Marcellus Walker, 27, surprised the hell out of me when he handed me this letter on Monday, March 23rd.
As the packed room of 20 men rested at the end of the Richmond City Justice Center (Richmond City Jail) yoga class, I realized I wanted to know more about this young man who looks like a track and field star, and whose quiet nature has an element of somberness that often suggests internal struggle.
"Thank you -- this is a powerful statement," I told him. "If you'd like to share this, so that someone else who can relate to your situation might see it, and be prompted to explore the benefits of yoga, then I can put it on the internet." Marcelius brightened, looked directly into my eyes, and said, "I want you to, that's why I signed it."
I told him the statement is excellent -- except that it offers no clue of his circumstances or where he learned yoga, and that he might consider giving it some context. The following class, Monday, March 26, he gave me another letter and said, "This goes before the other one."
My heart goes out to Marcelius. He has four months until release, and I hope to hell he will stay on this track of daily self-examination. Richmond City Yoga will be there for him, and Billy Scruggs has created a resource-list for former inmates that will also be helpful -- asanctuarysite.com
And so will the Sanctuary itself be helpful -- a space run by VCU's Liz Canfield dedicated to helping inmates find jobs, explore educational opportunities, make art and enjoy sober socializing.
If you would like to write to Marcelius Walker to encourage his continuing yoga studies and practice, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org