Category Archives: Writings on the wall

Three Ways to Prepare for Release


How to Prepare Yourself for Release

by the Author of 13 Years of College, Ronald Bullock

After serving a significant amount of your prison sentence, there are quite a few things you need to do to prepare yourself for your exodus. I will explain three, and why these are essential to starting your path of being a productive citizen and help decrease the recidivism rate.

Five years in, with nine to go, I concluded that I would be free longer than I would be incarcerated, so I needed to begin my journey immediately.

  1. Set a five year plan and do something each day that aligns you with your end goal.
    adult book book series college
    Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

    In my case with nine years left I decided that I wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree.  I had to pass a reading comprehension test since I didn’t score high in that area on my G.E.D. This was required before I could enroll in the Associates degree.  So, scoring high enough on the reading compression test was my first goal. Therefore, I began studying to get a high score to enroll into the associate’s degree program, so I could eventually move on to the bachelors program.

  2. Read daily, whether it’s the newspaper, magazines, or self-help books. Reading allows you to detach from your physical location. Reading also allows you to stay abreast with the ever changing world.
  3. Find a community organization to communicate with. This community could be your local church, mosque, community center, etc… You want an alliance with a positive and productive circle and these organizations often include resources that will help propel you to success.

In closing, I allowed five years to get past me; but, if I’m asked when an incarcerated person should begin their preparation for their release, I will answer, emphatically: “As soon as possible”! The reason being, it takes quite a while and much discipline to learn, unlearn, and relearn. That is: know what you want in life, unlearn what got you there and relearn what it takes to get you that new life you so desire.

 

Black History Month Essay: Uphold The Legacy of African American Leaders by Author Le’bert A. Gordon


Writing Prompt: Is There Still a Need for Black History?

I sent out emails to some writers featured on Cry Redemption with this prompt: Is there still a need for Black History, since the election of America’s President Barack Obama? The following is Le’bert A. Gordon’s response.

I find the audacity that such a question must be asked thought provoking. How were we as a race of people able to overcome brutality, subjugation, intolerance, oppression, and castration? Are we to forget and not continue to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for the little freedoms we enjoy today? Are we not uplifted and inspired by those African Americans who have contributed so much to America and the world society at large?

We now live in a society where all little African American boys and girls can, not only dream like our beloved brother Martin Luther King, Jr. once did, but can actually achieve becoming the President and First Lady, in an entrenched racist society such as the United States of America, like Barack and Michelle Obama.

If, because of the statement I’ve made above, you believe we as African Americans have achieved true racial equality in the United States of America, you’re sadly mistaken. You only have to look to the recent happenings which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, the racist statements made by the Congresswoman of Alabama, and the current crises taking place with the Governor and Attorney General of Virginia regarding their insensitivity to wearing “black face” as a joke.

There is a very famous saying: “If you forget from where you came, there’s a good chance IMG_20180817_054112you may repeat it.” The sad legacy of our history that some would like to forget and bury is that we African Americans were forcefully brought to this country by brutal means in wretched and deplorable conditions-chained like livestock, at the bottom of slave ships-across nine thousand miles of ocean. We survived, only to be sold into the forced servitude of our slave maters. Yet still we survived.

But we didn’t just survive, we persevered even when there seemed to no hope. Brave men and women stood up against oppression. Not just with their physical rebellions, but also with their intellectual minds—an element the slave masters could not defeat.

We must try to keep Black History alive in the hearts and minds of our children, and in the conscience of the American people. So that never again will any race of people in this great country of ours be subjugated to second-class citizenship, be de-humanized, or be treated barbarically because of the color of their skins. But rather, we must regard men for the intellect of their minds and the contents of their characters.

Today, we have an obligation to uphold the rich and great legacy of our African American Activist Leaders, Academic Scholars, Inventors, Liberal & Fine Arts, and Scholastic and Athletic achievers. There are too many to name. As a young boy, it blew me away to learn that it was a black man, George Washington Carver who first invented Peanut Butter, and Luis Howard Latimer who contributed to the invention of the light bulb.

They have allotted us February as the Month to celebrate our rich and proud history and I encourage each and everyone to take full advantage of those 28 days to share with your children and to reminisce and even celebrate with others our great accomplishments. But, while doing so, never become comfortable as if we’ve made it. But rather, also strive to work individually and collectively to empower and enrich the legacy of our Black History here in America and all over the world. Yes, there’s still a need for Black History!!!

Written by: Author Le’bert A. Gordon
Follow at Facebook: authorlebert.gordon

Reading These Three Books While Incarcerated Helped Me Change My Perspective


by Ronald Bullock

These three books gave me hope for a life after my prison sentence. I drew inspiration from all of these books and authors. The common theme for me was the authors’ ability (or the subject’s ability in the case of the Malcolm X book) to change, both themselves and their message. I was impressed that they also found an audience after being incarcerated.

  1. Man Child in the Promised Land by Claude Brownmanchildinthepromisedland
    Claude was in and out of the justice system from when he was a juvenile until early adulthood. Even through all of his street gang involvement and near brushes with death, he never allowed his past to predict his destiny and future. Claude attended and graduated from Howard University and later attended Stanford and Rutgers law schools. He had a great ability to embrace at-risk youth and empower them to walk in a life different from his own childhood.

