$100K in 10 Days – Day 3, featuring facilitator Laura
Thanks to all of our donors that have already taken the time to donate. We have raised over $36K already. We are featuring a daily video and a blog each day. Uplifting stories of growth and transformation, none of them possible without donors like you.
Today we are featuring our facilitator, Laura. She is amazing and always knows the right thing to say to make our participants feel heard. Laura treats each woman with the utmost respect and empathy. Her energy is contagious, as you will read below.
TBT: What do you want people to know about incarceration and the criminal justice system?
Laura: That the people in the prisons are just people like you and I, who just happened to have made a bad choice, mostly because of their own past traumas.
The criminal justice system does not provide the mental health services that are needed by the prisoners so that they can become better people and citizens. Prisons just tend to re-traumatize the traumatized.
TBT: What is your favorite motto, phrase, or affirmation?
Laura: “Can’t talk butterfly language with caterpillar people.”
TBT: Out of all the work that you do with Truth Be Told, what is the most memorable lesson or tool that you still use to this day.
Laura: Journaling, meditation, and self care.
TBT: There are so many stereotypes of women that are/have been incarcerated. What are some of the ways that the women in your classes break these stereotypes?
Laura: That the women in prison are all low class, uneducated, mostly of color, and bad!
The women in my classes were mostly white, very intelligent, even some highly educated, and just nice, caring women who could have been my next door neighbor, fellow worker, sister, or best friend!
TBT: What has been most surprising to you since you started volunteering behind bars?
Laura: How eager these women were to better themselves, so hungry for guidance on how to be better versions of themselves.
TBT: Tell us about your best and worst day facilitating in prison
Laura: Best day – One day one of the mentors for my class, a prisoner herself, came in early to help me set up before class as she normally did. But this one day she was so excited she couldn’t contain herself, she had just heard that she was being released. She wanted to tell her fellow classmates herself during our checkout and so we planned for her to go last in her sharing. But deep inside I was afraid the news could be met with resentment and jealousy. When her turn came to share at checkout and she told her news, the entire classroom cheered and were as excited for her as she was for herself.
She shared how she was afraid of going home, afraid she would revert to her old ways of using drugs, the offense she was in for. But the other women quickly reminded her of all the tools we had discussed in class – grounding, meditating, journaling, and self care. I had never witnessed such sisterhood and compassion for each other and it just touched me. Once we settled down and went on to class, one woman looked out the window and called our attention to the most gorgeous sunset. We all went over to the window and marveled at the beauty of the moment.
Later after class, as I walked out with the other facilitators, we walked out the locked gate and the sun was barely in the horizon but the sky was the most beautiful hue of pinks. I was reminded of the class, the women and the one woman who would soon be walking out as well and my eyes filled with tears – happy for the one woman but sad for the others.
Worst day- When the prisons were shut down for covid.