19.43/44 Editor’s Note

Given we are knee-deep into November, it’s Veteran’s Day, can we say, what a year, or shall we wait until we are a few days into December? First off, this editor and we hope the whole Beat team is quite proud of all of our accomplishments this past year, despite having to yet again rebirth our program.  A year ago at this time, we were not too sure what was going to transpire with the program’s workshops and the publication, but we persevered and as we are writing this editorial note, find ourselves in an even better place than we were in the last few years.

This year so far, we have conducted well over 40 plus workshops striving for 50, and as you see on this publication, we are publishing issues 19.43 and 19.44 for 2014!  If all goes as planned we will be publishing issues 19.49 and 19.50 the week of December 22. Given we are volunteer driven, we continue to hold monthly orientations for those interested in leading workshops inside juvenile hall.  Daily, we strive to build our network of friends and supporters, open to partner and share in the good work. You all know, it’s so much easier to do this good work with others than to be in your own silo. Plus, most importantly, we must always find time to fundraise and seek support to sustain the work.

If this editor has one guilty feeling, reflecting back on 2014 it is the lack of response to the many letters directed towards me.  It is a horrible feeling to know, there are letters and requests to fulfill.  Certainly, this editor’s goal is to respond and update all of you who have so kindly given your hearts and time towards the work of The Beat Within.

As for this special issue, we are so thrilled to bring you some incredible writings from our workshops.  It is a first to have our new friends from Eugene, Oregon featured alongside our long time friends in Portland Oregon.  It is always a treat to have San Bernardino, California inside as well as the voices from Los Angeles, California.  We are equally thrilled to have our new friends from Roswell, New Mexico. Speaking of New Mexico, it is our hope to have Bernalillo County back in The Beat in 2015, as well as Fresno County in California. We certainly miss both these sites and the many voices of the young people within the walls of the system. For now, we know you will embrace the writings from Hawaii to San Francisco, to Santa Cruz, to Washington DC. We are so impressed by the commitment of you writers and most importantly those facilitators who bring The Beat into these respected halls.  It is not easy. To do so, we must have money and support, so to hear that the Youth Arts Alliance in Michigan, who has been leading workshops with us for two years now, has budgeted enough money to include The Beat again in 2015, that makes us quite happy. The Youth Arts Alliance goes into several juvenile detention facilities, plus works out in the community.  It also makes us happy to hear that other sites are doing their best to find money to sustain the good work we have been doing week in and week out since 1996.  We now must stress we are nowhere close to relaxing, we must push each day to find new allies and new ways to support our work as we approach not only the new year, but 2016, our 20th year of giving voice to the voiceless.

Before we send you off to read this magnificent publication, it is a must to recognize the batch of BWO writers this week.  We are so humbled and touched by all of you, but most definitely our elders who reached out to us to share their truths. What would our lives be like without the love, support and wisdom of our elders? Thank you all for taking the time to share and teach. We already cannot wait for your next contribution(s).

All right, given the love Kid CAT has expressed to us this past year and all the potential in building and maintaining a solid partnership with the men, juvenile lifers, in San Quentin State Prison. We want to salute you and dedicate this issue to all you writers who submitted pieces to us.  We are honored and humbled to include your stories in this issue and future issues. A big thank you, to Miguel Quezada for taking the lead on this from his end and connecting us all.  We hope you enjoy the stories inside this latest issue of The Beat Within.