 

 

  1. Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall
    makes me wanna hollerNathan was sentenced to a ten year prison for an armed robbery. During his time down he found some time to self reflect and find himself. He took on some training in printing and upon his release he pursued college. His problems in life continued to persist and he was later jailed again for child support. However, through all of his turmoil he still pursued his career in writing and became a bestselling author.

 

 

  1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haleymalcolm
    The two fold story of Malcolm’s life is monumental within itself – from a womanizer, fast-talking hustler, and robber to the leading Minister of the Nation of Islam. The way that prison groomed and prepared him to be the great speaker and national speaker that he grew to be! What he exemplified was a great maturation of self discipline.

 

 

Ronald Bullock:

udyI was sentenced to 13 years of prison but I like to consider the time 13 years of college. My sentence changed me forever – it fast tracked me to my role as a husband, father, friend, and educator! I began to seek discipline, work ethic, and education to propel me to my physical exodus from prison! Thanks to these valuable men and authors for sharing their lifes’ lows and transitions.

I have now completed my own manuscript, a memoir entitled 13 Years of College, which is my debut. It’s being edited.

Stay Tuned! Stay Blessed!

Instagram: 13yrs-ofcollege
website: http://13yrsofcollege.com

Mental Health Awareness by F. Jacobs


After spending 35 years on this earth, with 17 of these current years incarcerated, I’ve discovered that my mental and emotional heath are just as important as my physical health. Being that October is Mental Health Awareness Month, I will raise the awareness of the importance of mental and emotional health/wellness, to the best of my ability and knowledge and to as many readers as possible.

I strive to present positive, productive, and progressive coping methods for the various forms of mental and behavioral disorders. This is my caveat, for I am neither expert, nor have I been formerly educated on this subject. However, the time to take action is overdue in the quest of being more proactive in our communities, families and work places. Step one is to identify the problem while Step two is to discover the solution. Collectively we can make steps one and tow much easier.

Things to Consider: Emotions and Our Mental States

People with good emotional health can still be plagued with emotional problems or

Mental Health and Awareness by Floyd Jacobs
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

mental illness. Often, mental illness has a physical cause. There could be a chemical imbalance in the brain. Problems with family, stress, work, or school can trigger mental illness or make it worse. If you know someone who may need help coping with a mental illness and may not even know they are mentally ill or if you, yourself, is struggling with emotional and mental issues then consider these things and please be proactive (and not reactive) in your treatment.

Our emotions are the direct product of our mental state. Paying close attention to our health and treating threats to our physical well being is no different from when we sustain psychological injuries. If you are more proactive with protecting your physical well-being and neglect your psychological well-being you might probably experience a gradual decline in your mental and emotional health.

Talking about the upkeep of ones mental health may sound like a foreign language; however, the professional experts say that maintaining ones mental well-being is rather simple and easy; just choose to do it! The choice is yours to make a difference in a positive way.

written by:
F. Jacobs AKA Bumani SankofAllah, The Prudent Pauper

Next Part (2) Mental Health and Awareness: Seven Dimensions of Wellness

adult alone backlit dark
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Loving Through Bars: Bidding With Someone You Love (Part 1: M.I.A.)


Loving Through Bars (Part One): Missing In Action

by K. Omodele & SKL

Real Talk, many who knew us ain’t think we was gon make it through no five-year bid especially since Shelley was only twenty-four when them people snatched me up off them streets.  Matter of fact, soon as them crackers put me in the back of that SUV and it began sinking in that wasn’t no jumping through no windows, hauling-ass through the woods like Harriet Tubman, soon as I realized that I was wound up tight, I figured I was gon have to let Shelley ass go.

By the time they got me all processed and that cell door clanked behind me, my first priority was to make some calls and let somebody know where the fuck I was. My heart was turning into wood because I knew: one, wasn’t gon be no bond (they ain’t never gave me none before, though I always clung to a lil wriggle of hope); two, I ain’t remember no numbers (I’d been commanding my damn cell phone to dial people numbers for years); and, three, I had to find a way to call Shelley and eventually make her ass go on bout her business.

Being locked up, your first priority is self-preservation, you understand?!

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That Thursday, I’m waiting on my Man to call me because that weekend we was supposed to be headed to a holiday party at one of his friend’s house in Charlotte and he was driving all the way down to Chattanooga from D.C. to pick me, then I was gon drive us on up to North Carolina. That’s a lot of driving but back then I ain’t mind us hitting the road together. We made every trip a damn adventure, stopping and eating at little restaurants and we used to love us some Sheetz. We’d been together about a year; first we dated about a month, then we had hauled all my belongings up to an apartment he had just got in D.C.

Anyway, he ain’t call Thursday, so I blew his messages up. “Where is MY Man??? I need to talk to MY Man.” That always had his ass calling me back within minutes.

