As a prisoners’ rights advocate I get tired. Some days, the projects I work on seem so large and unwieldy. They just seem too troublesome or cumbersome to get off the ground. And worst of all, it becomes harder and harder to convince others — those who will benefit from the movements I work on — that the movements are actually in their best interest. Suffice it to say, I get tired and worn down. At times I suffer from the type of burnout that even Red Bull and a pack of Marlboros won’t cure (since my prison’s commissary sells neither, imagine the state that I’m regularly in!).
When I feel like this it can be easy to take a day off. Heck, a few days off. But when I do, I feel bad about being lazy and unproductive. I take a look around after sleeping in and realize that the extra time in the rack was a failure, not only a failure to my morning, but a failure to those around me who are in need. I realize that as a prisoners’ rights advocate — one who certainly agitates for reform — my life and my time are more than just mine. They are a collective property. And as a collective property, personal whims or feelings (like fatigue or boredom) shouldn’t even enter the equation when scheduling my day and week. Thus, I push myself to get back to the grindstone. But sometimes the grindstone grinds not the sword, but my very being.
- Update about Petition to free Lynn Stewart: Save Her Life,Release Her (lockupreform.com)
- New Writing from Shaka Shakur, Indiana Prisoner (lockupreform.com)