This was the last week for our Bridges to HOPE and UW Honors program collaberation and we were able to present our findings to a room full of faculty, staff, legislators, students and inmates. It was a rush to know that we had done some great work on some incredibly important things. But the work is only as good as the minds behind it. The argument we presented and will be taken to our state capital is an intelligent and fact based set of reasonings about why people incarcerated should be afforded the benefit of citizenship and be allowed to vote. We are counted in legislative districts, we’re even taxed on certain things, so why can’t we have a voice in that representation? As impressive as the whole concept is, like I said, its only as good as the minds working the problem. So here’s the team the way I saw them.

Ellie was the group task leader. She herded all the cats to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street. Her focus on the mission of the research was impressive. Shannon was the fierce organizer of data and one hell of a presenter. As the newest student, she showed absolute refined abilities to get the work done and didn’t hesitate to help the rest of us figure it out. Angeline was quiet, low key and very personable. When it came time to present, she laid out so much information that it blew my mind she could hold that much detail unscripted. Annabelle was the master of keeping calm, cool and collected. She knew what she was talking about and her confidence and energy poured out in our presentation. Then there was Andrew. He was the stage director for us inmates. Without him, we wouldn’t have known where we fit in with this amazing collection of talent and intelligence, so I thank him greatly. With their collective leadership, organization and mastry, the inmates, Kyle, Floyd and myself, may one day get the chance to do what all Americans should do… have a fighting chance to change our lives for the better and be able to be civically engaged with the public interest in mind.

by Rory Andes

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