To the Youth of the Bay Area,
My name is Chang Moon and I am a prisoner in the California State Prison System. I have been here for a few years, and have to say that this has been the hardest and most difficult moment of my life. My story is different from many of the other people in here. I was not involved with gangs, and spent most of my life as a law abiding citizen. The truth is that life is so unpredictable that anything can happen. In life, the most importnat thing is to make sure you think before you do things. People always talk about second chances, but sometimes, the chances run out.
I am writing in hopes that maybe I can help a few of you to make the right choices in life. When we are young we always want to grow up so fast and have many things that adults have. We always seem so in a rush and want to do so many things. But as we grow older, we realize that the things we most wanted in our youth are not so important now. Family in time comes to mean more than friends. And money, when you’re my age, it no longer seems as important. I’m saying this because we always have to take the time to make the right decisions. Many of the things we do when we are young, they will influence who we become when we are older.
Coming to prison i have met some very good people. I was surprised that there were so may “regular” people housed here. I always thought prison was a place filled with the worst people in the world. This is not true. Many of the people here are good people, who just made some very bad decisions. What I am trying to say and help you to understand is that prison is real and a reality. Anyone can come here. You don’t need to be in gang, and you don’t have to kill somebody. All we have to do is make the wrong choices. A choice that many times, we will not be able to fix or change.
My experience here has been a very difficult one. I am old now, and in this world where there are young people everywhere, it was been very hard for me to adjust to life. I miss many things of life, mainly my family and my son. Last year I got cancer and I thought i was going to die without ever seeing my son again. Fortunately, I can now say that I am a cancer survivor. Going through therapy and chemo was hard and a struggle. I really thought I was going to die because the radiation made you feel that way. In saying this I would like to say that I would rather fight against cancer than have to be in prison forever. In prison, we lose our ability to choose. At least with cancer I have a choice. A choice to fight. A choice to live life.
In closing I would like to add this: please think before you act. I know your parents always tell you this, but you really have to. All the pressure you may feel growing up as a teen, one day all of that wil go away and you will look back on that moment in your life and really smile thinking about it. Make the right choices so you can live to see that day. Life is too short, and too precious to waste.