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Ismael Mejia F45989

The Amend Project July 2021.

I can’t say that I’ve spent all my time in prison doing the right thing and holding myself accountable for my past or present.

I came to prison living a destructive lifestyle, not caring about anyone, and sadly I’ve hurt many people from prison including the many people I hurt during my life crime. Which I had never accepted responsibility for, as I have since done. But who I am today thinks differently and feels differently for how I act and the things I do. It saddens my heart to except how blind I was choosing to be. And to all the harm I caused, to every community that I lived in, out there and in here. My heart was to harden and selfish to open my eyes and see the truth.

Over these last years I’ve come to great awakenings that have helped me changed my stance on how I view life. One of these being that, what I believe is not stronger than the truth. For many years I believe that my gang lifestyle was the only lifestyle to live. Now here’s what’s more most important THE TRUTH. The truth is that gangs hurt people, and gang members are cowards; as I once was. Forgive me for the strong words, but for me, that’s the truth. I have accepted all these truths about myself and have been able to change my life because the truth is: it’s never too late.

I’ve committed myself to change myself, internally which is the most important change. That’s a change that matters. I let go of my old moniker and stand firmly on the name my parents gave me. I make my life meaning-full. I do all self-help programs available. I attend spiritual services and most importantly, I have impressed on my heart that being at service is important.

Since the pandemic of COVID-19, I started running a self-help group at dayroom. Since all self-help groups have been canceled in prison due to COVID-19 restrictions. About 12 or 13 men graduated after a few months of work. The group material, provided by Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative, (JRJ I) "foot prints". It was helpful to the men here, as it was to myself seeing how hard all the world was being hit by Covid-19. I also facilitated for PREP, gang awareness and recovery and parenting.