We Don’t Die We Multiply

 Neomia Banks State Farm

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 Remax Janet Baptiste

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By Robert Lilly | March 1, 2010

It has been approximately 3 years since I have come home from the American version of the Russian gulag. Having spent such a long period of my life within the confines of these modern day work camps, my vision of the world and the place I occupy within it have been unalterably affected. My journey started in juvenile facilities where I worked for American Airlines, and next to the county jails where I learned how to cook as a trustee, and next, to the Federal Bureau of Prisons where I was trained in the craft of sewing camouflage. I have never been without opportunities or mentors in prison whereby I utilized some skill or gained some insight that enabled me to survive. It would seem that unemployment and guidance are never a problem for the prisoner. However, once one is released who does she or he turn to for support and instruction on how to not just survive, but thrive beyond those prison walls? This is where one has to think outside of the box. My hope and vision was increased when I found and read a book that I had actually seen within the halls of prison libraries for years, it was entitled: We Are All Doing Time by Bo Zolloff. In this book the author stressed the importance of meditation and thinking in creative ways, or outside the box, that would perhaps facilitate many persons recovery from a life of crime and imprisonment. I read this book with intense interest in learning what I needed to gain insight on so that I could free myself of the binds of mental enslavement that had kept me in the chains of doubt and fetters of fear.{{more}} Zolloff used a unique style of writing wherein he shared the advice he had given to prisoners who had written him after having formed a relationship with both him and his wife who made their rounds of prisons to teach yoga and to inspire the healing that could only come with a pure heart and mind. They were a hit. I learned from this man’s work and I used his advice earnestly upon my release. One of the first things I did when I came home was to find me an inexpensive computer. I had learned through reading that the technology reflected in our times by the computer put at a man’s fingertips access to more information than any generation ever before our time. This computer would in fact afford me the chance to locate an individual who would come to change the course of my life. That person would grow, in time to become a friend and comrade, a father figure and a trailblazer. That man was Bro. Bey. From the very first time we meet, which was vicariously through an interview on his website that had a video clip imbedded within it, I learned about his bold and distinct passion for the uplift of the ex-offender. He taught me that the ex-offender ‘should not be the tail lights, when in fact they are the headlights in so far as it concerns the needs of this population. Bro. Bey made it clear; as I had long come to believe that the work of re-defining the role of the formerly incarcerated rested squarely upon the ex-offenders shoulders itself. This message should come to resonate with me and I would be impelled to act to join this work with as high an energy as his and an even fiercer intensity sense I was his Jr. and I was more vulnerable to risk and failure due to my recent release from the Texas Dpt. of Corrections. Suffice it to say that this brother has become an inspiration for me and an example of what one of us can do when we put our mind to that task of a deed, whether great or small. He has convinced me that there is nothing too lofty or grand that we cannot do. I have taken him at his word and followed his lead becoming myself, an affiliate of his FOXO, which stands for the Fraternal Order of Ex-offenders. With his precise exhortations and firebrand delivery, my mind has been enlightened and brightened with wisdom and a wealth of experience. All these benefits have not cost me a dime. Bro. Bey is as enthused about me as I him and we have grown to the put where we are fueling ourselves off of each other. We have long promised that we would one day meet, and not that time has come. He will be our honored guest for the week of March 6-8th, here in Abilene, Texas. His speeches will be designed to generate the same clarity in others as it has done within me. Our brother is a champion for the cause of the weak and oppressed of American prisons, however, don’t get it twisted his message is for everyone. You will not believe me until you experience it for yourselves and so it is with these words that I invite you to come and join us as we partake of his intellect, forged over the years while serving as a mentor and leader of ex-offenders in the city of Baltimore, MD. When I meet brother Bey, from the first he made me feel important, whereas to the contrary some men who call themselves ministers could not see what God was doing with my life and my work. This brother coming to us from the other side of the country, and through a phone had enough foresight to see that what we stood for in little ol’ Abilene, Texas had the potential to be appreciated by the entire country and even the world. We are not insignificant rather we are the meaning of significance. Our struggle will prevail now and forever more. How I know this is because despite our dying we are multiplying. As for those others who claim to be the mouth piece of God and the man-servant of Christ they horde their wealth and experience and so that that should live and continue on in fact withers away with each new season that comes into bloom. It see the day but for a very short while.