Blog
November 8, 2017

Poems from Men Inside

As part of our Resolve to Stop the Violence Project’s “Restorative Justice Circle Keeper Training,” Dr. Jo Bauen conducted poetry writing workshops for the men in pod 7B at San Francisco’s County Jail #5 (San Bruno). Below is a sampling of what they wrote:

Shhh, don’t speak on me,
Weak points are strengths, some don’t see,
My strife makes me, me.
-Medina

Self-motivation
Can be transfiguration–
Determination.
-Rob Pelesauma

Journey to freedom
I want to know how it feels
To be free again.
-Eli Thompson

My life’s salvation
Is through knowledge of self,
And now I am saved.
-Dedrick Daniels

Consideration
Results in condensation
For conversation.
-Curtis

I am the new guy
But I am willing to try.
If not I will die!
-Wellbaum

Love is a feeling.
Pain is love and love is pain.
Who am I to blame?
For playin’ this crucial game
She is my love bug.
-Travis Jones

Lazy in Mind
Has led to catching more time.
Change my mind or die.
Second chance is now.
I need to learn why and how
Thank you Father God.
-Wellbaum

My spiritual path
Goes from the Cross to Crescent
And is now Present.
In everyday life
Our beliefs often challenged
We’re on the defense.
It’s truly my own,
I’ve simply chosen: my path,
Meaning no offense.
Choose one for yourself,
And I trust you too will find
Your own peace of mind.
-Elliott Wright

My Felicity
Has the ability
Of ending Enemies
-Rob Pelesauma

Love is sharing space.
This work is so magical.
I love sharing space.
-Eli Thompson

I am wonderful.
Certainly a man of God.
I am truly blessed.
-Harold Hollis

My heart is so empty tell me what am I to feel
This pain is unbearable it becomes too hard for me to deal with
Locked in this cage isn’t where I ought to be isn’t where I’m supposed to be isn’t where I’m gonna be
I refuse to be a jailbird I refuse to wear that label
I refuse to be a statistic
I will no longer be simplistic
I will be achieve every challenge that has ever been set before me or die trying
I will prevail
They place me on a scale from 1-10 and I say I’ma 10
I strive to win
Lord please forgive me for what I have sinned
And if I should die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take.
-Harold Hollis

Have you ever heard
Two million caged birds singing?
They are here right now.
-Jo Bauen

My Savior

When you were born you caused my voice to hush
I held you and thought I couldn’t love anyone so much.
They told me you may hurt from the feel of my touch.
You were born opiate dependent, man that’s such
An injustice.

Brought on by your mom and your dad
Who couldn’t think enough to just drop the bag
To prevent the anguish that I know you had.
Seeing you tremble in the nursery always made me sad.

So I’d flee
To any temporary haven I could find
Just to pull out my drugs and escape my mind.
Cuz I felt like I failed for the hundredth time.
And consciously I knew you wouldn’t be mine
But my mothers’.

And that’s what I used to justify my deeds
As I continued to run in your time of need
Abandoning my first and only seed
All these feelings inside led me to proceed.

To inject
Massive doses of suicide
Self-sabotage angrily masking my feelings, I’d hide
Until a day came and right and wrong ceased to collide
Then I got up and walked out and put all my bullshit aside
I gained clarity.

And as my heart raced I know I must self-sacrifice
So you won’t grow up like me with no father in your life
I’ll be there to teach you to endure any strife
And I’ll stand by proud as you choose a lady as a wife
That’s success.

Knowing I broke away from what had me enslaved
Knowing you’ll be okay from the lessons I gave
And on the day that I’m buried I’ll be at peace in my grave
My last words will be etched up under my name
You’re my savior.
-Daniel Medina

Every night she took the slaves away with sleeping spells
She still knew her faith-
We had a king with a dream that every one & everything would all be the same once we stood together
Now everybody went astray
How can we push Black Lives Matter
When we can do the same thing to each other as other people doing to us
So lets show our babies a change
Brothas of cola we are all the same.
-Bannz

Always left out so I feel no pain, my soul cries out for comfort but still no gain
Lost in this thing called life will I ever find my way
Through darkness looking for a flame
-Bannz

What you do off the court will affect what you do on the court
Who are you when no one is looking
I’m me can you say the same
-Bannz

November 8, 2017

Parenting Classes Every Thursday

Hosted by our One Family program and led by facilitator Khaledah Wright, we are pleased to share news of our weekly parenting classes for justice-involved parents. More information can be found on the flyer below:

July 20, 2017

Welcome Home Project Update

On the evening of Friday, June 9th, Community Works West hosted an opening night reception for The Welcome Home Project, a collection of stories and photographs of formerly incarcerated Alameda County residents who turned their lives around after years in prisons and jails. 

June 24, 2017

This Has Never Been Done Before in Jail

I work for Community Works West in California State Prisons and County Jails, training inmates and parolees in Restorative Justice (RJ) Circle Keeping methods. The people I work with become experts at something I believe they, due to their life experiences, uniquely master. Here is one story.

April 10, 2017

CWYTE Presents: “Swallowing the Moon”

Based on the experiences of three members of the Community Works Youth Theater Ensemble, “Swallowing the Moon” is a brave, bold look at the effects of trauma on two children of incarcerated parents. More than that, it is a story about connection in the face of adversity, and how, for some, art can actually be the only way out of the pain.

7:30pm

Tuesday, April 18 / Wednesday, April 19

PianoFight, 144 Taylor Street, San Francisco

$8 online / $10 at the door

March 29, 2017

Restorative Justice: The World I Want

Community Works’s Jo Bauen writes for the Stanford Social Innovation Review about a group of inmates benefitting from a practice that’s badly needed both within and beyond prison walls.

March 27, 2017

The Welcome Home Project Opening Night Reception

The Welcome Home Project is a collection of stories and photographs of formerly incarcerated Alameda County residents who turned their lives around after years in prisons and jails. Their stories are testimony to the power of resilience and determination in the face of the barriers that most formerly incarcerated individuals face.

Opening Night Reception:

Friday, June 9, 5:30-7:30 PM

John O’Lague Galleria In Hayward City Hall

777 B Street, Hayward CA

TAGS: reentry
February 14, 2017

Project WHAT! Scholarship Fundraiser!

Project WHAT!, raises awareness about the effects of parental incarceration on children, with the long-term goal of improving services and policies that affect these children. Once a year we hold a fundraiser to raise money for our high school seniors who are transitioning into college. Read about past scholarship recipients here.

November 2, 2016

Community Works is HIRING

Are you interested in providing services to youth, families, and communities impacted by incarceration?

 

Community Works is now hiring in the following role:

Coordinator (Case Manager) for the RCC program

We strongly encourage formerly incarcerated individuals, children of incarcerated parents, and those intimately affected by the criminal justice system to apply.

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