Takia “Judah” Parham Part 1: Background, Struggles and Identity
At age 28, after returning home from Operation Iraqi Freedom and getting into a car accident, combat veteran Takia “Judah” Parham allegedly stabbed a woman with whom she had served in the military and with whom she had been intimately involved. (It is unclear as to whether the involvement was, at some point, voluntary.) Parham pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder and spent five-and-a-half years at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security facility for women in upstate New York. At Bedford Hills, Parham became involved with Rehabilitation in the Arts, a non-profit organization that runs arts programming in prisons to “develop social and cognitive skills that prisoners need for successful reintegration into the community.” Parham participated in plays RTA produced and also took poetry, hip hop, and comedy classes through the program. She was released from prison in December 2016. One of her poems will soon be featured on the Six by Eight website.
On her name and Faith
“I’m Takia Parham. I’m also known as Judah. I go by that name, and I will probably forget my first name I hear Judah so much.
My nickname was Tip, meaning Takia Israel Parham. When I got to jail in 2010, someone named Tiffany was there, and they called her Tip. So, I began reading the Bible, and I liked the ring of Judah and all that it detailed. It’s not only a place or a group of people, but it has a large history to Christians and Jewish people.”
“I am [a person of faith]. At this point, it’s spirituality. I study a lot of different religions. I have all of my life. It’s seeking myself also. I have come to a comfortable place where my beliefs are just my beliefs. It doesn’t necessarily condemn or judge me; it’s just part of my faith and believing that I got through most of the stuff that I got through in life because there was a higher power that wasn’t banging a gavel on me but getting me through some of the roughest times.”