, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
@pycon attendees: we've learned that, due to an unfortunate sequence of events, the recordings of Sha's and my keynotes have been lost. We're working with the team on a plan to re-record them. #PyCon2019 Empty PyCon keynote hall.
@pycon In the meantime, it's hard to translate Sha's personal story and intimate delivery into a set of tweets, but here's an attempt to summarize the context he gave us to then discuss concrete ways technologists can engage with the prison system: Sha describing his discovery of entrepreneurship at San Quentin State Prison.
Sha Wallace-Stepter is an entrepreneur, videographer, and programmer from San Francisco. He was released from San Quentin State Prison last August, after serving 19 years of a life sentence that was commuted by the Governor of California, for a crime he committed when he was 16. Always behind a camera -- Sha filming while incarcerated at San Quentin.Always behind a camera -- Sha filming after his release.
At @pycon, Sha shared his life story as an invitation to the open source community to think about inclusion more radically than we have been: through the lens of the currently and formerly incarcerated.
He shared his upbringing, childhood traumas, the evolution of his criminal behavior as a child, his eventual arrest, trial, life sentence, and incarceration in a maximum security prison.
He shared the intense violence and trauma he witnessed in prison, his journey to accountability and an understanding of his causative factors, how he helped other people reach that understanding, and his plan to get to a lower-security prison and hopefully, eventually, get out.
He described his transfer to San Quentin, an environment with far less violence and vastly greater opportunities for rehabilitation and education. He shared his discovery of entrepreneurship, audio and video production, and programming.
And he shared the moment on August 17th, 2018 when he got a phone call from the Governor's office, saying his sentenced had been commuted. He was released 7 days later, after serving 19 years of his life sentence—37 years old and a free adult (well, on parole) for the first time.
"There are many challenges that await us upon our re-entry back into society, and I ask you all, as members of the Python community, to be open, to be thoughtful, and to welcome us. Because a lot of us are actually really dope." Sha closes to a standing ovation and many tears.
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