Thoughts of an Incarcerated Prof…..

Posted: March 3, 2014 in Welcome

For the first time in my life, I felt authentic, I felt needed and that I could truly invoke change. It’s funny because I felt this way in one of the most dictatorial environments in our country – a prison. 

Life hasn’t been fair to many people, but today “karma” karma reared it’s face in the ugliest way. Rodney, one of our students, said “karma is a motherfucker.” He discussed his plans to overcome adversity to take on the future and make use of his time, but mainly that “you get out what you put in.” Quickly coined “the law of attraction by Just’. 
Internally, there are a million thoughts running through my mind regarding the question: Why? Why are they here?, why are they so smart, well spoken, mile mannered, and ultimately where will they go? 
How will they overcome the inevitable challenges of The New Jim Crow; the structural impediments that lead to recidivism. Lord, lord, what do I say? 
How do I project hope, yet maintain humility while challenging them to build a better them. You see, their stories are no different than mine, their walks slightly deviated with one mistake, or due the unforeseen circumstances of being born a black poor man in America. Taken aback by the narratives of Jeffries who has been incarcerated since the age of 16, and he’s now 27, took me into a tearful rage. Why is a young man at the age of 16 required to surrender his life for twenty years because of one mistake. Regardless of the error, one must not be subjected to such inhuman circumstances. It’s ironic because the mantra of his colleague to his immediate left was: we only have one life to live.  Now this is the audacity of hope, this is the ability to dream. How can a person embody, or even state something so obscure that it not only challenges, but defeats his reality. 
This, this is literature. This is a biography, the is a laureate trapped within the confounds of a wall. Another structure. These men challenged something, they challenged life, at least as I know it. How can you articulate an opinion with so much conviction in a country that no longer recognizes your voice, and strips you of the right to gain access to any resources and live in this country. 
Oh the audacity of him to dream! 

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