Without question, The Last Mile demo day at San Quentin was one of the most exciting days of my life. In the 9 months prior to demo day, Tulio, JC, David, Phil, James, and I spent countless hours utilizing all the tools that Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti had given us. I felt very confident that we were prepared to execute our tasks with precision.
That morning as I walked to the Chapel, I thought about what demo day really meant to me. Yes, the 6 of us were going to give our presentations to a room full of distinguished guests, but what really resonated with me was the idea that not only were we representing ourselves, but also all of the other men and women in the California prison system. Our success would be their success. And our opportunity, could potentially translate into opportunities for many others here at San Quentin and beyond.
The Last Mile demo day was way bigger than any of us who presented. I felt humbled, and at the same time honored, to contribute to such an amazing program. When it was my turn to present, I felt a deep sense of responsibility to deliver something that not only demonstrated the redeemable qualities of people in prison, but also something that we all could be proud of. I believe I accomplished my mission. Like our outside guests, many of the men in here didn’t know what to expect from us on demo day. They hadn’t seen or heard our pitches and had no clue as to the extent of what our work entailed. I think it’s fair to say that all who attended were very pleasantly surprised by what they experienced. It truly was an historic event.
Since then, it seems like every time I turn around someone is complimenting the work we’ve done and asking questions about the program. I’m definitely encouraged by all of the positive feedback I’ve been getting and I use it as motivation because the truth is, we’re just getting started! We’ve got lots of work to do and I’m committed to doing everything I can to make sure others at San Quentin receive what The Last Mile has to offer.
All communications between inmates and external channels are facilitated by approved volunteers since inmates do not have access to the internet. This program with Quora is part of The Last Mile San Quentin. @thelastmilesq