Shakespeare at San Quentin student Ray Ray on what kept him going throughout the pandemic.
Please know that the following piece discusses the topic of suicide. 

— Resilience is My Family —
By Ray Ray

During the year of the pandemic, resilience didn’t exist. The pandemic was the most traumatic experience I went through. My entire family was exposed to COVID, and this gave me so much anxiety, because I was already expecting the worst. Then, the worst came. My mom and dad were getting worse, the chance of living was zero percent – that’s what I was telling myself. I was afraid that my greatest fear would come true: losing my parents while in prison.

That’s when I started to doubt my beliefs in my life and religion. Why do my parents have to suffer? Why not me? Sadly, this self-reflection of myself led me to doubt my existence on this earth.

I was on the verge of committing suicide, because my family is all that I have left. However, it was like God heard my cry for the first time. On that same day, I received three letters from Mount Tamalpais College, Humans of San Quentin, and Marin Shakespeare. They don’t understand how they saved my life, saved me from myself. It showed me that my true resilience comes from the people who love and believe in me. If I didn’t have support or people who are loyal to me, I know I wouldn’t be here. I will forever be faithful and supportive towards Mount Tamalpais College, Marin Shakespeare, and Humans of San Quentin. Thanks to God, my family is doing better.

No matter what we went through during the pandemic and in life, we always find a way to come together without seeing the difference in others, but rather seeing the equality and the strength in each other. We are one race, the human race. As long as we have a support network, and family that believes in us, we can survive any crisis.

I love y’all. Thank you!