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Photo by Patrick Tomasso

Inmates should be seen and not heard. An inmate experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the world, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness — kinda what the Coronavirus did to the world. It made a prison restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us (just like being in prison).

It’s time to break the chains of being discounted and commit to making our essential voice heard. Let us participate in shaping the future. This could be a moment to unite civilization! Sadly or liberatingly, we have not yet seen an emerging global leader or vision. It’s not bringing in new ideas that’s so hard; it’s getting rid of the old ones. The future belongs to those who innovate to create alliances and advance peace. If politicians fail to provide adequate answers, ordinary citizens or the ones deemed non-essential themselves must speak out.

The world needs innovative, creative and audacious ideas to tackle the challenges of the future and counter widespread pessimism. If heading off that danger requires change that sounds radical, maybe radical change is in order. Looking from behind the bars, I see the vast majority of people are so dangerously self-willed that it is going to take this Coronavirus catastrophe to drive them to repentance. Will this timeout create a new era of possibility? Will you selflessly serve your community?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

John E. Jozwiak is a Native American writer and former Marine incarcerated in Wisconsin.