I'm not an angel but I'm not the devil.
Recently, I watched a performance by "The Lady Lifers", a group of women sentenced to life in prison, without possibility of parole, in Pennsylvania. The women sang at TEDxMuncyStatePrison in November 2014. At the end, each introduces herself and tells a bit of her story as a "lifer" through the song "This is Not My Home" (Howard Woodring): "I'm a woman, I'm a grandmother, I'm a daughter, I have a son. I'm not an angel, I'm not the devil. I came to jail when I was so young."
Each of the nine women has been assigned a number but, as their song relates, the women are more than that, with their own needs and hopes and fears, and each proudly has a name: Brenda Watkins, Dannielle Hadley, Debra Lee Brown, Theresa Battles, Diane Metzger, Thelma Nichols, Joann Butler, Lena Brown, and Trina Garnett.
Already, the women have spent decades in prison.
Dream of freedom, hope for mercy.
The local TEDx event was produced independently of TED Conferences.
Muncy State Prison is a maximum security facility.