Our Voices > We Are DC

I Dream of Freedom

Oct 30, 2022

The perspective of

Gezo Gueong Edwards-El

Incarcerated at

USP Atwater
in California

Year incarcerated


Home State


Note from Pam Bailey, co-founder of More Than Our Crimes: One day, I asked Gezo what his passion is, and this was his response:

Black man standing with his arms crossed

Passion? I guess that could be what I mostly muse about. I daydream mostly about my manumission.

I dream of being with my family. I remember how my kids used to run up and hug me. They’d fight over who I’d carry around in my arms. I recall sitting with both my daughter and son on my lap as we watched an anime show called Naruto. And weird things, like squatting on the bathroom floor beside my 4-year-old son, who was constipated and sitting miserably on the toilet, with me rubbing his stomach. 

I dream of the touch of a woman, lying beside her, hearing her breath, feeling the warmth falling off of her as it comforts me. The softness of her curves, the silkiness of her skin. The femininity of the way she walks, talks and acts. The flowery smell of her perfume. There is nothing more cruel than to forbid a man or woman from having access to his or her opposite. What a diabolical scheme that is. How cruel and unusual to tell me it is unlawful to do what is so natural.

For me, my passion is freedom and liberty to do what God/Allah created me for. To love and be loved by others.

But if you’re speaking about a more banal passion, I need to think harder. My passion for painting is tepid at this point. I haven’t been able to paint anything for four years because of the FBOP’s systematic lockdowns. They have beaten the passion out of me, plus I haven’t had the tools and opportunity to paint. I am hoping that when I next pick up a paint brush, it will spark something.

My mind is often consumed with how to fight ignorance. You just don’t know what you don’t know, so I try to soak up as much information as possible. If I knew when I was younger what I know now, I would not be incarcerated. It is important for me to enlighten myself so I can share information with the youth who might otherwise follow me.

I have been thinking recently about the fact that I am getting older and have been sentenced to die while incarcerated. I have been judged to be of no worth to society and I reject that conclusion. I want to let the world know who I AM.  When I die, I want to be remembered. Who other than my friends and family will remember me as someone other than a lifer or criminal?  I know I am more than that. Those who know me, know as much also. 

I want to be productive. I want everyone to know I have some worth. I am passionate about letting the world know who Gezo Gueong Edwards-El is, and that I am a valuable member of the human family.

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