When Marcus Bullock watches his nine and four-year-old kids go stir-crazy this year at home under lockdown bouncing on the sofa, chasing the dog he's able "to give them grace." He remembers feeling a similar pent-up energy during his time in jail.
At 15, Bullock was sentenced to eight years in an adult maximum security prison for making what he calls "the worst mistake of his life" an armed carjacking. If it hadn't been for his mom, he may have spent more hours going "crazy", staring out a three-inch window at the Fairfax County Jail in Virginia, pumping out pushups and talking to imaginary voices in the cinder-block walls. His mother kept him alive and sane, he says, through her unwavering love and a very specific type of correspondence involving cars and cheeseburgers.
"It was magic," he says of the daily photos and letters he received from his mom. Her messages kept him feeling connected to the outside world, and hopeful about his future.
Today, Bullock's not only a gracious dad, he's a committed justice reform advocate, and the founder and CEO of Flikshop, an app and service inspired by his mom's love.
Flikshop lets anyone with a smartphone send personalized, photo-based postcards to folks in prison, as easily as they could send a text message reminding those behind bars that they're loved, and that they too can be successful when they get out.
Just like his mom did for him.
Mom was 'Instagram before there was Instagram'
Sylvia Bullock saw something in her son had shifted a couple years into his sentence. He'd moved from denial to depression. Despite missing out on Christmas dinners, basketball tournaments, homecomings, prom night, and his niece's first steps, what Bullock calls "the meaningful moments" he'd maintained a false hope that the jail guards would let him out.
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