Every week, she sings in a prison. And the crowd of women go wild.

This post by Andrea Garcia-Vargas originally appeared in Upworthy on May 24, 2015.

Every week, Naima comes to the San Francisco County Women’s Jail to hold “music sessions.” For one hour, she sings her heart out to the incarcerated women.

Strong, empowered, talented, compassionate — these are all things you can tell about Naima when she goes up to perform in front of the county jail.

Watching her sing and play the guitar is quite the thrill.

But what’s more thrilling for her? Hearing the reactions from the incarcerated women she’s with. In an interview with AJ+’s Dena Takruri, Naima recounted some of the beautiful feedback the women have given her:

“Thank you for being my hour of freedom every week.'”

“My peace and freedom.'”

“I came into class not feeling great, feeling discouraged, and now I’m a lot better. And I feel I can get through my day. And somehow, even with the struggles and me missing my kids, I feel like there’s hope.”

There are three main things Naima hopes all people can take away from her album:

  1. The ability to critically think and ask themselves, are our systems restorative and transformative? Do they really allow for rehabilitation?
  2. The power of music in the act of healing and restoration.
  3. For people to feel heard and for the message to resonate.

If you’re inspired by her and her music, feel free to spread her message and energy around.

Also, stay tuned to her upcoming album, “Borderlands,” which will be released in summer 2015. Bonus! 50% of proceeds from it will go to re-entry programs for incarcerated women.

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