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Who is Ezra J McCandless?


I am related to the autumn, richness in the sense of continued generosity. As if a gigantic tree which falls to the ground and begins to rot, growing mushrooms all over, enriched by the weeds growing around it. A sense of depth, real earthiness rather than texture. I am yellow, connected with the sun's rays. I am open to all with the quality of mid-morning. I was the child who believed in fairies, peaking delicately inside each bloom to find them. A wide eyed child drawn to create, as did the first humans to approach their cave walls to scratch and paint. Lured to record our impressions of life. With the same fervency of creation. I have always been an artist. I find solace within each project. I have been deeply concerned with the social orders from which art springs, with the processes of creating art, and with open or hidden assumptions that inform art as with the art products themselves. I've been the sculptor, painter, printmaker, photographer and illustrator. Each creation a reflection, a part of myself. 

Through my photos I show you how I view the world around me.

I come from a large blended family that is not based merely on blood shared, but based on the love, passion and faith. I value family and the ones I love most of all.  I am my mothers and fathers strength and determination. I am my grandparents wisdom, and each generations love.

Growing up with a nervy craving mind, my spirit has been lit by the words of my favorite authors: Henry David Thoreau, Marcus Aurelius, Mary Wollstonecraft, Lama surya das and many more. I have a passion for what I believe in no matter the devastation. I will raise my head to face the storm. I am what I love and what keeps me awake at night. I am my love, and deepest emotions. I love deeply, I feel greatly, even to my own detriment. I have always been affected by everything and everyone around me. I value the life of each and every being as if it were my own. I have a fault to forgive even those that have hurt me beyond repair. I am Ezra J McCandless and I am a survivor. 


THE MEDIA: It was allowed to have invasive coverage by a prejudicial media outlet the entire trial. 


If you breathe, it will be used against you. If you cry too hard or too much " She is a Fake". If you don't cry enough "She is Heartless". If you smile " She is not taking this seriously". If you keep your face calm "She is unfeeling". DAILY : Smile, but not too much. It’s okay to cry, but not too much. Don't react! But make sure that you show who you are! 


The amount of misconceptions is insurmountable. One of the many is that since March 2018 I had been out on bail waiting for trail. When the fact is I've been incarceration the entire waiting period NOT in the comfort of home. My smiles and laughs put in dark context. Who would not smile after finally face to face with family after so long? Would you not find relief in the moments of levity as you await on your fate? The Media has a job to shock, delight and capitalize on tragedy. The Media can theorize what they feel is the truth. The Media uses small "details" to make great leaps and bounds, conjure parallels between cases that the facts and situations are far from similar. The Media has a demographic to pander to. A very important question to ask as you view prejudicial media is context. NOT speculation, but the truth.


Court : "Rather than love, than money, than infamous GIVE ME TRUTH. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices"  Henry David Thoreau.


In the end this case was not decided on facts, logic or the law. It was decided on retribution, shock, emotion and prejudice. 


What was attacked? Sexuality, gender, intelligence and credibility. An Instagram bio made YEARS ago from a children's fable. We never hid from the facts, or the law as it corroborates the truth. The truth we stand in unflinchingly. We did not yell or manipulate. When you have the truth, you do not need to manifest a story. Fifteen days,  attacked. re-traumatized. re-experiencing traumatic details. HOW DARE YOU be a young woman with more than one sexual partner. HOW DARE YOU be LGBTQ. HOW DARE YOU have a choice when it comes to your body. Each thing used as a seed then planted in the mind of the jury. Painted as sex fiend and a liar every step of the way. Having to keep composure as your art photo is shown and used as an example for " Well if she is in that position once, WHY would she say NO to it again". I ask you, does a photo or previous sexual or non sexual act make all future consent irrelevant? In an unlawful interference with your body, should you be expected to lay there a take it? What do we teach our youth? Do we tell them if someone starts to hurt you physically and you are in fear of your life - Make sure that person hurts you "enough" and then you can fight back. BUT be in control while fighting back. Who draws the line in the moments when you are in fear of your life? There is no referee or coach. No one can tell you, how your mind and body in that moment will react. This is not " Common Sense" this is life or death. 


"Everything had changed suddenly, the tone, the moral climate; you didn't know what to think, whom to listen to. As if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own. There was no one around, neither family nor whose judgment you respected" Boris Pasternak.


I did not have to raise my hand to speak. I made a choice to speak, to tell the truth of what has happened to me. I survived. 


What is next.


"There have been joys too great to be described in words and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell; and with this I say:

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end". Edward Whymper


What I face now is a mandatory life sentence. The journey I will now take is the necessary steps to be re-heard in a higher court. Our goal is this. Ultimately resulting in a second chance at life, and Freedom itself. The battle for justice has only begun. We stand unflinchingly in the truth, we will never rest on what we believe in. Justice in the face of adversity. We will be the unrelenting voice of change in the face of prejudice, misunderstanding, and injustice. Support a voice of change. Be a voice of change.



                                       Ezra J McCandless


Rosie Gunelson
Stanley, WI

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