Another belated entry because the USB cord on the kiosk had been broken for a couple of weeks. *grrr* I can’t wait to have wifi connection again rather than having to sync with a kiosk to send emails. *chuckle*

The big event in the past month was that I was able to take advantage of my first Personal Needs Pass and go out into the community for 4 hours. Generally, people use these personal passes to go shopping but I had other plans. I wanted to go see the Art From The Inside show at Jeri’s studio while it was still on display. I had missed the opening night because I hadn’t been at Community long enough to get a pass. One of the other guys displaying his art in the show is here at Community and was able to attend the opening night and told me how it was the best day of his entire incarceration, which has been a pretty long time. So, I wanted to go an see the show for myself, and invite some friends too. *smile*

McK has not been approved as a personal Sponsor for me yet so I had to make arrangements with an at-large Sponsor. When I checked the list, there was only one name I recognized: Maria Moreno from Defy (now called Rise), an entrepreneurial program I had participated in back in Tecumseh. But her listing said that she was only available for Rise related passes. Well, I took a chance and called her anyway. I suggested that she might enjoy seeing the art show too, and that she could invite anyone else from Rise to come also. She agreed to Sponsor me for the pass and it was great having her along for the evening.

When we got to Jeri’s studio, she was there of course, but McK, Colin, Gary, Marty, and Cye (Marty’s live-in female friend) also came and another person from Rise, Alana, came too. Maria had invited Alana because she is in charge of Rise’s new family program and is using art therapy to help family members and children of incarcerated people work through the trauma of loosing them to incarceration.

This was the 3rd annual Art From The Inside show and, I have to say, it seems word finally got around about it. There were 12 contributors and 20 pieces in total. Once piece even sold this year. I am hopeful that next year will be even larger. I was a bit disappointed that my prose piece didn’t work out. I had taken advantage of the option to make a video to send our family during the Covid lockdown and recorded myself delivering a piece about my grandmother’s death called The Visit. My dad uploaded it to YouTube and made a QR code for it so people could scan the code and play it on their phones rather than everyone having to hit play on a single screen (Covid precaution). Well, unfortunately, the QR code didn’t work so no one at the opening got to see my piece but I had my dad send a link to McK so at least I got to play it for the private showing with my friends. *smile*

I had to submit an itinerary to get the pass approved so I had asked Maria if she would mind if we went out to eat after viewing the show. She agreed so I scheduled for us to go to Lazlo’s in the Haymarket for dinner. Spinach and Artichoke Dip! WOOHOO! *chuckle* I tried to make reservations but they don’t take them and when we got there they said it would take an hour and a half to seat the 8 of us (Alana didn’t come). Everyone was like “let’s just go somewhere else” but I couldn’t. My itinerary said 4 PM – 5:30 at the studio and then 5:30 – 8 at Lazlo’s. I couldn’t go anywhere else or I would have been in violation of my approved pass and everyone get’s a GPS ankle monitor when the go out on pass. So most of us decided to stay though Marty and Cye couldn’t. That was a shame because I really wanted to get to know Cye. Luckily, they only took 45 min. to seat the 6 of us who stayed and we had a delicious and chat filled dinner…almost like a normal night out (except for the masks of course). *smile*

McK should be approved as my first personal Sponsor sometime soon and then he can check me out regularly. (Double meaning intended LOL!) While I am on Work Detail I can only get 2 Personal Needs Passes a month, though I can get a Religious Pass every week. So I am thinking of how to arrange to go to taiji practice, which is at a church, once a week. *grin* But I need a Sponsor to take me. Maybe McK wants to do taiji again. *chuckle* Once I am on Work Release, within 1 year of my parole hearing, I can get 4 Personal Needs Passes a month, plus I can start getting Family Furloughs where you can go home and which last from 12 – 48 hours. I very much look forward to that. *big smile*

Aside from the pass, those of us who live in the privilege dorm, THU, are able to order food to be delivered. I have had my first gluten free pizza in 5.5 years and I even tried the cauliflower crust. Very limp while warm (it firms up when cold) but excellent taste. I plan or order out once a week when they serve too much gluten in the chow hall. *yum*

My job as the Property Porter is going very well. I have managed to get things running so efficiently by coordinating the other porters that we ran out of stuff to do last week and got sent “home” early twice. Even today, with lots of stuff to catch up on from the weekend, we still finished at 1:30 when we usually run until 2 or 2:30. It’s nice to see that I can still be very productive when I need to

I was recently doing some educational reading on WestLaw and I decided to read Plessy v Fergeson from 1896, the cornerstone case behind “separate but equal” accommodations . I highly recommend everyone read Justice Harlan’s dissenting opinion as he lays out the arguments that eventually swayed the court to overturn peonage and other discriminatory legal constructs. Here are a few highlights:

“We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people above all other people. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with the state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow citizens, – our equals before the law.”

“The destinies of the two races, in this country, are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law.”