Safe & Just Michigan’s Clean Slate Summer Fellow in 2022. She brings decades of experience of organizing and advocacy experience in the field of criminal justice reform in Michigan.

A native of Pontiac, Felicia met her future husband, Safe & Just Michigan Community Engagement Specialist Ronnie Waters, while working at her family’s convenience store as a teenager. Both of their lives changed when he was sentenced to life without parole at the age of 17, and Felecia made the decision to stay loyal to her friend.

“A crime is not who someone is — that’s something that happened in their lives,” Felecia said. “It doesn’t define an individual. I’ve learned not to be so judgmental.”

Felecia earned associate degrees from Oakland Community College and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in administrative research from Central Michigan. She worked as a public school teacher and insurance analyst for a bank while continuing to pursue freedom for Ronnie.

In 2007, she partnered with ACLU-Michigan to form Second Chance for Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to freeing people incarcerated on juvenile life without parole sentences. That work brought her to the Michigan State Capitol to testify before legislative committees, and to mentor other citizen advocates to do the same.

Felecia and Ronnie were able to finally live together once he obtained his freedom in 2020. They live in West Bloomfield.