Chapter Humboldt Is Happening

Sister That Been There opened the doors to their safe space for individuals reentering into the community after being released from Humboldt County’s Department of corrections, on September 19th Sister That Been There held the first workshop with an attendance of two. The workshop provides a supportive approach, and navigates the needs of individuals on a journey to rehabilitation in the humboldt county area. STBT holds the weekly group at the Salvation Army located at 2123  tydd street in eureka ca and meets on  Tuesday each week at 5pm to educate support individuals through the difficulties that can arise on their journey through reentry. 21868312_10155184055186225_857283979_o

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Sisters In Humboldt County

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SO Humboldt county has Sister That Been There but no services no support and no guidance. I’ve returned to this county where my journey began and have found it necessary to find the founds and feed the lives of this community that find themselves running into the brick walls that are built in the center of this small Fisher mans/loggers community.

The end of a run in these streets are the same here in Humboldt as many big city’s its a old fashion style know to the convict as cold concrete and and cold cuffs binding not only the physical body  but the spiritual body. So wheres the founds? Lets help them break this cycle and rehabilitate, because like many county’s in the state of California this problem is not subsiding but improvement is taking place in the new reentry program flourishing in many county’s such as Santa Clara L.a. county and many more.

Humboldt County was awarded $20 million in state funding 2015 for the purpose of creating a Humboldt Community Corrections Reentry Resource Center on the east side of the jail. The center proposes to add 44 more beds and would provide educational and treatment programs for inmates and probationers to help transition them back into society.  My concern at this time is why this is not a regular topic on the Board of supervisors weekly  agenda. you would think this would be a hot topic in Humboldt after being denied the first grant proposal.

All it takes is one concerned community member to start a movement I hope my voice is the movement that gets this project move to next months agenda. Id love to know the plans that are being implemented to help the rehabilitating individuals in Humboldt County  and how Sisters That Been There can be apart of Humboldt County realignment-reentry movement .

Stay tuned Sisters That Been There is Here In Humboldt County!

Voices Behind The Walls Speak Out To STBT

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As I sat in my jail cell in November of 2010, I read closely an article entitled “The Power of a Letter” from Women’s Day magazine. Although I knew the impact of a letter at that time, I was impressed to see that others on the outside had remembered the powerful art. I had thought it was something that only existed for people affected by incarceration.

Receiving mail is an experience in itself, but to open a letter addressed to you is a gift that no longer gets the recognition it deserves. Letter writing is a lifeline for the incarcerated women I work with. For any human in lock up of any sort, it’s the only way one feels a sense of freedom. That is why any proposal to limit inmates from receiving mail is tremendously harmful – to the inmates, their loved ones, and our collective community.

In the writings you will read here, you will see the true power of the letter. It is life altering, life-saving, therapeutic, a source of mental health support, and much more. You will see that letters are what keeps inmates focused on leading a successful life on the outside, and serve as important reminders that there are people out here ready to support them.

I Have Your Letter Taped to My Wall, Thank You

I woke up at 5 this morning here and found some mail had been slid under my door. Naturally I knew this was some sort of mistake, because I had only been here a short few days. When I opened the card from all the girls at S.T.B.T and read, “Welcome home and we are praying for you” all the days I have spent holding my emotions in and being visibly strong through this entire ordeal came to an instant surface. I cried so hard for the best part of two hours. I am moved by your support and believe you are a gift from God as he knows my heart and who I am. Please thank all the girls for me and I can’t wait to meet all of you. I am so excited at what lies ahead.

I have your letters taped to the wall here in my cell. I reminisce constantly about meeting all of you. I cry every time I read the words in my card “welcome home.” It’s been a long, rough road, but I did it. Thank for making me feel loved, not alone, and home. I love you all.

