The Marshall Project

How I Finally Learned That Trauma Does Not Define Me

“It can be exhausting to tell and retell your painful story just to get people to listen to you about other things.”

I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my release from a New York prison in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. I was there to participate in The Year of Return, a countrywide commemoration of the 400 years since the first Africans were trafficked to the British colony now known as Virginia.

Life Inside Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system. Sign up to receive "Life Inside" emailed to you every week. Related Stories

Yes, I went to . But on December 23—10 years to the day that I left prison—I because I needed to feel the spirit of resistance and be in community with the beauty of my ancestors who found ways to survive the ugliness of white people and their growing system of anti-black racism.

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