I've been bad about blogging my stories but now I've given away my 11th key. This is the one I will hold closest to my heart, because it was given to my lyrical hero, my favorite musician since I was 12 years old - Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls.
I only recently bought the "Freedom" key, because I was out of keys and I always want to be wearing one. So, the Indigo Girls are on tour and I went to 3 shows, with last night being the last show. Amy and Emily are huge activists, and one of the songs on their new record written by Amy is called "The Rise of the Black Messiah." It's about an inmate who spent 40 years in solitary confinement at Angola Prison. He wrote to Amy and told her his story and she wrote this song.
During the show the other night at the Fillmore, Amy proudly announced that the inmate had been released. She's passionate about the prison crisis in America, which hits home for me because of my career as a forensic psychologist.
I've worked in jails/prisons for the past 15 years, all over the country. I've evaluated and/or treated every type of inmate imaginable from county jail to state and federal prison, to state hospitals.
So, last night, I wore the Freedom key. Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would take it from my neck, give it it to her, and that she would graciously accept it and immediately put it on. I didn't have much time to explain the purpose of the key because there were other fans around, so I just told her to check out The Giving Keys website and she'd understand. Amy and I had a brief hug and I left.
I know she will embrace the key and I'll bet she will love giving it away to someone who truly needs freedom from whatever it may be, whether it be incarceration or the prison within themselves. After all, that's what they do with their songs, every day, and what they have done for me since I was 12 years old.