Chanell, 41
Chanell, 41

Meet Chanell…

I refer to my two awesome boys as my “Young Kings,” because not only are they kings by nature, but they’re also the kings of my heart.

Nothing is more important to me than my role as a mother.

Having been incarcerated for fifteen years of a nineteen year sentence, being a better mom and becoming the woman God ordained me to be, has been paramount and the inspiration behind all that I do.

In thinking about role models, I would have to give that honor to my mother Robin and my aunt Sharon. It is my aunt Sharon who I want to focus on now. The women in my family are strong and not easily broken by life’s circumstances.

Thankfully for me, I was born into such strength. Sharon was serving a life sentence, but by the judgment of man, that sentence was overturned by the Most High Judge, God.

My aunt served 33 long years before gaining her freedom. As a child, I made many trips with my family to visit her in the prisons which kept her physically bound. All the while not really knowing how free she truly was on the inside!

Liberation, true liberation, starts within. Many are free physically, yet still bound internally. My aunt has a care-free spirit which enables anyone who encounters her to embrace her. To know her is to love her! And that positive energy, faith, and optimism is in my opinion, what sustained her through a journey of over three long decades behind concrete walls.

I had to learn from her what it meant to be free on the inside. We were blessed to be able to reside together here in the same housing unit. She taught me how to serve my time in a way that made it count instead of only counting days. By her example, I learned to maximize the moment. And by her faith, I grew in mine because I see how God can shift a situation and do what I always thought would never happen growing up traveling the roads to visit her: my Auntie going home!

So let that be a lesson to anyone presently incarcerated. Never give up hope! You never know what God has in store for you. Don’t put your hope in man!