Yesterday, Melissa, the founder of Adopt an Inmate, asked me the most important question we can ask each other right now: “You okay, love?” When I responded, I returned the question to her: “You okay, love?”
Her response is wise and graceful and brave, and I’ve asked her permission to share it.
"I'm feeling exactly the same - absolutely shocked and appalled Tuesday night. Gut wrenching. And strangely empowered.
"As unprepared as I was for that outcome - my brother and I have agreed about the mission of AI (Adopt an Inmate). We know that in truth, our power is limited. That even though institutional changes may occur eventually, the most effective thing we can do, right now, is help people. Individual people. One on one.
"Wednesday morning I was still in shock, compounded by the fact that I was (so far) unsuccessful in getting a detainer lifted for an inmate who was supposed to be released that day - but would instead be transported back to county jail from prison because of a technicality. When I expressed how powerless I felt - a dear friend responded - let's talk about power. If the goal was getting him released today, then yes, you couldn't do that. But if the goal was letting him know that someone thousands of miles away cares about him enough to try ... he knows that now, and he's changed by that.
"Our votes and all our activism might not be enough to change a broken system in our lifetime. But we DO have the power to change people's lives individually.
"I DID manage to get that inmate released yesterday - and he has committed to give back to AI as an adopter and a donor.
"Individually, I can't change the outcome of an election. But I can help people help each other. And eventually, that will change the world."