DEUCE Community Update: August 2023
For many years, I lived In a concrete box with no window. This was because I was placed in custody status of Closed Custody and Administrative Segregation. Being housed in these environments came with many unique challenges, but the lack of sunlight or a view of the outside world is one I have been appreciating lately.
Waking up and not having any sense of what time of day or what season it is will do peculiar things to one’s biology. Finding a flow or a sense of connection to the larger world becomes hard. You never breathe fresh air, so everything feels…stale and inorganic. Often, you don’t feel rested like you can’t sleep deep enough, and your sleep schedule constantly changes. Maybe this next one is particular to my own experience, but my sense of smell and hearing got keener. I think this is because I needed to be able to make out certain sounds and smells, like someone being gassed or lighting a fire, amongst the chaos without having a line of sight to these things. It was a very lonely way to live; no matter how hard I threw myself into cell-block politics or writing letters, I always felt completely alone.
It was such a bizarre reality that I have to mentally bring myself back to reflect on the experience. When I was released, fresh air and sunshine felt like food. I remember walking across the parking lot in Huntsville and bending down to touch a patch of grass. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. Not just for my release, but for the return of these long-lost sensations. I try to hold onto that feeling, to remember how nourishing the natural world is and what life is like without it.
Today, I have the fortune of living in a much different environment.
Dreaming of that used to feel impossible, but that’s not what I’ve been appreciating lately.
Watching the effect that living in the Mar Vista house has on people like me who were consigned to a life in a concrete box, thinking they might die there, makes me well up with emotion. This is a house in a good neighborhood, with a yard and view that embodies both the beauty of nature and the inherent potential in man. It’s a place none of us thought we would ever be. Being in this environment makes a marked difference in the way we think and act. It makes other things that once seemed impossible feel a little more attainable.
DEUCE Community Inc. Co-Founder
Every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. | Community Workout at DEUCE Gym @ 110 Lincoln Blvd
- Fundraiser Toolkit | Interested in helping with our housing efforts but unsure how to get involved? Chances are you have someone in your network who might be able to help. We would love to help provide you with resources to help you share the story of what we are doing. Check out some examples of what this can look like HERE.
The Amazon Prime packages that show up on the porch of the DEUCE Community House mean more to these guys than you can possibly imagine. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
DEUCE Community Inc. showed up in force for the third annual Lift Run Hang Competition at Muscle Beach, Calif.
Our interns and program participants were behind the scenes working tirelessly to make sure the event ran smoothly. From load in to load out – security, athlete liaising, judging and changing plates – they made sure all the work got done to a high standard.
We also had a ton of fun.
Somehow, in the middle of the biggest event of the year, we managed to get in cold lifts, cold brews, pick-up basketball games, and more magic than we have seen at any other Lift Run Hang.
Raul, kingpin of our annual Tattoo pop-up, was there making big lifts. He even managed to sneak in a ‘Killers Only’ tattoo on a DEUCE Community supporter. Coach Samantha Love, who was a program participant before we had a name, was there crushing lifts, talking smack, coaching first-timers, grabbing coffee, and supporting everyone in sight. Board Member Plum and all-around creative wizard Niki Gruttadauria, were indisputably the hardest workers there. They, as always, were behind the scenes acting as matriarchs making the magic happen and dealing with every emergency that popped up.
A gigantic thank you to everyone who made this event possible.