My Visits With Nyki Kish: A Life Changing Experience by Matt Baratta 9/5/2012
Where is the last place on earth that you would want to be? I think a majority of people would answer prison and I would be in that majority. Despite this fact, I planned my recent vacation so that I could spend time in a prison as a visitor. This time was spent meeting the wrongfully convicted woman that I have been supporting, Nyki Kish. I have gotten to know Nyki through letters and from talking with her mother. To understand why any of this would matter to me please read my article that explains why I am supporting Nyki http://www.freenyki.org/fnc/2012/1/3/nykis-nightmare-needs-to-end-in-2012.html . As a result, I planned the destination and the dates of my vacation around the visits I could have with Nyki and her family’s schedule.
From her letters and other writings, I knew that Nyki was a unique and special person. Despite that, I did not know what to expect when I went into my first visit with her, her mother and sister. Given her circumstances, it would be completely normal expecting to spend the visit trying to cheer her up. To read about her living conditions, check out her blog http://thiswallisnotinfallible.wordpress.com/. What I got was eye opening and shocking. When the visit started, I felt like I had known Nyki for years and we were just picking up from where we left off. Nyki was talking about other people and expressing concerns for them. She asked me lots of questions about my life, work and interests. She talked about some of her pod mates and her concern for them. And, she wanted to know what was going on in her family. I left that visit feeling uplifted and inspired by Nyki.
My second visit with Nyki was with Nyki’s mother and I. Again in this visit, Nyki expressed concern for others especially one of her pod mates and she asked me questions about what I had been doing while in Canada. There was one moment during the visit that illustrated how difficult it is for Nyki. Her mom was talking positively about the appeals process that would free her. Nyki responded that she could not even think that way since she was told that she would never be convicted in the first place. This really saddened me because both mother and daughter were right. The mother was trying to be positive and uplift her daughter’s spirits but the daughter knows that nothing is a sure thing until it happens since the court system has already let her down. From what I can determine, Nyki is suppressing feelings so that she will not be let down in the future.
I believe that there are three words that can help fully describe who Nyki Kish really is. Those words are character, compassion and change.
When I reference character, I am referring to Nyki’s moral and ethical quality. Nyki does not come from a religious background and does not choose religion as a part of her life. If you met her and I did not tell you that, you would not believe it unless you asked her yourself. Most churches and their leaders preach that you should help others which The Bible supports. Nyki went to New Orleans six months after Hurricane Katrina to help people that she did not know. Nyki started a nonprofit business that gives books to prisons in Canada since the Canadian government does not provide this. How ironic that she now works in the library that is one of the beneficiaries of her nonprofit business, Book to Bars. She did both of these things before her 21st birthday. How much better would the world be with more people like Nyki Kish? While churches are having their scandals, Nyki is doing God’s work even while in prison. Can anything show good character more than what Nyki is doing?
Dictionary.com defines compassion as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” This describes Nyki perfectly. Why else would she go to New Orleans and start a nonprofit business to help people she did not even know? I sensed this compassion when she talked about some of her pod mates. From what I have heard, prison is normally survival of the fittest meaning that you do what you can to get by without regard for others. Despite this, Nyki is concerned for others.
Nyki states that she wants to change the world for the better. That is why she went to New Orleans. She was and still is an activist for causes that she believes in. She is smart and has common sense ideas to solving some of our problems. If I was in a position of authority, I would have her as part of my team to works towards implementing common sense change that would preserve and improve our economy while showing respect to people and our environment. She wonders if she can accomplish her dreams due to her imprisonment. Lets help Free Nyki so that she will not have wonder any longer.
I came to Canada with a goal of supporting Nyki and spending time with her family which I accomplished. What I could never have imagined is that Nyki would uplift and inspire me. Nyki lives by “The Golden Rule” as stated in Matthew 7:12 New International Version “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” She needs to be freed because she is innocent and so she can share herself, her music, poetry and her ideas with the world to make it a better place. FREE NYKI!!!!!