Sierra, 24

Sierra, 24

Meet Sierra..

“I’ve learned it is a natural human thing to want to reach out, help, and uplift those in need. ”

Sierra, 24

Incarcerated: 9.5 years

Housed: Topeka Correctional Facility, Kansas 

Being incarcerated at 14 and growing up in the system, navigating life came with so many obstacles and challenges. I am blessed to meet so many well-intentioned women who take me under their wing and do their best to help me realize my potential and guide me in the right direction. This experience is still ongoing to this day. I’ve learned it is a natural human thing to want to reach out, help, and uplift those in need. Whether it’s emotional, spiritual, or social. I’ve heard over and over how God works in mysterious ways. He works through those you’d least expect. Every day I wake up, I decide to be a better version of myself than the day before. Because of the grace and love shown to me, I choose to be someone who can extend that grace and love to others. I thank God daily for showing me mercy and allowing me to become the blessed young lady I am today.

 

Ciara, 34

Ciara, 34

Meet Ciara…

Forgive as you may be forgiven. Make amends while you are still living. Don’t allow grudges to hold you back. Bitterness causes you to go off track. Allow love in your heart to let healing begin. Harboring hatred is a most deadly sin.

Ciara, 34
Incarcerated:  4 years
Housed: Topeka Correctional Facility, Kansas

“Forgive as you may be forgiven. Make amends while you are still living. Don’t allow grudges to hold you back. Bitterness causes you to go off track. Allow love in your heart to let healing begin. Harboring hatred is a most deadly sin.” by Lovette. I read this and felt the truth of these words. For years I’ve wandered around aimlessly, lost. I’ve allowed the poison of hatred, grudges, and pain from the things that I’ve endured as a child, from the very people who were supposed to love and protect me, to consume me. I sought to numb everything within me and became seriously addicted. Self-hatred and isolation became me. Since being incarcerated I’ve decided to change. I’ve had a lot of time to think clearly and to learn about who I want to be. I’ve heard of this statement,” you teach people how to treat you,” and I’ve latched onto it and made it into my new motto. No longer will I wait for love to find me, I’ll become love by forgiving and letting go of all that has been killing me. I now seek to help others who are like me and have gone through trauma and suffer from addiction. I’ve been gaining every bit of knowledge and experience to further help myself and others. Too many people who are just trying to survive their pain are locked away and being robbed of life because the state lacks the programs to help them, so instead they are sent to sit in a prison for years. I’m going to do what I can see about getting some of these programs started once I’m released. I’ve found a purpose worth living for. Where there is a will, there is a way. I’ll prove to the world that I’m not just a number or a statistic, my past doesn’t define me. People treat you like scum when you’ve been incarcerated or they discover you’re an addict. I’m both and I know I’m not scum. I have a big heart and for so long I’ve had it closed off, but it’s opening up now and I’m trying to make a life changing difference for not only myself, but for many others. I think being incarcerated and the efforts by the guards to do whatever as often as possible to dehumanize us, is what lit the fire within me.

Ebony, 30

Ebony, 30

Meet Ebony…

I prove to people left and right, that I am not a “danger to society” they have labeled me with. Going back to school, training dogs and by holding a job, I am proving I am a member of society.

Ebony, 30
Incarcerated: 9.5 years
Housed: Topeka Correctional Facility, Kansas

Young and wild with no cares and no worries. That was me about 9 ½ years ago. At the age of 21, I got charged with first degree felony murder in Wichita, Kansas. Doing me, not knowing any better, and loyalty had gotten the best of me. Just when I had wanted to turn my life around and do better than the gang and drug life, my life had gotten ripped right out of the good life. I was going to school, I had my own place and was working two jobs, it meant nothing in the courtroom. My family was devastated. Never in their life time did they think any of their children would go to prison, less alone to get accused of murder. Long story short, I have turned my life around even more. I prove to people left and right, that I am not a “danger to society” they have labeled me with. Going back to school, training dogs and by holding a job, I am proving I am a member of society. The saying goes, “Tough times never last but tough people do.”

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