So now we can get off the row, but the death sentence remains? The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has taken the first steps in removing the death row population from San Quentin State Prison. At this time, the Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program (CITPP) is asking death row inmates to voluntarily transfer out of San Quentin.

Once a prisoner is put into the CITPP, he can’t opt out. Soon, the CITPP will end and transfers will become mandatory. The death chamber will stay at San Quentin as prisoners leave death row.

Women on death row at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) will be able to relocate to various units within that prison. One way the state plans to save money is by double caging transferred death row prisoners, who are currently single celled. There are seven prisons designated for the people on San Quentin’s death row:

  • California Correctional Institutions
  • California Medical Facility
  • California State Prison–Corcoran
  • Centinela State Prison
  • Kern Valley State Prison
  • Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
  • Salinas Valley State Prison

It’s true, death row prisoners have been segregated and isolated for far too long. This is change, but is it progress? I’m wrongfully convicted, I’ll just keep pushing forward, and create progress.

This move produces slave labor for the Prison Industrial Complex. The inmates will not be recognized for their work, “Participants are ineligible to receive credits, including, but not limited to Good Conduct Credit, Milestone Completion Credit, Rehabilitative Achievement Credit, Educational Merit Credit, and Extraordinary Conduct Credit.”

Work until death or, “as many hours of faithful labor each day as he or she is so held.” This is designed to exploit an untapped free labor market.

Restitution is set at 77% solely for death prisoners. That’s 77 cents seized of the dollar, “CITPP institutions are to ensure appropriate withdrawals for restitutions are made from participants’ trust accounts as applicable.” The maximum restitution for the rest of the prison population is 55%. Doing the math, a 46% overpriced prison item costs my friends and family a $200 sacrifice—who can afford this?

Californians chose Proposition 66 (a flawed measure to speed up executions, cut appellate funding, limit new evidence and raise restitution) over Proposition 62 (a measure to abolish capital punishment in California) on Nov. 8, 2016. This allows death row prisoners at San Quentin to be housed at other prisons within the state. Your vote matters—this is the aftermath of people being on the wrong side of history.

If the death penalty is overturned, many death row prisoners will already be in the prison general population. Wrongfully convicted, along this twisted journey, I’m struggling to be the next exonerated. I believe that’s the good news in the middle of this chaos.

Although a prison is just a prison, I can’t justify staying on death row when given the opportunity to leave. I’m presently being chained, in addition to a hands-on escorting guard during all movements outside of the cell. I’ll transfer if it keeps the daily chains off my body, I’ve already removed the chains from my mind. And I’ll still be behind walls and razor wire.

Don’t be deceived, death is definitely different than any other sentence. After all the work and restitution is drained from our bodies, we return to San Quentin for execution.

(Editor’s note: On March 12, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on capital punishment, granting a temporary reprieve for the 737 inmates on the state’s death row. The last execution in California was in 2006. However, this moratorium doesn’t mean the death penalty is abolished.

The moratorium does three things: grants reprieves to the inmates currently on death row (they will still be under a death sentence but not at risk of execution); closes the execution chamber at San Quentin prison and withdraws the state’s lethal injection protocol, the formally approved procedure for carrying out executions.)

City Lights
Mixed media on watercolor paper

K.C.

May 19, 2018

Kevin Cooper is a friend to all

Very strange how we crossed paths

to be in the same space and time

Ninth KirKuit Kourt

oppressors in crime

You truly are a beast

apparently you’ll never cease

You want to take another one of mine

No more 12/13/05′ s

The day they tortured Tookie away

Plays oozing out of the Willie Lynch tool kit

Anything to make a square peg and circle fit

My friend is an endangered species

Such a caring person, treated like feces

by the American injustice system

Give this man his due time

on this earth

Release him for his rebirth

i must take a stand

for this erroneously convicted gentleman

His fight is our plight

Interconnected, we must set him free

K.C. ascends the defecation

When you destroy him, you destroy me

Imperialist prison industrial complex

what else is on your demoralized agenda….

Am I next?

Tick tock, tick tock

smash that clock

You’re not executing this innocent man

not on my watch

No more strange fruit

Wrong on the throne

Dirty tricks and politics

is making me sick

What thrill do they receive

when they kill?

