This is for You:
This is to anyone that wants to hear it, but especially for those that need to hear it, to save their own life or at the least to save themelves, their family, and some innocent stranger from a lifetime of pain and suffering. I am speaking to you, who are unique and strong. You who are full of potential and wise. Yes… You, who are just one mistake, one decision away from being in Juvenile Hall or San Quentin. One mistake away from throwing away all the good and love you have to share with your family and loved ones.
This is to anyone that wants to hear it. My name doesn’t even matter. I am the guys in your neighborhood, the brother-father male figure that just disappeared one day, the name everyone still talks about on the streets but no longer exists- that’s me. That’s possibly you.
At seventeen I was charged as an adult and sentenced to State Prison for Murder. For my homeboys, for my set, for being down, my reward has been the last 21 years spent in prisons up and down the state. At 18 I was sent to Pelican Bay Prison, I got my G.E.D. while I was there. I can’t help thinking how I could have graduated from high school and went to my prom, instead of a cell and the craziness of having to deal with 1000 other killas.
The last 21 years have been a life paved in suffering. Suffering inflicted on the innocent victims that had the misfortune of encountering me, suffering of those that loved me, and my own suffering. I keep thinking if I just knew back then somehow what the consequences of my actions would result in, I would not have made such a reckless decision that triggered so much suffering for so long.
That is why I speak to you, because you need to hear this. I do not expect you to foretell the future, but I do expect you to want the best possible outcome in life for yourself and your family. That is why I speak to your from the road I traveled, from the road of those you knew who disappeared one day, from this road paved in suffering.
Let me warn you: it is harder and takes more heart to do the right thing than doing what you know is wrong. That is why I and many before me have taken this road, because I was more afraid of facing the challenges that come with success than the popularity of failure. That is why I dropped out of school in the 9th grade and why I was arrested seven times for sales and possession and sentenced to two camp terms beginning at the age of 14 to 17. That is why at 17 I was sentenced to life in State Prison. I have been free for about a year of life since the age of 14 years old to my current age of 38. I have spent more time of my life of this earth in institutions then I have on the streets.
This is why I write to you. If you don’t want to be me, if you don’t want to tell this same story 20 years from now, you have to value your own life. You must do what is necesary to save your own life. Too many of us say how “we would die for our family” and yet our family if asked would want us instead to “live for them” and to fulfill the potential they know we have in us to suceed and to do good in the world. Our families are the true models of loyalty and love. Our families, who we often overlook, who we often neglect when we misplace our loyalties, who always have our best interests at heart even when we disagree with their decisions for us. Our families don’t ask for our death to prove loyalty, they don’t ask us to go to prison to prove our loyalty, they don’t ask us to destroy our future to prove our love, they are the most deserving of our loyalty, love and honor. Honor them by living for them, by doing the right thing, by facing the hardships of success.
This is why I speak to you. You, who I have never met, who I don’t know. You, who I once was and who I do not want to suffer like I have suffered. I speak to you, because no one was there to speak to me and warn me of the perils of being cool…