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Hope is all I have; everything I dream of. Hope gets me out of bed and it makes me excitedly await tomorrow.

Tiona, 26
Incarcerated: 8 years
Housed: Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New York

If you ask me, hope is envisioning another day where you can capture the image of accomplishing our dreams and goals. Hope is believing that my Lord blesses me with his mercy each day and wants what is best for me. It is the feeling of excitement and longing. The feeling of humbleness in life that eases the negative thoughts. Hope is all the strength I hold onto in each hardship. Hope is waking up and thanking Allah for breathing air into my lungs. Hope is what keeps me striving to win in the end. Hope is mustering up all my courage to face whatever obstacles present themselves. Hope comes from within the heart and soul. Hope is a mindful awareness, hope is me being conscious of the realities of this world and still trying to conquer the world. Hope is seeking knowledge. Hope is all my thoughts of ending all oppression and inequalities.

Hope is overcoming the state of censorship that keeps many of us stuck. Hope is change, hope is love. Hope is realizing things could be worse and appreciating my circumstances. Hope is that feeling that tugs at my heart. Hope is being angry at what’s wrong and trying to make it right. Hope comes from the smile on my son’s face or hearing him tell me, “I love you mommy.” Hope is knowing that this won’t last forever. Hope to me feels like a random breeze on the hottest days of summer, or when I find a place of warmth as I’m tucked under my blankets in the freezing winter. Hope tastes like that first sip of water after fasting, hope is the rush I get in my body that soaks in my bones. Hope sounds like my favorite song on a bad day. Hope is all I have; everything I dream of. Hope gets me out of bed and it makes me excitedly await tomorrow. Hope looks like blissful moments that I am no longer restricted in any way. 

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