Thanksgiving is coming up soon. This will be my 16th Thanksgiving in prison. Though I have many thoughts regarding my incarceration and world view of prison, I would like to use my Re:vision platform to express my gratitude.
My life experiences have not always been pleasant, nor has my incarceration. However, through the hard times and the darkness, I truly believe with every difficulty I’ve been given ease. In times of depression, isolation, loneliness, and times where I feel like giving up, there has always been someone or some being to let me know things are going to be okay. I read once, “Even in darkness there’s light, that’s why God created a moon.” I was once homeless and with no family; I’ve been given shelter and care. I was once wandering in mind and spirit; I’ve been blessed with understanding and direction. I was once in need; I’ve been made independent. I’m very thankful for that much needed and timely comfort. I’m very thankful for that moon.
I feel very blessed and privileged to have an outstanding support team. I often feel guilt for being cared for that much. I see men around here with practically no one, or no thing. They depend on state food to sustain their hunger and a friend or two to keep alive a sense of connection. Many times I forget people like that exist, though I pass by many of them every single day, sometimes several times a day, unmindful of their needs, only mine. It’s easy to remember what we don’t have and easy to forget what we actually do.
My guilt can also keep me in an anti-dependent state, against any form of dependency. When I’m in that mode, I can reject compliments, resources, and worse, affection and love. The inner truth is, thank you, yes, my hair does look nice, I appreciate the material help and to my family, friends and close relationships…I love you too.
By Adnan Khan
Adnan Khan is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Re:Store Justice, Adnan works in collaboration with survivors of crime, currently and formerly incarcerated people, district attorneys, CDCR officials and other stakeholders to move towards restorative practices. While incarcerated he Co-Founded the organization Re:Store Justice and worked on the felony murder rule legislation, Senate Bill 1437. The bill passed in August 2018 and on January, 18th 2019, Adnan was the first person re-sentenced under the bill he helped create. In addition, during his incarceration, he created FIRSTWATCH, a media filmmaking project produced entirely by incarcerated men at San Quentin State Prison that still produces short films today. His sentence was also commuted by Governor Jerry Brown in December 2018. He is an Art for Justice Fellow and is on the California Reentry Enrichment Grant steering committee.