Dear Alex and Gloria,
Thank you so very much for your letter and your kind offer to inquire as to what I think freedom means to me. And for your desire to open up a dialog with me with regards to what it means to be an American in prison.
I would like to share with you that unfortunately for me, when I was your age, I had no consciousness with regard to the importance of freedom for American citizens, or individuals. It was an abstract concept to me then, and one which I didn’t give much thought to.
The longer I am incarcerated, now 38 years, soon to begin my 39th year of consecutive incarceration, I can tell you that the longer I’m incarcerated and the longer I witness younger and younger women coming to prison because they make irresponsible and uncaring decisions in their lives, the more I appreciate the idea, concept and reality of freedom.
It’s difficulty for people to conceive of something that they have, and it’s authentic value, until they don’t have it anymore.
Today I grieve and fully regret the choices I made that led to my incarceration. I make no excuses today, I’m responsible for my actions in the past, and and for nearly 4 decades I’ve learned and been leaning how to make healthy choices that keep me healthy today.
Freedom is choice, in thoughts, words and deeds, and the responsibility to live with the consequences of those choices, which can include and encompass the entire spectrum of human emotions and experiences.
Freedom is far more than physical liberty of movement. Every decision, each human being makes begins first with the freedom to choose to act, or not act, based upon the information which calls upon the person to make a decision.