I was tentative when I started this project, not sure where it would lead and not sure I was up to the task. I’m still not sure I am. I knew finding people to write about wouldn’t be a problem, but I didn’t anticipate just how invested I would feel in their lives.
I am working on someone else’s story, but got a note from Travion today. I had written to him, letting him know of my interest in his case, and the post I wrote about him. It’s funny, but when I was originally trying to contact him, I had a little trouble finding his location. The system has him listed as “Travon.” He has been incarcerated for years, and they don’t have his name right. It seems like such a little thing, really, but it’s not. It’s his name. It is what his mother gave him. If his only contact with the outside world for most of his life is through this system, can’t we at least give him the courtesy of getting his name right? It’s Travion.
Travion changed things up for me today. Until now he was a story and information on paper. His story originally spurred me to action, but it was paper all the same. This morning when I read his note, he became more than paper. He is a person. He’s about the age of one of my sons. From that grey cinderblock home of his, he wrote the words, “hope all is well.” He said some other things, and closed with, “thank you for reaching out.”
The one paragraph letter I found in my mailbox this morning confirmed that I am doing the right thing. It made me know, without a doubt, that succeed or fail, wherever the path leads, I can’t get off it. I am not giving up on Travion. I will be copying and pasting his story to anybody I can think of, and I will keep on doing it until this wrong is made right. It doesn’t just have to be me though. I welcome anyone who wants to join me on this path.
I am not anti-government. I just want to make us better. We are better. This system has got to change.