K.C. is innocent on death–row

That’s what their own facts show

so I know they know

These scales are iniquitously unbalanced

Stolen youth, put through hell

astonishingly Kevin Cooper

remains strong, mind, body and soul

He inspires me

No more shackles and concrete

Have you heard how eloquently he speaks

of the prolonged oppression he must defeat?

We must fight for brother Kevin Cooper

as he would struggle for us

If we don’t battle for this innocent man

we’re a part of this farce and sham.

…Or maybe we look to Kim Kardashian

Fall Guy

June 29, 2017

What would it take
to heal and not kill?
Maybe I could
formulate a pill

I'd make it 
real,
Donald Trump and imperialism
would have no zeal

Cease attacks in the Middle East

Put an end to this
horrid beast
Fallen soldiers, rest in peace

There'll be no more combat
Dress the wounds
Inflictions pierce
mind and body

McDonaldization
controls the nation
Super-sized 
inequality feeds me

The great debate
All-time greatest orator
Speak your mind
First Amendment right

Who rolls the dice
for the undercaste,
the lowest 
of the lower class?

Snake eyes!
What a surprise!
Would you like an order
of the bean pies?

I can only imagine
your staunch reply
as we look above
to our resentful sky

Don't worry...
I'll be the Fall Guy.



     

Time on Death Row

March 31, 2017

Incarcerated for the past twenty years, stacked on a dusty shelf, and still I shine. Over a decade caged in death row’s double dungeon, San Quentin State Prison. As I compose my barbed wire reflections I can feel cold years dripping down my dark brown face. I’m 48 years old going on eternity. Drinking deep thoughts from a single-person prison cell surrounded by seconds, I notice the hollowed faces of fellow inmates passing by. Can you wrap your life around that? My unconquerable dreams infuse me with hope.

Embers of a former life. On the other side of these dirty green walls I had a beautiful life before death row. Experiencing the births of my two daughters was the essence of life for me. I watched them grow from infants into gorgeous independent young ladies. My only real family. I did everything possible for them. They don’t need me now, yet I’m motivated by their spirit of resilience– I need them.

I worked my entire life. Preteen newspaper routes. I was picking flower bulbs in the summer fields of Washington State at just eleven years of age. I worked as a courtesy clerk for a grocery store while in high school and added summer jobs to that. One summer I was employed as a life guard. I’ve always been fascinated with bodies of water. Retaining the memories of walking on warm, salty beaches, fishing in cool indigo lakes and swimming in cloudy irrigation canals, a living dream.

As an adolescent, no matter how well I did, I was still targeted by police. Instruments to enslave. Stalked and frisked for walking or driving while black. And I believed I was free. Nothing prevented me from being snatched from society and smeared with a wrongful conviction. In your silence was the sentence.

Directly out of high school I matriculated for higher learning. Looking back on my daily grind at a computer factory in Southern California, my job was relatively easy. I filled orders by weighing various computer components to a requested number. After I bagged, labeled and boxed the separate components, one order was complete. For a time I delivered material to tire builders at a large international tire plant. My most enjoyable occupation was auto body and paint. Staying productive, that’s what keeps me focused.

Effects of the 08 November 2016 elections are lingering, embedded within me. Nationally the U.S.A. selected Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, exposing core values and true beliefs of half the country. Before my stomach could settle I was greeted with the passage of Proposition 66, which speeds up the executions in California. I ardently advocated for Proposition 62, which would have abolished capital punishment while converting all death sentences to Life Without the Possibility of Parole- it failed.

Fortunately the California Supreme Court stayed Prop 62 on 22 December 2016. The court is currently weighing the constitutionality of Prop 66 based upon the challenges presented by the ACLU and the John Kamp/Ron Briggs petitions.

I struggled to abolish capital punishment in California via the ballot box in 2012 and 2016. As a protector of human life I simply do not want any executions on my clock. I’m striving to save lives. The people of California voted for death. Ironically, the ‘Campaign to End the Death Penalty’ urged their audience to vote no on Prop 62, the measure to End the Death Penalty. Followers without understanding. Sadly, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper coupled with the Socialist Viewpoint Publication asked their subscribers to use their votes to keep the death penalty intact. Nothing revolutionary about that. A Trump presidency left me even more disillusioned.

