• John & Vivett Dukes

The Dukes' Saga

John and I met as students in Jr. High School in Elmont, NY. We were really good friends throughout Jr. High, High School, and into young adulthood, often talking about the romantic relationships we were in separately and where we saw our lives in the future. It was a very special friendship because of the personal nature of these conversations. Unfortunately, the actions of one fateful night in 1999 drastically altered John's life. He murdered a man, and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. We lost contact with each other. After 15 years of literally no communication with one another, a mutual friend of ours, Mr. Pablo Sinclair, serendipitously reconnected us in June of 2015 when he saw me at a reggae festival in Eisenhower Park and shared with me that he'd kept in touch with John throughout the years of his incarceration, and that John had always asked about me. I felt guilty that I had not been a better friend, had not kept in touch with him; however, I was excited to see how dear friend John was doing, especially after enduring almost two decades of incarceration. What was he like? Had he changed? How was he? After two months of exchanging letters and phone calls between us, on August 7th, I went to visit John at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Westchester County, NY. I went back on August 12th. On that day, he proposed to me. I accepted. We courted for nine months and were married on May 28, 2016. Our journey back to each other is nothing short of profound and undoubtedly orchestrated by Divine Appointment. Join us on our journey as we share the healing power of love, acceptance, transparency, and truth that we've experienced individually and collectively through the lens of mass incarceration from the inside and the outside.

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