But when I ain’t heard nothing from him that night, then on Friday either, my heart began feeling like a damn semi was driving over it. Then, late Friday night, my cell phone rang, but his name didn’t pop up on my screen. It was his cousin’s wife.

“Hey, Girrrl. Jomo got locked up down in NC in another bitch house… blah, blah, blah, blah… He fucked now… blah, blah, blah. You young, you might as well go on with your life. He ain’t shit. You need to find some other … blah, blah-di blah-blah…”

And my emotions just flooded, over-flowed, and gushed into each other in one big-ass river of hurt. People sure know how to kick you when you down and pour salt in a wound, don’t they? Salty-ass bitch.

woman holding space gray iphone x
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

To Be Continued

Embracing Change


free-yourself-photo

by Drako Sullivan
copyright 2016

At this present moment I am in Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) and I must honestly say that I am learning a lot about my thinking and the errors in the way that I think. Before being admitted to this program, I thought the drug rehabilitation program dealt with only drug abuse but I was wrong. It deals with the way you think and how you handle situations that can lead to drug abuse. I am learning that by thinking more rationally I will be able to handle conflict and focus on my addictions. There are exercises that we do to help deal with the way we handle situations and how we view them. One assignment that I was asked to do is write a good bye letter to my addictions. I want to present that to you.

Dear Lady Alcohol and Ms. Criminal Lifestyle,

Before you two say it, I already know, it has been a long time since we’ve spoken. Yes, we had a lot of fun together and been to a lot of great places. But I have to be honest and say that I don’t miss it one bit! I have come to realize that you two never meant me any good what-so-ever. All you ever gave me was false hope and foolish pride. Yeah, you two made it seem like my best interest was in mind but it was only meant to keep me trapped in a world of darkness.

Lady Alcohol, I think back to our first kiss; I was only twelve and for some strange reason after the bitter taste I came back for more. We wouldn’t hook up again until a couple years later but we hung out every weekend after that. You being there for me whenever I had issues made think that you were really down for me. At times you made me feel invincible and gave me unbelievable courage to speak the truth. You help me discover parts of me that I have never known. But the whole time you were poisoning my mind and eating me inside out. Destroying my dreams! And just when I was about to break away from you, you introduced me to your friend Ms. Criminal Lifestyle.

You knew that she would keep us together. I was blinded by all her glitter and gold. She brought to me things I never thought that I would be able to have. But all it was a false sense of happiness. I know that she is a liar and doesn’t care about me at all. I am sure that she has found many to use after me. Lady Alcohol it is not your fault, it is in your nature to ruin lives. When we first met I was just a child and I was weak. Even as an adult you were able to keep your hooks in me. But now I am free! You will never have the pleasure to ever be with me again! I know who I am and I’m aware of the pain you’ve caused! Thanks to you and your trusted friend Ms. Criminal Lifestyle and all the ill advice, I have paid a tremendous price. It was you two that lead me to prison. My children have grown without me and my family torn to pieces. Most importantly I have disappointed me! So this will be the last time that you two ever hear from me! I have a fresh start and I am embracing change. I can live for my family and me! I will not let you two disrupt my road to recovery! I wrote this letter to the both of you.  I know that she is not far from you now so you can pass this message on.

Love me no more!
Drako

 

 

photo credit: Wendelin Jacober <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/91619724@N04/27487112404″>Ghostepic</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Instructing Yoga While Incarcerated by John Gianoli


Instructing Yoga While Incarcerated
by John Gianoli
copyright 2016

I enjoy yoga; and since being incarcerated, I do it every day in one form or another. Fortunately for me, I also teach the yoga class Monday through Friday. In teaching the yoga class in prison, I am afforded the unique opportunity to touch the lives of fellow inmates. Whenever they tell me of the benefits that they get from yoga class, I just light up inside.

Some of my students have shared the following:
“I was a very angry man when I came to prison. John’s yoga class is the high point of my day. When I twist and breathe under his direction, I let go of tension that I did not realize was even there. After yoga, I have the ability to get along with others when I might otherwise snap.”

“My knees were shot before yoga. Since I have strengthened the muscles around my knee-joint and made them more limber, I can now walk distances that I could never do before.”

I used to get injured every time I played racquetball. I had to quit. Since taking yoga, I can now play and not worry about backaches.”

“Before doing yoga class, I could never get to sleep on the hard mattress in my cell. Now with my body more limber, I sleeps most nights with no problem.”

“In yoga class with John, I enter a zone like no other in this prison. He plays music and dims the lights. We focus on our breath and our bodies become an instrument of meditation. I cease to be in prison and my spirit is free; that escape is priceless.”

“Mentally, I am much sharper after yoga. I count my breaths and watch my balance. I am now aware of how I treat my body.”

Comments like these keep me teaching the class! When I can to prison, I started to run. If I ran three miles or more, I was devastated with knee and ankle pain. After doing yoga for a year, I started running again, at the age 56. I am now running more than 20 miles every Saturday morning, with no soreness. I have no doubt that I can run this far now because of my yoga practice. The yoga class has been a blessing for me and I hope that it continues to bless those that I can touch with this wonderful discipline.

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