In our final class together yesterday, I shared this poem with my students at Lockhart prison. Having graduated from the Level 1 Talk to Me class last week, the women this week are moving on to Level 2 Discovery, which is taught by other facilitators at Truth Be Told. This transition requires taking a risk, to accept the invitation of joining a larger community of women in Truth Be Told classes who are also embarking on a journey of self-discovery. They are upping the stakes, learning who they are when the bull is stripped away, when they stop pointing fingers, when they own their stories — the horrifying, the regrettable, the beautiful, all of it.
They are seeing themselves and others with new eyes. They are continuing to practice the tools of community building, communication, caring for self and creativity.
Like many semesters before, I hold hope in my heart for each woman; their faces — young and old, of every race — will not soon be forgotten. They are the faces of mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, your neighbors.
I must remind myself, time and time again: This is where I let go.
Their future is theirs to live, theirs to save.