Starting the Race Last and Ending Up First

By Myesha Danielle Isaac

Team UUWL!
Dec 3, 2020 · 11 min read

There’s white, foreign, Black, man, woman, boy, girl, heterosexual, lesbian, transman, gay, transwoman. And according to a sociology research study, this is the world’s chronological order of what society calls, “social order of acceptance”… Can you guess who i am?

“It’s hard to be me and be scared! It’s hard to be me and be scared!” is what I’m chanting in my head religiously. It’s one of my newest core beliefs that I just recently adopted amongst others, as you’ll discover. To me, it means to embrace and acknowledge who you are, to understand who you are, to not be afraid of who you are, to love who you are, to value who you are, and to know who you are, confidently and not to mention “fearlessly.” Such a tall order living in such a cynical world and place, where we the people, are at times, forced to hide behind our smiles when in all truth, it’s the hardest to keep our heads held high.

Currently, I’m on what is called a 90 day plan. No, not a 90 day diet plan, or a 90 day workout regimen, and even though Christmas and New Years is approximately 90 days away, it’s not that either. And saved by grace, thank god himself, that no doctor has told me that I’ve got 90 days left to live. But I’m human, standing in the flesh, what you see is what you get. Crazy as it may sound to you, you would not believe that I was always told “success” was not for me, and that God didn’t love me, and that crying about it was for soft, weak people, and should only be done at funerals. But in all honesty, I do it, and I ain’t afraid to admit it to anyone.

Originally, I grew up in the negative perils of the metropolitan city streets of Baltimore. They call it “Charm City.” And although I understand the city part, I never understood and is completely baffled about the “charm” part. Hints to why I am now in my early 30s and is just coming to the realization that everything that I learned and inherited in them so called “streets” was wrong. The total opposite of right. So I say to you, “charm where?” and now in knowing all of this I want out completely. I want to be liberated, to be freed from bondage. I want an opportunity to reinvent not simply just who I was, and where I came from, but putting more emphasis on who I am today and moving forward. I want to be a living example of what hope looks like to a nation that has been blinded for generations beyond my existence.

The first and only time I can ever recall experiencing hope was when I found myself listening and watching President Obama’s inaugural speech. Today, i’m learning that is was good that I was a hearer that day, but somehow I missed the connection to become a doer and to apply the actual knowledge that was being spoken, but just listening to that powerful speech alone made me feel strong enough to overcome all adversity and it led me mentally and spiritually into believing that I have the ability to make a difference in this world, regardless of my imperfections. The impossible seemed possible that day. But where do I start and where do I begin? How do I begin to heal and process? Or to know the processes of change? What is right? What is normal? Who can I trust? Is this even possible? Fear can easily begin to plague the mental state of being. But the good news is, when you add, less to the end of the word fear it becomes something totally different. Fearless meaning not afraid at all. Easy come, easy go, in the simplest form. Fight fear with knowledge and understanding.Which brings me to adopted core belief #2 — education is the true key to success. Knowledge is power, especially when it’s put to good use. The more education, the more you learn opening up doors for more and more options and opportunities to grow, and/or better ways of doing something, and a better way of living, which can only heighten one’s ability to achieve, thrive, and succeed.

The first step into any right direction starts with the truth, you have to be honest. Honest with thyself first and then others. So without further due let me formally introduce myself. My name is Myesha Danielle Isaac. I’m a young, Black, African American, transgender woman who is driven, motivated, and has a burning desire to change and make a difference, not only, in my own life, but also in the lives of others, currently incarcerated at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, and that 90 day plan that I mentioned earlier, is the number of days I have left, until I am to be released back into our community. And although I acknowledge that I”m starting this race in last place, according to that research study regarding social acceptance, look out and forward to me finishing in first. And now I know for sure that God loves me, because if it had not been for God’s favor, I wouldn’t still be here. And I’m still standing.

