I’d like to share with everyone my graduation from the Bridges To Life class. This was a powerful class that is run by volunteers from the outside and is taught from the perspectives of victims of crime. The class is centered around teaching inmates the impacts their crimes have- not just on the victims in their case, but their families and society. For 14 weeks we had one on one sessions with a facilitator and it was a powerful experience. It was approximatively 6 groups of 7-10 inmates. We all told our stories (crime and upbringing) and also worked out of 2 workbooks. So, we not only met new friends but we also gained a new consciousness through it. I’m thankful for the class. If you’d like to know a little bit more about the class and organization got to www.bridgestolife.org .
I’d like to share a few things with all of you. At our beautiful graduation we had pizza (the first I’ve had since 1996), cupcakes, salad and cookies. Of course I acted like a refugee when I ate. Everyone knows how I am. But, we were also able to get up and tell how the class affected us. Several men spoke. I spoke close to last and shared how the class brought me into an awareness of myself. I told the audience that as inmates we like to point fingers at the System, but we first have to point fingers at ourselves. We have to hold ourselves accountable for all we’ve done, or not done, in life. Then I read a speech that I wrote. You will find the speech that I wrote.
Also, during Week 11 our workbook touched on RECONCILIATION. For anyone that follows my situation you know that soon I will be filing a motion to my trial court in San Antonio asking for my sentence to be modified from the life sentence to a more appropriate sentence; one that reflects what I did do and also what I should have been charged with. It will not be an easy task, especially since the victim’s brother is now head District Attorney in San Antonio (Nico LaHood). This Chapter asked that we write a letter to our victim’s: crime wise and family wise. While it’s not easy to share such sensitive topics I’d like to share the 2 letters that I wrote. I feel it’s my duty to be as transparent as can be, because after all I owe my life today to the people of the public that spoke out for me in 2007 and influenced Governor Rick Perry to commute my sentence. Thus, I look at it as I have a responsibility to the public. I share these letters with you all with the hope in my heart that I will one day make it up to my family and the victim’s family. In fact, as we speak efforts are being made to see if Mr Nico LaHood will come talk to me and see the man I am today. We want Mr. Nico LaHood to see that my sentence is too extensive and we pray that he can put his emotions to the side about his brother and do the JUST thing towards my case. He won’t regret it, and it will also be the BIGGEST testament to REDEMPTION that he’s ever known. Which is why I call my new campaign RISE, because Redemption IS Essential. At some point I will ask you, the people of the public, to stand behind me in my request to Mr Nico LaHood for a second chance at life.
For now, I share this, but more is to come. This is to share the efforts that I am putting forth in my own private life to better myself, teach myself how to give back when I get out and to set examples while I am here. It’s been 20 years and I’ve served my time. And I want the world to see it. I will have more news to come on our efforts to file this motion and talk to Mr. Nico LaHood. I hope you will stand with us.