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Arianna – “To tell my story, gives me power .”

$100K in 10 Days – Featuring our Truth Be Told graduate, Arianna

Arianna

We have 4 days left of our fundraiser. It’s time to make an impact if you haven’t made a donation yet. You’ve heard from some amazing ladies this past week. Please honor them by making a donation in their name. 

Today, we are featuring our graduate, Arianna. Her story is a clear example of how incarceration can affect various generations within the same family. You can watch Arianna’s video here, and learn more about her journey.

TBT: What do you want people to know about incarceration and the criminal justice system?

Arianna: One day someone was asking me about my rehabilitation services while incarcerated and I laughed. For so many, there are no services offered. I was lucky to have participated in Truth Be Told after arriving from county holding with only 4 months left in my prison sentence. There are no services in county jails, and the mental health services are a joke. Incarceration is just a part of the journey of the criminal justice system. The toughest time is reentering society. 

 TBT: What is your favorite motto, phrase, or affirmation? 

Arianna: My favorite affirmation today is “I am enough, I am worthy and I belong.” 

TBT: Out of all the work that you did with Truth Be Told, what is the most memorable lesson or tool that you still use to this day. 

Arianna: The most memorable lesson is the four C’s: Care for Self, Community Building, Communication, Creativity. I use these daily to keep me well and take care of myself.

 TBT: We are all one choice away from incarceration. Describe one choice from your past that put you on the path to incarceration. 

Arianna: There were many things that put me in the path of incarceration, but the biggest contributor was my failure to recognize my predisposition to substance abuse. My family would warn me that it was genetic, but I failed to recognize it until it was too late. 

 TBT: What are you excited about in your life now or looking forward to in the future? 

Arianna: There are so many things to be excited about. I am excited to obtain my passport again, to be able to vote, and to continue my education. I look forward to all the future memories of what each year has to come. 

TBT: Tell us about your best day in prison and your worst day in prison.

Arianna: There are no true “best days” in prison. Some days are easier than others. 

My worst day in prison was, technically, not in prison.  It was during the first few days I was detained. I was put into a small cold room that was the size of a small closet. I had a cold toilet with a metal faucet. There was no shower, no bed, no covers for the hard, cold, cement floor. I laid there, with what looked like tin foil, for 3 days without a shower or a phone call. I waited for the DEA  to pick me up and take me to where I would be held until my trial and sentencing. This was  the worst. 

What I would consider my best is the way celebrations were held. My first birthday, while being  incarcerated , was within a month of being confined. I turned 26 that day and was surprised that the 7 women inside my cell made a “cake” and a “tamale.” They presented it to me as they sang happy birthday. Seven strangers came together, with food out of their own supply, to put together a celebration and ease my loneliness for that one day.

Arianna is on her way to celebrating her 3-year anniversary of her release. To make a donation in honor of Arianna, you can visit our campaign here

If you want to learn more about our graduates and their experiences during and after incarceration, join us for a virtual, real-time Story Gathering on December 8th at 7:45 pm. You can secure your tickets by making a tax deductible donation here