Nick & I recently performed at Lynwood County Jail.
Out of 850+ concerts we have performed, it was one of the most unusual, emotional, soul-rewarding yet heartbreaking experiences.
It was an an amazing show, far beyond my expectations. To be honest, I didn't even know what to expect.
My friend Keisha works with Healthright360, which is a non-profit organization that provides treatment, rehabilitation and re-entry services to adults in Los Angeles who have been incarcerated and who are making positive changes and rebuilding their lives. When Keisha asked if I wanted to perform in prison, I immediately said yes. I have done many benefit concerts in the past, but I really had no idea this would be as emotional for me as it was.
Some of the women at Lynwood are there just for a few months, some for years, and some are serving life sentences. I was surprised. I didn't know that a County Jail would have inmates serving life. But they do. Prisons in US are overcrowded, and some of the inmates have to be sent to local jails.
I had never met anyone before who was serving life. I had only visited a minimum security prison (in Illinois, as a college student) in the past.
But here there were women serving life sentences.
After the performance, I gave one of these women a big hug, which I was immediately told not to do (nobody told me I couldn't!)
The inmates were incredibly grateful for our time and music, clapped along and sang along and gave us an incredible amount of love and warmth.
Yvonne, one of Healthright360 staff, passed around a little diary where the inmates could write messages to me and to Nick. I read all of the notes when I got home, and was moved to tears. Some inmates shared their stories but most told us how much music means to them.
They also gave me a hand-sewn doll (similar to which they make for children's hospital). Photo below.
While in Lynwood, Nick & I learned that the inmates are lacking some of the basic necessities, like soap and shampoo.
So we decided to make our next LA concert a "soap & shampoo drive".
It's amazing that we can make someone's life a little better, if we only try, right?
All you have to do is bring a few travel-size shampoos & bars of soap to the show!
Thank you :)
Saturday, February 25 at Genghis Cohen, Los Angeles (see tour dates page).
About Healthright 360: