What community support means to the incarcerated

bridgingthegapA biweekly column in which various contributors from both sides of prison walls explore common ground for effecting change.

I’m a special event organizer for the youth with the Bridge Partnership, and I’ve been incarcerated for the past 13 years. I would love to share my views on why I feel bridging the gap between the prisons and our community is so important to me.

I feel staying connected with our community is something that is so vital and needed. Knowing we have a great community that believes in us or wants us to come home really gives us brothers something to look forward to.

Talking from my own experience, feeling that love from the community leaders and the whole staff at Voices for Racial Justice made me feel like someone believed in me, someone wanted to see me succeed in life. Just me having that changed my whole outlook on life. Having my community behind me made me understand I’m here to give back. I’m here to help save some lost souls.

That’s what bridging the gap is about to me. The work we do from the inside comes from the support of our community.

I want to show other brothers in here that we have a community out there waiting on us with open arms, and just because a lot of our powerful, intelligent men are incarcerated, doesn’t mean we can’t be great men. I will never let me being incarcerated stop me from giving back or being a part of my community.

I would like to take this time to thank all the community leaders, members, and organizations for staying involved with us men in the Bridge Partnership. It’s very powerful to have that connection — the more the better.

Prison will never dictate what I can do or define who I am as a great king. My struggle is my community’s struggle. I leave as I come — in peace.

Thank you for reading my views.


Deon Miller is a participant in Voices for Racial Justice’s “Bridging the Gap” partnership. Reader responses are welcome to info@voicesforracialjustice.org. To learn more about the organization’s work, visit www.voicesforracialjustice.org.