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"Shine" by Elsa Segura
Illustration by Elsa Segura

This artwork is meaningful to me because it is reflective of a time when my state of Minnesota was going through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.

These historic moments were happening while I was caged in a cell for 23 hours a day, awaiting my trial. I felt chained, silenced, like I no longer existed. I couldn’t — and wouldn’t — let all the suffering around the world consume me. I had to find my voice — my light — and free my mind. 

Months after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial, I had my trial with the same judge: Peter Cahill. He sentenced me to life without parole, plus another 200 months. 

Regardless of my circumstances, I continue to shine.

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.

Elsa Segura is an artist incarcerated in Minnesota.