This year, 2022, has been a year for me to pursue freelance journalism. My article, ”‘It’s a Money Grab’: Billions in COVID Relief Going to Fund Police and Prisons,” my first time writing for the worker-led publication The Appeal, was circulated widely on Twitter. It was retweeted by actress Alyssa Milano, tennis star Martina Navratilova, and author Alex Vitale. The article got me interviews on KPFA in Berkeley and with Black commentator Roland Martin.
I am no longer working as managing editor at Prison Legal News. I learned many skills while there that significantly improved my journalism. Since leaving, I’ve published eight articles in eight months while freelancing.
I’m proud of my recent work of building relationships with women in prison and formerly incarcerated women. I published an article for Truthout about some 200 women who won a lawsuit against the Orange Crush, the notorious “tactical team” that in 2011 conducted a mass strip search at Lincoln women’s prison as a training exercise. I was also interim editor of the Summer 2022 issue of Stateville Speaks which includes artwork and writings by several women, including Erika Ray, Janet Jackson, and Lauren Stumblingbear aka “Bear,” my friend who sadly passed away in June.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve taken a position as a high school English teacher at Academy High in Champaign, a five-year-old private school with around 60 students. After a hiatus from teaching, I’m eager to return to the classroom to share with young people my love for writing and literature. It’s a twist on the common saying — those who can, teach!
I celebrated my 50th birthday this July and am looking forward to a new decade of adventures. I bought a plane ticket to Colombia, a gift to myself! Here’s a couple of photos — with my longtime friends Patrick and Aseneth, who I visited; and a picture of a waterfall!