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Please Help My Dear Friend AJ Esquer

$3,168 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 82 people in 18 days
Created February 2, 2019
Some of you might remember back in 1996 when I was the editor of Mandala Magazine, I received a letter from Arturo Esquer, in Pelican Bay Prison, who’d read a book by Lama Yeshe and wanted to know more about Buddhism. Liberation Prison Project started from there.

Arturo - he now calls himself AJ - wrote about his life in the November-December 1997 issue of Mandala; and again we featured him in the July-August 1998 issue about young Dharma practitioners. He was 21 at the time, and he’d been incarcerated since he was13. 

Two years ago, amazingly, he was released! He’s now in Los Angeles and, at the age of 42, working very hard on getting himself set up in life. He’s nearly finished a course of study at Los Angeles Community College District and will receive his diploma in Film Production and Hollywood Cinema Production Resources, with speciality in the Art Department. He has received straight As in all his classes and achieved Full Time Dean’s Honor List — “a significant academic accomplishment for which you should be very proud,” wrote Dr. Ryan Cornner, the Vice Chancellor.

On top of his hundreds of hours of class and field work he has had to work at least 40 hours a week earning $8 an hour to pay his rent, car, food, etc., and often unexpected costs. He says in May he’ll graduate and then be qualified to work professionally.

Right now he needs a little extra to get through the next months. Already I’ve raised $1,000 for him and want to raise another $5,000. He said to me recently, "I keep reminding myself that there is no reason for me to stress about these bills and unpredictable challenging situations that arise in life. But at times such things can feel suffocating. Ultimately I know that trusting in Goodness and Positivity and continuing to do my best to be a force of goodness in the world is what counts most in life."

I am so happy to help AJ. He’s worked unbelievably hard the past many years, and I admire him greatly. Please offer what you can!

Photo: Kate taking a photo of me and AJ in a restaurant in Los Angeles, soon after his release from prison, in June 2017.
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This will make all the difference to AJ for the next couple of months. Gratitude to the kind 74 people in 9 days who’ve offered to him!
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A message from Ven. Robina to everyone:

Amazing! How kind everyone is. I am so pleased for AJ. He really has worked unbelievably hard, both before he left prison and certainly since. He’s determined to get a profession, to be useful in life, to help. Thank you everyone from my heart for helping him!

Here we are in Laguna Beach in 2017, soon after his release.
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$3,168 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 82 people in 18 days
Created February 2, 2019
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