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"You must know and remember what YPEI means to this campus here: HOPE."

Below text is excerpted from a letter written by an incarcerated YPEI student.

February 22, 2021

Dear YPEI Team,

First and foremost, this letter is to say: Thank You. Thank you for your continued and unwavering support and dedication during this period of unprecedented — and possibly irreparable — isolation for the incarcerated. All told, the mind, spirit, and hope for us prisoners is being tested and stretched by this pandemic by the minute. Though this is not new (being tested and stretched), this isolation is far beyond what we have come to accept as normal. Normal. The only thing that now divides us here is how we respond to this isolation. For the most part, I find myself fighting just to keep one foot in front of the other; A battle I do not win everyday.

However (and the reason why I write), this week — after a year has passed — a few of us (YPEI students) were able to meet up while we were picking up our course packets.... I realized we all still remain the light in a very dark place — prison. Inspiring words for sure, but you need to know that after all this time has passed, we remain a collective. Is the energy the same? Honestly, no. But we still believe in the transformative power of what YPEI has given to us.

My point in all of this is to send back some of the energy that you all have provided to us here. You must know and remember what YPEI means to this campus here: HOPE. It has allowed some, if not all, to be other than being simply "other". We, as individuals and as a whole must be listened to and heard. What comes next nobody knows. But in this moment, the change has begun. Thank You.