You Made Me Feel Less Alone

“For my sisters, the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they dont have any.”
–Alice Walker

I like that. Man, you don’t even know just how your letter has made me feel not alone, like someone really does care about me. All I can say is thank you. I’ve been so depressed I don’t know where I went wrong. I never felt so lonely, I never cared how I hurt my family until now, until this moment. I feel so alone. Well, my sisters, I just needed to vent and you were that one. I was the first one to see the article in the Mercury News about Sisters That Been There. Love it. I love you, keep up the positivity.

Need a Letter or Picture As I Start a New Life

I’ll be 33 years old this year. I’m currently doing a 3 year sentence at Elmwood. I’ve been in and out of jail since 2002. I put myself in program, so I can start my life on the right path. I don’t have support from my family and I don’t blame them. But time is so hard without a picture and a letter time to time. I’d like to receive a list of services your support group offers. I look forward to hearing from you.

Please Help, Thinking of Giving Up

I have a long history of drug use and my trauma goes back to the age of 4. I am learning how to change the behavior that get me locked up. I just feel like giving up sometimes. I have 6 months clean and I need all the help I can get. Please help me. I’m 50 years old and I have lost everything. I’m thinking maybe I should just give up.

Please Send Photos, I’ll Be Here for a While

Hi, my friends and I were talking about the new mail rule for inmates. We will only be able to have postcards sent to us. Some of us don’t have any family willing to send us pictures, and our friends brought you up. Is it possible you could please go on our facebook pages and print out some pictures and send them to us? I am 28 years old with two daughters. I will be here for a while and no one writes me. Please help!

A Letter Is Always Timeless For Those Doing Time

There are only a few ways of staying connected to the outside world when you are behind the wall –phones, visits, tv, newspaper, mail and often time lyrics to music. Most people never experience calls, or get visits, so the way we stay connected to the real world is mail at 10pm at night in the women’s side of Elmwood. And for those that don’t get mail, the power is in your cell mates sharing some inspiration. We share photos to uplift our spirits, and read from the folded pages to our podettes. To limit this would be limiting the basic livelihood of inmates period. If us who have been there don’t speak up, no one would ever know the power of a letter – stamped, signed, sealed and delivered to you in a place that feels so far from the real world, but yet is so close when put in the hands of a confined soul! A letter will always be timeless to those doing time!

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Sisters That Been There Graduates (photos by Charisse Domingo)

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Regina P was able to fight her addiction and reclaim her place at the celebration of life ceremony she was to complete in the first celebration however was not able to, do to a relapse. But she came back even stronger and completed 16 weeks of intense emotional search for self and we are honored to announced her as a alumnae of s.t.b.t

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I received a email one day from a mother seeking help for her daughter little did i know that the woman she was speaking of would walk into my group months there after. Andrea came to me willing to learn and meet people who were doing the same things she was. She has successfully completed the 16 week course and is currently seeking employment she has been a great example of a sister that’s been there.

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She knew what she wanted from the moment she stepped in to the class room. “I want to be the best mother I can and get off probation”. She is on her way. Jeniffer came consistently for 6 months and made it very clear what her needs and wants were she never gave up and that is a key quality our sisters that been there share.

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Breaking more that one cycle, Latoya has broken not only the cycle of incarceration but also a cycle in her Native heritage, “not many Native American women have help like this now I get to tell them that there is help”, these are her words she is now an example in the Native American community that change is possible and to women who have been locked up with this strong woman get to also see that change is possible. Latoya is a true inspiration to our sisterhood. Her son often attended group with her we wish them both the best on there journey.

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Ready for change when Monica came to us she knew what needed to be done and was just so open to doing it. She needed a job, so she got one. She needed a place to call home, so she got one. She is well on her way and was always willing to inspire and motivate the other women in the group. Her down to earth approach on life and her situation has shot her right up to the stars.

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My great honor to introduce to you all the second generation of sisters that been there Change is happening right here in Santa Clara County. These women have already broke there own cycle will we encourage there chance or ignore it?
we believe in loving our sisters until they learn from us how to love themselves!