San Quentin with James FOX

This trip out to San Quentin was very emotional, especially with the count down for the tour quickly approaching.  From the overwhelming joy and gratitude while working in San Quentin State Penitentiary to the heartbreaking voicemail's of panic stuck family in Ohio. The highs and lows were a endless but the outcome was all that I could ever hope for. 

A few days prior to taking flight for my journey to San Fransisco & San Quentin my mother was rushed to the hospital. No one could figure out the cause as her ability to speak diminished and her legs beneath her collapsed. My mother showed signs of a stroke which she battled 6 years ago, thankfully making a full recovery. So what now? Even under the care of 6 specialist no one was initially able to find the cause.  Doctors eventually found an infection in her shoulder which caused her muscles to decade, spreading into her carotid artery, breast tissue, blood, collar bone and first rib. The infection was taken care of by surgery, 6-8+ week of antibiotics by injection and blood transfusions. 

My visit to San Quentin with James Fox and The Yoga Prison Project was one of the best and most humbling experiences of my life. The men were beyond thankful and kind. Their hopes and dreams for the future was beyond inspiring and their stories unique and beautiful. 

Rahsaan Thomas, prison number T99595 was in our Thursday afternoon yoga class. After class he came up to speak about the Breaking Cycles project and asked if he could feature it in the San Quentin News.  Rahsaan grew up in New York City, but since his 15 to life sentence, writes from a cell in California. Rahsaan is the sports editor and staff writer of the San Quentin News, co-author of Uncaged Stories and co-founder of Prison Renaissance. His work has been published in The Marshall Project, Missouri Review’s Literature on Lockdown, Life of the Law, The Beat Within, & Brothers in Pen’s 2014 & 2015 anthologies.

How conditioning and ones upbringing, can affect ones entire life and how love, hope and non-attachment can create the space for an individual to have the opportunity to become the person they were born to be. 

I was sad to leave but excited to know that I will be back in the late fall to see them again during the Breaking Cycles Journey.

Me meeting with James Fox for the first time

Me meeting with James Fox for the first time

Brittany Doherty