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Reflection 3/20

Ang's picture

It was my first time in a prison, as well as the others'. On the trip there, we talked about how nervous we were. We weren't sure what to expect, about the prison or the young men we were about to meet. We had come up with a themed workshop focusing around the idea of superheroes and weren't sure how successful it was going to be. I think I can speak for all of us when I say I'm really glad, as well as relieved, that it seemed to have gone really well. 

When we got to the prison, we met the lieutenant and a CO (I think that's what she was?) outside. They were both immediately very friendly and familiar with S, and greeted each of us warmly. When we went in we signed in at the desk and gave the woman our IDs. None of it was how I had expected, though I still can't really say what I was expecting. The people working there were all colored people, mostly black, and were all friendly people as far as I could tell. There was a TV in the waiting area of the lobby. While we were waiting to be brought in, some old movie was playing on the TV. I'm not sure what movie it was but as far as I could tell, it was very violent with a story that possibly involves mobs/gangs, in which, during the maybe ten minutes I watched with unfocused attention, there were multiple fights between black and white men. 

The guys that came for the workshop were great. There were seven of them total, with a good amount of them as first-timers. I think the energy in that room was really great, everyone was positive and enthusiastic. When we introduced ourselves, we went around in a circle giving our names, where we're from, and a rose and a thorn from the week. I definitely felt a little nervous while trying to think about my rose and thorn of the week, as I couldn't think of anything I felt comfortable sharing something really personal, but at the same time couldn't think of any thorn that, in that setting, didn't seem at least a little minuscule in the grand scheme of things. Two of the guys said they had no roses, one of them who particularly saddened me because, observing him as he introduced himself, I could see how sad and tired he was. Some others, however, told us that their roses were hearing good news over the phone, and I could see the cautious eagerness on their faces at the idea of "good news." 

By the end of the session, we had gone over by about thirteen minutes and only got through two of our planned activities. We made the decision and agreement, after the guys asked about it, that we'd return at least once more before the semester ends so that we may finish the workshop. I'm excited to go back. We only got through introductions and everyone creating their own superhero, which was really fun and insightful to each of them as individuals. I'm excited to see what they do when we have them create a villain whom they will then creatively defeat together. They were really a great group of guys, and I'm excited to go back and have more opportunities to talk with them.