Surviving through lock downs, medical quarantines, and solitary confinement, I decided to make music with my tears. I voraciously read, study and write at this time. I exercise daily and explore art. In my minds eye I envision creating family consisting of friends. I venture beyond these walls with your eyes and ears. Always open to the free flow of communication. In discovering what you feel and see, I find life. Fresh energy. Connecting with the world inspires me to stretch for more.

With my associates in arts and paralegal degrees I help litigate in the California Supreme Court for exoneration. Working on my freedom. Innocence trapped within the Jim Crow prison industrial complex. Sometimes the system gets it wrong, my situation is not unique.

Time on death row can change coal into diamonds or dust. Unchain the mind. In my walk I chose to become a protector of human rights. I’m one with the earth, water and human life protectors. While I’m not able to physically be there with you now, I find ways to sacrifice, resist and struggle. I exist with you. Writing to you on Women’s Day, sitting on a short bucket, hunched over a rusty bunk, I understand a day without women is a day without breath. Overcoming all forms of oppression is my end goal. Allied minds, partners in protecting, come talk with me.

In solidarity,

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974

Invisible Society

February 4, 2017

Under no circumstances did I care about prisoners on death row, until I was forced to pay a visit. Life is constantly upside down. An invisible society beneath the ‘WARNING NO WARNING SHOT‘ gun towers. we are marginalized behind torturous walls, desperately resisting, refusing to fall.

San Quentin is a dilapidated death camp overlooking the Bay. Ancient granite-rock, diseased high-risers touch the sky, while those of us whom reside within these walls pet a thumb-sized glimpse of the expanse above. Five rusty tiers are stacked high with animal cages on both sides of this distorted gulag. Sixty kennels are set in place on each concrete tier, trapping 750 faceless captives. Unnoticed by most, single—person solitary confinement enclosures trap us for 23 hours per day.

Recycled human waste, more sewage than water is provided exclusively to us, for our nourishment and cleansing. In contrast, prison staff only access Mountain-Fresh bottled water, avoiding the streams of tainted bacteria that decimates the human body. Within each cell, a shiny grey toilet flushes no more than twice an hour. Next to it, a matching mini sink which is attached to a faded two-tone crumbling beige wall. Large chips of lead paint splitting off like dry leaves in autumn dust the floors, along side of the thin slab of corroded metal called a sleeping bunk.

This grimy gulag called San Quentin is as much a mental institution as it is a prison. Loud, delusional conversations blast over five tiers allowing the insane asylum to dominate. This weighs heavy on my mind as I struggle to think. Grossly incompetent medical staff coupled with overpaid, abusive guards bring nothing positive to this grueling and debilitating atmosphere. Trivial announcements explode from loud speakers strategically placed for maximum sensory deprivation, inside the dingy walls of purgatory. The only temporary escape from the ever-sounding madness are tiny earplugs, bringing back a false sense of silent peace.

Living, dying, and existing while breathing this tainted air along with the rest…. I can definitely see death row detainees as regular people for the very first time. Human, we are all human; the good, the bad and the dysfunctional. Society’s trash is a microcosm of itself. This poverty stricken, under-educated, under-caste portion of our society needs a protector against the oppressive powers that be. There are no rich people caged on death row. Donald Trump doesn’t exist here. Suicides outpace executions. Natural causes are the leading reasons assigned to deaths assigned to deaths. What is natural about waiting to die like frightened cows being led to the slaughter house?

I would rather give my life, before allowing another human being to he executed on my watch. My essence, something embedded in me is speaking truth to a corrupt power. I’m an activist for the oppressed peoples’ of the earth, despite being of the oppressed class. As Colin Kaepernik kneels For equality, what are you kneeling for or against? My life is dedicated to this struggle. How can you truly care about something you don’t really see? You might be locked in the gulag of corruption in high places and xenophobia. Maybe you‘re caught inside the forgotten prison of the mind, racism, hate, or irrational fear. How many of you dwell within the prison of poverty? Living check to check or unemployment, maybe even homelessness? Some good people fall into the dungeon of class and caste. There are so many poisonous prisons to be snared in. which one houses you?

