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Showing posts from February, 2020

Amplifying Their Voices

I am so emotional right now. All the emotions.
My co-author, "Jorge," wrote his part of the afterword, which just needs to be edited. It is not long but it is SO powerful. I am crying typing it in for our editor.
I can't wait to share all this with you. I'll give you a taste:
"... they [kids like him] feel as if nobody is going to care about anything they have to say, and to be honest, that's where it all starts."
Then, this is the part that really got me. "If it wasn't for my 3rd grade teacher [me], I wouldn't be here talking about my life story. She told me my voice needed to be heard, so here I am."
People often, OFTEN, thank me for giving my former students a voice.
I say no, they have a voice. It's just that no one is listening. My goal is to amplify their voice.

Wearing a Stranger's Boots

I went to visit Jorge again earlier in the month. The visit went well. Jorge looks really good and is happy, and we got to bring his girlfriend (that’s another story about how he reconnected from somebody from elementary school and they are engaged).

There was a quick moment of worry when we didn’t think his sister could get in with a belly button piercing but she did.  This is also the closest I’ve ever come to having a panic attack at the prison. I went through the body scan machine and the metal detector, and took my shoes off, took my ring off, emptied my pockets, and had my hair felt to make sure I didn't have anything hidden in it. I got my wrist stamped and started to feel everything closing in. I had to focus on breathing and try not to think about the institutional walls, the COs who were being rude to me, and most importantly, the razor wire surrounding everything. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go in but eventually diminished, although didn't go a…