Amidst a health and economic crisis and all the uncertainty and tragedy of 2020, Truth Be Told graduates shared their stories of hope, human resiliency and healing for a week-long campaign to raise awareness and funding for Truth Be Told.
While incarcerated, Lainey graduated from Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me Writing program, in which participants write and share the story of what they believe put them on a path to prison. She also participated in Living Deeper and Freer and Pay It Forward, two programs that Truth Be Told offers to Talk to Me graduates serving lengthier sentences.
TBT: You were incarcerated as a teenager and spent 30 years in prison. This week, you celebrate one year and three months of freedom. What are you most proud of over these past 15 months?
Arianna graduated from Truth Be Told’s “healing through storytelling” program called Talk to Me at Bryan Federal Prison Camp. Just last month, she celebrated one year of freedom from incarceration. In that short time, she completed a city health department community reentry network program and received special recognition among her peers at graduation. She now works as a youth peer specialist at a mental health services center and began school this month to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor.
Of her peer specialist role, Arianna says: “I work with youth, ages 10 to 20, drawing upon my own experience to help them navigate the behavioral health system by building trust, support and validation. The goal is to enhance wellness and create strategies for self-empowerment.”
Leslie participated in our Talk to Me Movement program. Using the improvisational, body-centered practice of authentic movement, Talk to Me Movement invites women to write and embody the story of what they believe put them on a path to prison. She is one of seven Truth Be Told graduates performing and hosting a workshop during the New Story Festival half-day virtual retreat this Saturday. For schedule and registration, visit here.
TBT: You’ve said, “We don’t heal from what we don’t talk about.” Will you elaborate on what you mean by this and how it applies to your personal healing journey?
Leslie: I spent most of my life trying to hide my flaws and shortcomings, trying to hide my drug addiction. I felt that as long as my image was bright and shiny, it didn’t matter what I was doing in the dark.
While incarcerated, DJ participated in Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me Movement program. Using the improvisational, body-centered practice of authentic movement, Talk to Me Movement invites women to write and embody the story of what they believe put them on a path to prison.
TBT: Describe a typical day in your life these days.
DJ: A typical day in my life consists of morning meditation, going to work (I love my job), bettering myself through my education, and providing myself with much-needed self-care and love.
While incarcerated, Tammy graduated from Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me Writing program, where participants are invited to write and share in safe community the story of what they believe put them on a path to prison.
TBT: Will you share a little about your life before you went to prison?
Tammy: I came from a great family. My parents have been married for over 54 years, and, growing up, our house was always filled with love. The real problems began later in my life.
While incarcerated, Sharon participated in Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me Movement and Let’s Get Real programs. Using the improvisational, body-centered practice of authentic movement, Talk to Me Movement invites women to write and embody the story of what they believe put them on a path to prison. Let’s Get Real is a trauma-informed reentry program that offers life skills and support to women as they prepare to leave prison.
TBT: In talking about your incarceration and the women you met in prison, you said: “Something brought us there – it wasn’t just the crime, but it stems from something deeper.” Will you speak more to what you mean by this?
Sharon: I firmly believe my pathway to prison came about as a result of violent childhood trauma. My very first memories are of a fight between family members. I witnessed a lot of abuse, and I was abused physically and sexually from a young age.
Barbara has been a poet her whole life, but it wasn’t until she participated in Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me program that she read her poetry out loud in front of others. “[That class] is where I found my voice,” she says.
At 9:30 pm on the final night of the $30,000 in 10 Days storytelling campaign, we surpassed our $30,000 goal! Due to the generosity of 171 donors and an additional $30,000 match from longtime supporters Bobby and Peggy Miser, the $30K in 10 Days campaign generated $60,648 to support the healing programs and safe community […]
Truth Be Told is a program that gives women a voice. Whether it is through writing, speech or movement, the Talk to Me classes allow us to take what is buried deep inside and get it out into the open and heal.