When the world starts caring about prisoners the invisible society will be seen. Keep in mind that when Black Lives Matter, all lives matter. Speaking from the inside-out, I know better so I must do better. whatever your toxic prison, you are not invisible. I see you very clearly. Now, if you could just visualize me…

I appreciate your time and thoughts. I would enjoy hearing from you in this new year. Connect with me directly via the lost art of writing. I’ll respond, allowing our friendship to begin. I look forward to engaging in uplifting dialogue with you.

In Solidarity,

Donald Pay Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974

LWOP After Death

September 13, 2016

Yes, I would like to see Prop 62, the Justice that Works Act, passed this 08 November 2016. Prop 62 will eradicate capital punishment in California. All death sentences will be converted to Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP). The appeals process will remain an option to challenge wrongful convictions. This is our last chance to abolish capital punishment in California at the ballot box.

There are innocent people languishing in California’s golden gulag- actually innocent, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, victims of a dysfunctional system. “The state of California may be about to execute an innocent man,” wrote Judge William A. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Fletcher might have been describing my situation, but in this case he was speaking of Kevin Cooper. LWOP will halt the next execution of an innocent person. Capital punishment is perfectly final yet fatally flawed.

In November of 2012 a Yes vote on Prop 34, the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement Act, would have abolished capital punishment in California permanently. Prop 34 failed by a narrow 52%-48% split. We missed that opportunity. Lessons were learned; this is our time.

We can’t get the years back, but at least leave us a semblance of life. As an abolitionist I stand against government sponsored executions, strapped in a death chamber or in our streets at the hands of corrupt police. If all lives really do matter let us abolish capital punishment. Imagine a world where the government does not kill it’s people. I also believe other states will follow our lead. This momentous proposition has global ramifications. This is the right step along our human rights struggle.

The people of California voted in the current death penalty, Prop 7, on November 7th, 1978. It’s past time to vote it out. California will be the first state to abolish capital punishment at the ballot box. Vote Yes on Prop 62 if you want to start spending more on educating our youth than on the prison-industrial complex. Yes on 62 if you’re truly pro-life and anti-death. Yes on 62.

Replacing the death penalty with LWOP takes state-sponsored lynching off the table. Prop 62 will preserve human life. Death is final. With life possibilities remain. California has the largest death-row population in the nation, hovering at 750 people. Not much of a life versus no life at all–choose life every time. Once we stop barbaric executions, we can join the struggle to abolish LWOP, sometimes referred to as ‘the other death penalty.’

Included on the ballot will be Prop 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act. This proposition will gut constitutional safeguards while rushing through state-sponsored torturous lynchings. If we allow this killing machine to resuscitate under Prop 66, prepare for the quick human-assembly-line draconian executions of the 750-and-counting death-row prisoners. We are battling to put an end to the mindset that would execute an innocent person. They race towards death while dilatorily walking to life. Conscious California voters will not slip into this insanity of legal lynching. Not this time.

Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in his concurring opinion in Furman v. Georgia, the case that abolished the death penalty in the United States in 1972, “If people were familiar with the truth about the death penalty they would ant to abolish it.”

In this election we will literally be voting for life— Prop 62, the Justice that Works Act, and death– Prop 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act. One of these propositions will surely pass. If both pass, the one with the most votes will become law. We need every vote, your vote. Inspire someone to register and vote who otherwise wouldn’t. Vote for those of us without a voice.

The American Law Institute (ALI) has over 4,000 members consisting of judges, law professors and lawyers- America’s preeminent legal minds. The ALI drafted the model statute for the death penalty 56 years ago to ensure a fair death sentence. Even though their model statute for the death penalty is being practiced today, seven years ago the ALI withdrew their support from the very law they created. Before you finalize your position on capital punishment consider the words of the ALI. The ALI stated that the system they fashioned does not work and cannot be fixed. They all further determined that we cannot devise a death penalty system that will ensure fairness in process or outcome or even that innocent people will not be executed.

We are fighting to abolish capital punishment because it is ethically, socially, and even economically reprehensible. No one has the right to murder, including the government. Our justice system is riddled with mistakes, corruption and racism. No space for mistakes, corruption or racism. It is not humane for the government to murder prisoners on death row. The criminal justice system must be absolutely faultless in all respects of litigation and law prior to state-sponsored lynchings. Nothing concerning humankind has ever been flawless.