Hello World

Coming through the doors of this facility, I had no idea what to expect. And in such a short period of time, I was put in a position, forced, to pull and lean on every ounce of strength, that I didn’t even know existed in me. Despite the trauma, I had to continue to learn and grow even in the midst of the storm. And now it’s something so significant about coming out of that storm victoriously, on top, that has made me that much stronger. For I suffered a great deal of agony during this incarceration. And as I stated honesty is key, so yes, I take full responsibility for my actions that brought me in here in the first place. But having to be subject to malicious and sadistic sexual and physical institutional assaults (by inmates), targeting, retaliation, and multiple violations of my 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendment rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution (by the now-former Sheriff Offices Fairfax County Deputy) is not a penalty for it! And it hurts me to my heart, to stand in the center of a correctional system that was designed to be just, but adversely does not protect GLBTQ incarcerated individuals and victims like myself.

Governed by the 8th Amendment, in general, officials owe prisoners and detainees a duty of care to protect them from risks that as prisoners they have diminished ability to protect themselves from. It is well-known that many incidents of prison violence are not reported because prisoners are afraid to come forward to be labelled by officials as a SNITCH, or because prison officials discourage their reporting or fail to observe them or to report them accurately. How are we supposed to trust in officials or law enforcement, the only people, we have to trust and confide in, if they law enforcement themselves, are the ones inflicting and contributing to the pain? And although I didn’t know anything about what to do, or how to even go about doing it, and regardless of who I was, and/or how I got here, I knew one thing, that I deserved and demanded the right to be, not only respected, but also protected. And I was in no form, shape, or fashion, willing to accept nothing less.

To all victims — as victimized individuals, we are far more alike than we are different. I too was disturbed, scared, confused, frustrated, violated, and uncomfortable, fearing the unknown. Scared to come forward, fearing skepticism, not knowing what to expect, stressing about how people would view me. I, too, feel feeble, used, abused, mistreated, unprotected and ashamed. I sank into deep melancholia, and became very anxious about everything that I was forced to endure. So I’ve personally have felt and understood your pain. But it’s important for me to express to victims today how to get through it, and come out on top, and win.

By choosing to stand for something, instead of falling for anything (adopted core belief #3) Choose you over them as I mentioned. Fearless and thorough, is what I had to be from the very start. And with that same strength and energy alone, God gave me beauty for my ashes (adopted core belief #4). Report, assert your rights, then trust in him (God), and him alone. Spiritually I was taught by an elder to never question God, and that everything happens for a reason, but I found myself, in the middle of the nights that I couldn’t sleep, on my knees praying to that same God, who people harshly, attempted to mislead me into believing that did not love me, asking God, “why me?” But then I thought to myself, “why anyone?” No man, woman, child, or transgender on this earth should ever have to be subject to someone else’s nefarious corruption. And in those same nights, I also prayed for strength and energy. And that’s why today, I am continuously using that same energy, standing firmly on what is right and just, by bringing awareness to our communities and the institutions within, shedding light against institutional violence and unconstitutional injustices.

On the 29th of July and the 16th of August, 2019, the Fairfax County Magistrate Offices found probable cause to criminally charge both perpetrators (inmates) in my cases. One with sexual assault and battery and the other with physical assault and battery against me. And I am happy to report that I managed to bring a conviction, in one of my cases, thus far, while the other is still pending trial. I have successfully filed a Civil Rights Action Suit (pro se) 42 U.S.C. 1983, January 2nd, 2020, and my case was reviewed and accepted into the United States District Court against the Officer who breached multiple legal duties (failure to protect, underreporting of assaults, negligence and deliberate indifference to medical treatment and needs, failure to report accurately, targeting, and retaliation) in all efforts to cover up what happened to me, directly violating my Constitutional rights. After two thorough and comprehensive internal investigations within the Fairfax County Sheriff Department their conclusion ruled in my favor and supported my claims in both investigations. Discovery revealed that the Officer was negligent and guilty on all counts. And I’m proud to say that as of February 18th, 2020, that officer is no longer employed with the Fairfax County Sheriff Offices as a result of it. And now that former Fairfax County Sheriff Officer is the “named defendant,” in my case down in the Federal States Courts, Richmond Virginia. United States House of Representatives Jennifer Wexton and Gerry Connolly, have extended their support, offering congressional assistance, and encouraging strength.

