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I’ve known Juan “Shorty” for a very long time. Last summer in 2023, I was surprised to see him still here at San Quentin. I thought he would be home, paroled, and doing his thing in the free world.

Seeing the humanity blazing in his eyes after all these years was very humbling. I’ve turned gray after all these years, and Juan didn’t recognize me when I approached him on the basketball court. I had to tell him “Dee-Nice” when he said, “Who are you? I don’t know you.”

He smiled that famous smile of his and laughed when he remembered me. I’ll be happy for Juan when he goes home, and people can see his changes to become who he is now. And I thank him for showing me what I can become by putting in the work to change the narrative in my world.

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