The influence of passion and prejudice manipulated by corruption in high places are the main ingredients to ensure an innocent person’s death sentence. I have been held captive at San Quentin, California’s death row for over ten years. Unity in our common cause is essential. I will continue the ardent struggle from the inside out as you protest the abolition of the death penalty from the outside in. We will intersect in success. VOTE YES ON PROP 62 AND NO ON PROP 66.

In Solidarity,

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974

Damn

September 18, 2015

I’ll be sitting in death row

until the day that I die,

because they don’t give a damn

about us

So when you see me cry,

no need

to ask why

They don’t give a damn

about us

Only they know

the reasons why

our young children

are afraid to try

Never given

the instructions to fly

They don’t give a damn

about us

Older and elderly

the world on my shoulders

Lawyers disgust me

begging me to trust them

they’re the cause

of this disease

Getting paid

from this sickness

Open your eyes

and see

They don’t give a damn

about us

We are

just another paycheck

until

they put us to rest

Oh look

at the bright side

the mom, Chevy

and apple pie side

The turn the other cheek

and docile side

Okay then

welcome to

the real side

the rise up out of oppression

with pride side

The I will never give up

and keep fighting side

DAMN!

Uncomfortable Truth

July 20, 2015

When the subject of systemic racism is mentioned, some of my well intentioned Caucasian friends would rather we not have that conversation. Analysis of this established societal pattern apparently gives way to pause, creating feelings of discomfort. Unfortunately, when the truth brings feelings of discomfort, I say “be uncomfortable.” Systemic racism saturates our lives daily.

The Black community continues to repair itself from the cultural, psychological and economic effects of slavery and Jim Crow. Today we have overseer brutality, and mass incarceration, embodied in systemic racism. Change your ways when bitter truth makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t ask truth to tell you a sweeter story. Every system within our society has been infected with racism. With this racism, have come crimes against humanity. These crimes must never be forgotten. The wounds are still open to infection. They have not been allowed to fully heal. When the day arrives and BLACKLIVESMATTER, all lives will truly matter. Selective amnesia is not the cure.

This country was founded, with overseers exterminating innocent Black and Brown lives; all with impunity. They were far too quiet and comfortable, when unarmed Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Emmett Till were assassinated by systemic racism. Quieter still, the powers that be, sat motionless, when systemic racism recently stole the lives of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Walter Scott and Andy Lopez. Some have the audacity to suggest that assassinations, such as those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Andy Lopez are largely exaggerated. In the United States of America, a human life is exterminated by overseers, every 8 hours, yet silence is the action that is taken.

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order”, than to justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

– – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963

Black and Brown citizens are disproportionately fed into the ‘Prison Industrial Complex, as the populace remains mute. To close our eyes to systemic racism, as some do, would be lacking in empathy and in wisdom. Discourse leads to solutions. Silence leads to perpetuation. This malignant cancer, complicit with an abrupt silence, is decimating humanity! There cannot be a cure, without acknowledgment of the truth. In order to correct this White Supremacist mindset, which has attained a position of comfort, we must analyze this historic problem. At what point does global systemic genocide take precedence over the oppressors’ need for comfort?

Those who fail to resist the clouded glare of White privilege have erroneously identified with our oppressors. Some have even become apologist for police terrorism. Their uncomfortable feeling is referred to as cognitive dissonance. This means that they are conscious of the atrocities of systemic racism, but choose to ignore them. Regrettably, they imagine themselves to be color-blind. They do not understand, nor do they suffer from the systemic racism that destroys lives daily. On the contrary, they unknowingly benefit from it, in large proportion. Aware of this oppression, they ask that we stop speaking ill of our oppressors. They are not necessarily the enemy. We consider many to be friends. Therefore, it is imperative that we enlighten, instruct, and hopefully reach their hearts and minds. Directing their paths into the higher self of human evolution is imperative, if we are to see honest unity.

