One of my mentors shared with me what a speaker said about their spiritual life: “Wherever you find God, bookmark it, and go there often.”
A place I’ve felt that presence strongly is when I do my work for the re-entry legal clinic in Watts. A large part of it is knowing that I am being used exactly as I was intended to be. You see, part of expunging someone’s criminal record involves writing a Declaration to be submitted to the court, which is totally in my wheelhouse having done this type of writing for almost three decades. In that Declaration, the petitioner pleads their case for how they’ve turned their life around and why they should be granted a second chance. Basically a redemption story. The same story I’ve heard X amount of times from countless people three times a week for over 28 years…My story. So when these people walk into the clinic carrying the shame of their past, I am able to talk to them like they’re human beings – because I know them (most of them had alcohol and drug issues). Slowly their story comes out – what it was like, what happened (turning point), and what it’s like now. And when I flip around the laptop to have them review the Declaration I’ve written based on what they’ve told me, the look in their eyes is indescribable. Many of them are seeing their stories for the first time and were unaware of the miracles that they are. This is where I’ve placed one of my bookmarks.
Anyway, photos of the Watts Labor Community Action Center. It’s a beautiful space that provides resources to the community and pays homage to some great figures.