“This is my first Christmas home since 1998. I am ecstatic. I was released from prison on October 16th of this year after being incarcerated at the Coleman United States Penitentiary in Daytona, Florida for ten years. I was locked up for manufacturing, distributing and possessing with intent to distribute drugs. They caught us with three kilos of coke, five pounds of weed and six guns. I never meant to get in so serious. I was just caught up with all of the money. We talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is hard to walk away from. I mean, I was just a simple kid from D.C. when all of this went down. I don’t think that all people who are incarcerated are bad people, I just think they made bad choices like I did.
"I thank God that I am no longer on the other side of the fence. First thing that I did when I got out of prison was say, ‘Thank you God.’ After that, I went to Target and applied for a stock job. The lady said, ‘You need to apply online'. I’m like, 'I am the only one in the line right now. What are you talking about?' She said, ‘No, you need to apply online, not get on line to apply.’ I was computer illiterate so I had no idea what she was talking about.
"I came back to D.C. because this is the only place that I am familiar with. Being away for so long, D.C. seems brand new to me. I feel like a stranger in my own community. People have moved out or died who I was affiliated with. I feel like I am in a new town or something. I am just trying to make the adjustments - the mental and social adjustments - that are necessary for me to survive and remain law abiding. That is my first goal, to not break the law anymore and to be successful and productive.
"Now, I feel the love of Christmas all around me. People are very warm around this time of the year. Even if I don’t have any family here, I now get a chance to make a family with new people I meet here. On my first Christmas back, I am just going to eat a lot of turkey and ham. I will still be among strangers at dinner, but at least I will be free. In prison, for Christmas we got a stocking with a writing pad, some candy canes and peanuts. That’s what they give you each year. I thank God for the liberties that I didn’t have before. This is a very special Christmas for me."