Arnulfo Timoteo Garcia was our mentor and best friend.
He died in a car crash shortly after gaining parole, but I still feel his hand guiding everyone in the San Quentin News family to do the best for our community, including our advisers, volunteers and prison administrators.
He’d always say: Moving forward!
When we first met, I didn’t see myself working for a prison newspaper. But Arnulfo saw a reporter in me. He brought me into the San Quentin News family and it ended up being the most important job I’ve ever had.
Each time I patiently listen to someone tell me a story, I credit Arnulfo.
Each time I have the honor to write and make someone visible, I credit Arnulfo.
Each time I review a story for the newspaper or magazine or set up a video project, I credit Arnulfo.
Arnulfo would be proud to see how the office looks, as it was his idea to have it professionally revamped. Consequently, the whole San Quentin Media Department looks great!
Timoteo’s leadership brought the newspaper in a direction that has earned the respect and admiration of our fellow inmates, prison staffers and the public at large.
Back in the day, we’d sit at breakfast and he’d plan our day. He’d talk about meetings with people or conversations with those socially responsible, always seeking to find new and underreported stories.
He also understood the power of writing for families in the free world, letting them know what’s happening to their loved ones. He knew that when they learned about the redemption and trans- formation happening inside San Quentin, families would reunite — bonds would be strengthened. He knew all of this, because that’s what happened to him when his daughter was born.
All of Arnulfo’s time spent in San Quentin, and the short time thereafter, was full of redemption and transformation — so much so that when I read what Jeff Rosen, district attorney for Santa Clara County said about him in his eulogy, I committed my- self to continuing Arnulfo’s dream of providing people an opportunity for change.
One of his most amazing achievements was encouraging San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon to create a Formerly Incarcerated Advisory Board.
Arnulfo always said that a person has to take responsibility for their past actions, be accountable, and once they do, they can change — they can be rehabilitated. Arnulfo believed in leaving the door open for people to have second chances. It is those kinds of stories that he loved telling.
Though it’s been a year, it seems like yesterday that he was here.
The paper continues to grow, videos are being produced, a magazine was launched and staffers are looking at their futures, beyond the bars.
Prisoners, teachers, professors, advisers, volunteers, students, prison administrators, correctional officers, counselors, doctors and nurses — all who knew this kind and generous man wish him to rest in peace.
In December 2017, Garcia’s family began the Arnulfo T. Garcia Foundation to carry on Arnulfo’s dream. Supported by the Horse Club Foundation and the Con-Ex Restorative Justice Project, the Arnulfo T. Garcia Foundation is developing its initial program of a horse ranch style reentry facility.