Having grown up as a self-confessed “army brat”, Gloria was unprepared for the abuse and racism that followed her family's move to Alabama. 

Her mother later moved the family again, this time to California for a fresh start in a supposedly unprejudiced place. But the racism continued and it was here Gloria's “self esteem was snatched from” her. 

Following these experiences, Gloria’s low self-esteem developed into anger and a dependence on alcohol and substance abuse – addictions which spiralled out of control. She was later admitted into juvenile detention.

How long are you going to continue to tear your life apart?

These were the words that forced Gloria to recognise that for the first time in her life, she was not being chased by anyone – she was the only person causing herself damage.

Gloria returned to school and studied to become a substance abuse transition counsellor, later working as a member of the Reentry Staff at Ironwood State Prison, commited to helping others fulfill their potential too.

"I come back to let you know infinite possibilities are possible." 

Watch the above TEDx talk to hear the full story

In 2014 Richard Branson visited Ironwood State Prison to attend California's first TEDx inside a prison. It was during this event Gloria Bridgett shared her talk, 'Whose foot is on my neck?" which you watch above.

"From separation to togetherness. From punishment to rehabilitation. From despair to hope. I am fortunate to enjoy all kinds of experiences, but few have been as transformative and moving as the first ever TEDx talk held in a California Prison. 

"These are just some of the stories of the men and women who have been dramatically affected by prison, and how they are turning their lives around. However, they have true purpose. They are reflections of our humanity and reminders of how fragile freedom is, how beautiful hope is, and how all of our futures have infinite possibilities." - Richard Branson