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Updated: May 25, 2019

By Damon Gbuduala Azali-Rojas

How do you identify? How do others perceive your identity?

These are the questions we ask in the circle process on March 13 as we begin our second weekend of Coaching for Healing and Non-Violence inside California State Prison—Los Angeles County at Lancaster (CSP-LAC). I begin the circle with my own offering.

How do you identify?

How do others perceive your identity?

We continue around the circle and here are some excerpts from what the men share:

Of the 26 men in the program 16 are Black, 2 Latino, 1 Indigenous, 3 white, and 4 API and still everything comes down to the deep desire to connect with human beings in a pure and authentic way. These needs are crystal clear. Every single person in the circle—every single person—talks about how they ended up in prison because they wanted to feel accepted. Each time we come in for a training, we experience the gift of supporting the men’s development as coaches. The process inherently lives in place of acceptance, non-judgment and seeing the essence of our clients. The essence of these men is that they love, they have dreams, and like all of us, like me, they want to be seen deeply and accepted for who they are.

I can share so much more but I will leave you with letters from our participants. They explain, in their words, the impact of all of us coming together.

Our third weekend will be May 12-13. We will share the next phase of this journey with you then.


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