Greetings Beat lovers. It’s an incredible honor to Though I now understand how to deal with what sometimes have this sixty-page publication in your hands and these words being read by you today/tonight. It is hard to believe this is issue 19.45/46! Wow, what a fabulous issue to share with you all too. There are so many solid contributions to read and be inspired by, as well as pieces that simply strike a nerve of sadness and pain. We cannot thank you contributors enough for the love you share with us each week in our workshops and those of you who write to us independently, how fortunate we are to have you in our circle. We appreciate you, thank you.
This editor is struggling with guilt, given the backlog of writings and letters sent, in need of a response this past year. Time is not working on our side. This tiny little program, that may appear to some to be a big ol’ organization, does so much beyond our resources, but in the end, it is never enough. One thing for sure, we certainly wish we could keep up with all the requests. Speaking of requests, tonight as we were working on this latest issue, this amazing letter, which was typed early in 2014 came to our attention. The sad part, the person who wrote this letter, we no longer have his address. Ugh. No, we do not have his CDC # either. The address and original writings were lost, but we are determined to find an address for this writer.
With that said, we would like to share this letter with you editorial note readers, it was written by a young man named Bobby Gonz. We first met Bobby, in the late 90s, when he was 16 years old. At the time, he was being tried as an adult and was housed in the max unit in Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. He was an incredibly respectful artist who would participate in our workshops each week. Given he was being tried as an adult, we had the opportunity to work with him for well over a year, maybe two! Without further ado, we give you an excerpt from his letter…
Sorry for the long delay. Man, if only I could tell you how
much I’ve pulled through these past ten years and how The Beat Within has played a part in keepin’ my mind at peace with being me.
Ever since those workshops in (Santa Clara County) Juvie and our lil conversations we would have about writing. What I felt and how much you believed in what I had to say. I never stopped! I’ve grown and grown to the point where certain aspects of my dreams are now a reality.
This past year I’ve gained acknowledgement from (the prison) administration as well as specific officials in Sacramento through the Mental Health Music Art Therapy Group that I facilitate here. We’ve gone on to perform private shows – band and all! I’m talking quality sound, man, no lie!!
Our performances have been filmed and they play on the prison channel here for the whole population, about 4000 viewers and I feel blessed to be in conversation about how to get what we’re doing in every prison throughout the state.
Little by little it’s all coming together and I just have so many to be thankful for. You have always been one to support the young caught up in the system. The Beat Within has always believed in the youth, even as we didn’t know how to believe in ourselves.
I am not going to stop! I’ve created Getaway Muzic Group to bring consciousness to the minds stuck behind these walls. Through hip-hop I’m getting the message you gave to me, across to the most difficult to reach. It is not easy.
seems like a losing battle. I believe there is One Light. Like a candle lighting another, Dave, you’ve inspired me years ago to keep on writing.
In the middle of getting charged as an adult at 16 and the drama of what I was brainwashed to think, The Beat spoke to me, without judgment, like a friend, a lil brother and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Endure. Take care. God bless,
AKA the quiet lil rhyme writer in B8 (max unit) who Mr.
Crockett used to watch like a hawk
Written from Pleasant Valley State Prison, Coalinga, CA
How touching to say the least. Now, our detective work has just begun. We will find Bobby’s information so we too can thank him for the love he has shared with us all. Better late than never, right!
Much love to you all and your incredible patience with us at The Beat Within. We’re far from perfect, but please know, we always put our best foot forward with all good intentions. Enjoy this latest issue of writing and art from the inside, it’s our gift to you.
As this publication gets ready for print, the Michael Brown verdict in Ferguson, Missouri has just been announced and it pains us to read what has gone down. We appreciate you peaceful protesters, not the looters and rioters, but those who are making a real statement in solidarity, despite the grief from the news that came out of that courthouse the other day.
For most of us, this is not the America we want. Too many of you contributors know this ugliness too well and this criminal justice system needs to be fixed. As one person from the ACLU said, “it feels like a hopeless moment, but a hopeless moment can be a seed for change. We’re angry and mourning today, yet we need to make this the turning point. We need to fix the system. We need to make this the America we want.”
We couldn’t agree more, it starts with you, one voice, one story, one truth. Take charge and lead not follow. Keep us posted on you. We care, as do our many readers and friends.
See you all soon…