I have seen men’s lives changed simply because someone believes in them, and is willing to invest their time and effort.
When I first heard Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Are Dying”, I realized that despite my circumstances, I needed to forgive, otherwise I would destroy myself, and I need it to live.
Over the past 18 years I have found myself in my art, my ability to advocate for the incarcerated population, my education, and in my marriage. Through my colored pencil drawings I find tranquility and bring bright vivid color into the drab world of prison.
I began helping others by tutoring incarcerated men, often men much older than myself and from vastly different cultural backgrounds.
As many of these men earned their GED and expressed their appreciation for my help and support, I realized I had to make a meaningful difference in the incarcerated community.
I have now become an advocate for the incarcerated population I have served as Chairman of the Men’s Advisory Council and currently work as an inside organizer with Initiate Justice to further my own education I am earning my Associate of Arts degree for transfer through Bakersfield College and in my marriage to my childhood friend Emelia, I find the love and support I need to reach my potential.
I will also never forget the moment “Live Like You Are Dying” came on the radio at our first family visit. My wife ran into my arms and we sang every word as we danced together. I was living.
Becoming an adult wrongfully incarcerated in California’s prisons, I have seen the need for justice reform and restorative justice.
Upon my release I will complete my education with the support of Project Rebound at CSU Sacramento. Then utilizing my life experience and education, I will continue to advocate for social justice reform and the incarcerated population.