Zach, 31

Zach, 31

Zach

Meet Zach…

“When I walk, there is a grace about my stride that my clothes can’t hide.”

Zach, 31

Incarcerated: 2 years

The Black Man

I am a man. I am a black man. I am a black man transported from Africa, transformed in America. I am a black man whose roots stretch across the seas to the very land that gave birth to human-kind itself. I am a black man with a spirit and strength in my soul. When I walk, there is a grace about my stride that my clothes can’t hide. While I was building great civilizations, others were still in caves. I used complex equations and methods of construction to build pyramids to marvel. I’m a pacesetter, a record breaker, a co-creator with the creator. I performed the first successful heart surgery. I planned and designed Washington, D.C. I was the first man to set foot on the North Pole. I have scored more goals in basketball than any man in history, and I even broke Babe Ruth’s unbreakable record. I invented jazz to free my imprisoned soul. I was rappin’ before rap, and tappin’ before tap. Rhythm and Blues, I invented that too. The rhythm I received in Africa. The blues I got in America. I was forced to come to a land that was not interested in my strong body. Some tried to kill my mind with ignorance, but I became a master of survival.  I’ve been through slavery, separation, castration, miscegenation, so-called emancipation, Klu-Klux-Klanization, separate but equalization, civil rights legislation, frustration and I am still looking for complete social liberation. When I died, my tombstone read, “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, I am Free at Last.” I am a black man who had to die to truly be free. I can read, I can write, I can speak and oooh can I preach. You see, I am so strong that I can afford to be weak, but so weak that I cannot afford to be without God. For I still have battles to fight in the hearts and the minds of those who would enslave me if they could. So you see, I am a BLACK MAN, but the question is, who are you? 

Audra, 53

Audra, 53

Audra, 53

Meet Audra…

My mistakes and crimes do not define me, my hurt no longer controls me.

Audra, 53
Incarcerated: 13 years
Housed: Central California Women’s Facility, Chowchilla

In my childhood dreams, I wanted to be a police officer so bad, in order to help people. Then with his dirty touch my dreams become nightmares. These things were seen but not seen, heard but not heard. As a young girl my soul was broken. My dreams and trust were consumed by fear, so my voice was no more. Anger and hate replaced my innocence. My granny tried, she cried, and prayed to my uncles to protect me, but the damage was done. I trusted no one, so I ran straight to her arms. I was seeking a mother figure or friend, but found my lover instead. Too young to understand, I was used, fooled by the pretty red painted dirty hands. I ran into many dead ends, then drugs came in. It was pure hell as a young girl. The money grind became my life, I was a hustler by nature, so fast, it kept me blinded.

For my lifestyle, my children paid the price, life in prison, twice. In here, the lion’s den, I began my destructive cycle, running, gaming and manipulating, only to pretend we were family and friends, just to fit in. As a young, broken, lost and damaged mother, how was I to provide from behind bars? It was just so hard, so now that is granny’s job. My soul had long ago died, 25 to life could break the broken. I thought I was too far gone to be helped, my hustle was grand, it could buy my freedom, but it couldn’t fix the pain. When death seemed like the win, I succumbed to seventy five Tylenol codines, chasing my end, to the peace I wanted more than anything. I heard the chaplain say, “Seek and ye shall find, He is the way, the truth and the light.”  So I gave God a try, and I put up a great fight. I lost, He won and a relationship began. I was blinded but now I see, lost but now I’m found, broken but now I’m healed. Once there was no hope, but today I am full of hope. My life is now enriched because of his grace and mercy. His love within me is never ending. My mistakes and crimes do not define me, my hurt no longer controls me. Though I was judged by man, I was saved by grace. The world sees me as nothing, but I know I’m a bride of Christ, heir to the most high.

Regal, 62

Regal, 62

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Meet Regal…

When you know your purpose on this earth, and you know your true value, then you know how much you truly are worth.

Regal, 62
Incarcerated: 23 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, California

To watch Regal’s one minute video on our YouTube, click here.

Download the six minute version of Regal’s Song for Everyone here!

I finally figured it out. I wrote a song and isolated a key component that would allow a person to commit suicide and-or live a destructive lifestyle like mine. I inserted it into a song in the form of a question, because this question needs to be asked each and every day. Because for some of us who can’t answer it, find ways to destroy ourselves. 

Would you know your worth

When on earth

If you can’t answer this question right now that’s all right. 

Just for now, it’s fine to answer the question like this:

Maybe, maybe if I stop walking around with my head hanging down

trying to be like all the perfect pictures that I see in society

and just use my time to be a better person, a better man

maybe then I can comprehend 

the question that’s for you and me:

Would you know your worth

While on Earth

Maybe when I come to crossroads in my life

Where I can choose wrong or right

Listen to that small voice

And make the right choice

Maybe then being in touch from within

I will understand the question

That’s for you and me

Would you know your worth

While on Earth

Maybe maybe if I know daddy’s strong

I can admit when he’s wrong

I can’t imagine [??] in a fight

Doesn’t let it left all night

When the storms of life come around

He knows that his relationship is strong

[unclear]

And as the clouds part

Blue skies so clear

From a place of peace,

Right frame of mind

Anyone can hear

Would you know your worth

Right here on this earth

Or would you ever know your worth

Maybe if I know that all of the above

Was a self check for love

Because you can’t love nothing

Or no one else

Until you learn to love yourself

And all of life’s hard lessons

And falling down

Will reward you

With the answer

To the question

Would you know your worth

While on earth

Maybe you’ll know your worth

When you know your purpose first

Right here on this earth

No one can take it from you 

Not even you

You know how we do

You know what God can do

When you know your purpose on this earth

And you know your true value

Then you know how much you truly are worth

Here it is– the story of my life. I hope you enjoyed it. Answer this question each and every day. You’d be surprised how many people need to hear it. Thank you.

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