As we ‘Know Thyself’, we must understand our common enemy. White Supremacy is much more than a single person. It is a system that has been ingrained into every single aspect of society. It is the evil psyche and the destructive root from which ‘Manifest Destiny,’ colonialism, and systemic racism has evolved. Misguided Black and Brown people have refused to stand up to this permeating force that dominates society. Traveling the cowardly course of least resistance, they are susceptible to self-hate and to the divide and conquer tactics, employed by our oppressors. This combination of variables has the potential to lead to a fratricide, capable of weakening any chance of forward momentum. We must acknowledge these challenges, as we move forward.

Systemic racism is a global issue that must be conquered. As oppressed people of the earth, we must connect the dots, in order to bind and strengthen our forward journey. We make up the majority of the population, worldwide. In this 21st century, there is a desperate need for major, revolutionary change. The battle is ongoing, and may take many generations to fulfill, but we must begin with steps; steps that will lead to humanity.

Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system. Revolution: a great, far-reaching change. While the chosen method remains undetermined, a definite choice must be made. Without action, there can be no change. We are positioned, standing in the ‘belly of the beast’, and speaking truth to imperialism. These words are written with love for the people, and love for the struggle. Our oppressors’ will have no peace, until our people are free. In 2015, we must think global, while taking revolutionary steps. One Love.

/ / / / / / /

Donald Ray Young is an innocent man, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to San Quentin’s death row, in 2006. Mr. Young is a certified paralegal, with an Associates of Arts degree in Sociology. He is pursuing additional education, including a law degree, which will assist him in seeking exoneration. His memoir will be published this year.

———————————————

DONALD RAY YOUNG

E – 78474 (5 – EB – 106)

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA 94974

Maybe the Natives and African Americans should have drafted a similar “Declaration of Independence” to protect themselves from the Colonists? The original thirteen colonies oppressed Natives and subjugated Africans while writing, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation” from King George III. Let us not forget the Natives, Africans and other people of color were not considered fully human by the creators of “The Declaration of Independence.”

Women along with people of color were not included in, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Living up to this statement has proven to be an arduous task; 238 years later, however, we still are not there yet. All white men are created equal is what Jefferson was clarifying. African Americans were three-fifths human in Jefferson’s perspective. Eloquent words from a slave owner who impregnated much of his female slave property.

Civil wars are erupting around the globe as I dissect “The Declaration of Independence.” America will not have a civil war because the government fully controls the people. So much for, “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object” and “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a government.” Colonists truly believed they suffered absolute tyranny. After proffering “The Declaration of Independence,” Jefferson went home to rape his African property.

This magnificent document should have applied to all peoples. Yes, I criticize the framers of this manuscript for their Eurocentrism and ultra-xenophobia. One day “The Declaration of Independence” will stand up to the “Supreme Judge of the world.” The journey is long… step by step, day by day– we will get there.

I look forward to your contact and communications.

Facebook: Donald Ray Young

Twitter @DonaldRayYoung

Mail:

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA 94974

FREEDOM

April 8, 2014

Soaring through the light blue and white sky. I don’t know what bird of prey this is, maybe a hawk? She looks like an oversized crow with the majestic flight of the eagle. This rapture is strong and confident as she flies over San Quentin State Prison. If I could fly I’d pass right over the prison too– without a pause. This bird has captured the wind and made a vehicle of it. Where is this bird going? Where did she come from? How far has she traveled today? The wing span must be more than four feet. This view would make a wonderful picture or reference photo for a painting. I would love to paint this bird in its glorious glide. This is freedom. This bird knows true freedom, something that has eluded me for the past 17 years and then four years before that. If I could change places with this bird. She’s gone and now all that’s left is the memory of this creature. A few feathers were missing from her right wing which only gave her more character. She seemed so close to me but it’s difficult to measure the exact distance as she slid by me patrolling the sky. Most of society will never get this bird’s view of San Quentin State Prison. I think about this bird more so because I am caged. Do the free one’s think about the caged ones more so because they are free? I don’t think so. When I flew as the bird I rarely thought of the caged. But the memory of this bird gives me hope as I re-play her soaring over me. Maybe one day I will be free as well, or is this my only glimpse of freedom…

I look forward to your contact and communication.

Facebook: Donald Ray Young

Twitter: @DonaldRayYoung

Mail:

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA 94974

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