I had to exhaust my remedies in their entirety. I was forced into solitary confinement out of vindictiveness, spite and ill will, for exercising my 1st Amendment right (freedom of speech) for speaking out against injustices. Then from there, I was forced to live amongst violent offenders, and I don’t believe in violence, it’s not who I am. And is intelligent enough to know that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

A lot of times society tends to forget that incarcerated individuals are people too. I am someone’s family member and I love myself, despite the fact I’m here. Injustices, police brutality, discrimination, domestic violence, social inequality, and victimization flash heavily across our media daily. But FYI it’s happening in here too. But behind these walls, there is no body cams or bystanders to catch a recording on their mobile devices. You are trapped inside a world that believes that as an inmate, you are always wrong, even when you are right. Propelling forward, I realize that this is a devastating reality for many victims nationwide. And while our good people: families, advocates, frontline leaders, freedom fighters, and activists exhaustingly fight for change in our institutions daily, our people are still hurting. I want to offer all victims today a chance to win against your perpetrators, a chance to heal and grow and to take back what was taken from you, a peace of mind.

  1. Continue to boldly come forward and report all abuse and injustices. Most perpetrators assume we are weak and defenseless. But by reporting, it shows that we are the exact opposite of weak. In fact, we are strong enough to stand up for ourselves, instead of giving in, to what we know to be wrong.
  2. Utilize all local, regional, and national resources to the best of your ability. Find advocacy, community assistance, therapy, education, and legal advice and assistance.
  3. Find someone you can trust and confide in. Stay open and honest with them. Respect feedback and constructive advice. Keep effective communication going.
  4. Continue to take good care of yourself — physically and mentally, eat right, exercise, work hard, engage in hobbies, and daily activities.
  5. Understand that you are not alone. So, regardless of whatever trials and tribulations you face, always be humble.

According to research studies provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • 1 in 3 Virginia women have been assaulted, raped, sexually assaulted and/or stalked at some point in their lifetime.
  • 20–60% of domestic violence offenders also abuse children in the household.
  • 15.5 million is the approximate number of children who are exposed to domestic and/or sexual assaults violence every year.

Coming forward and reporting and confidently seeking justice helped me to no longer look at myself as a victim. I am proud to say that I stood up for myself. And I fully understand that my past no longer has to define me or my character, as the person I am today and/or the person, to whom I will become tomorrow. I am blessed coming in, as I will be going out, after today, as I continue to move forward. I am a Survivor.

So I say: to be a young, Black, African American transgendered woman, it’s hard at times, and if I am to survive and succeed, I can not be scared. It’s hard to be me and be scared.

In the frequently spoken words of my loving grandmother — you get more bees with honey, than you can with vinegar.

Be Kind To One Another.

#LOVE WHO U ARE

Myesha Danielle Isaac is a young, Black, African American, transgender woman who is driven, motivated, and has a burning desire to make a difference in her life and the lives of those currently incarcerated at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. Support her fight for justice by donating to her gofundme or sending money to $dmviwoc on cashapp with “for Myesha” in the memo.

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Up, Up with Liberation is a digital collective dedicated to liberation through creative expression. Born out of a community of organizers pursuing justice for immigrants and communities of color in the DMV, we are nurturing a culture of resistance through storytelling.

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Up, Up with Liberation

Up, Up with Liberation is a digital collective dedicated to liberation through creative expression. Born out of a community of organizers pursuing justice for immigrants and communities of color in the DMV, we are nurturing a culture of resistance through storytelling.

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