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by Todd Williams
The benefits of education are undeniable in my eyes. As a child I was taught the importance of education. I saw the results of what education could do for an individual. I saw the benefits of education in my own home, in society and most of all in my life. Granted, this realization was not an instant one. Education has been my sanctuary, the place where I could go and feel safe, and find a degree of acceptance.
My educational experience as a child, was what motivated me to explore higher education as an adult. Education has proved to be the foundation upon which my life is built and the place where my passion lies.
As a child I was introduces into a world that revolved aroud education. My earliest memories are of growing up in poverty in Oakland, California. I remember my dad was a janitor and my mom worked in a department store.
Mi pobre madre. I’m sorry for all I’ve done to you. You don’t deserve a thing that my brothers and I have put you through. You deserve nothing but the best. You’re the strongest person that I know, by far.
I know it wasn’t easy raising three troubled boys all alone. I remember those long days waiting for you to come home from work as a little kid. Now I wait for you to come visit me from this institution. I’ve put you through a lot since I was a little kid. Always going to school meetings and picking me up from school because I got suspended.
Don’t even get me started with my other brothers. As I sit in that visiting room waiting for you to walk through the metal door, excited yet nervous, just thinking of all the stuff I put you through. Despite my wrongs, you still manage to make time to see me at my worst. As I get up and give you a big hug and kiss to make up for the days I didn’t see you, I just think to myself, “I’m no alone.” It’s crazy to me how after all I’ve done, you still are right behind me, supporting me. That is when I feel the most guilty When you make everything look like it’s all right but deep down inside we both know it’s not.
by Eric Curtis
My inner voice – Is there a voice in your head that speaks to you, that encourages you to go forward or warn you to slow down? For example, have your homies ever asked you to do something, but a voice in your head told you not to do it? Did you listen to that voice? If not, what happened? Where does that inner voice come from? Does that voice still talk to you even now? What does it say?
For over an hour, Kevin was trying to talk James into breaking into someone’s house. James knew if he didn’t go through with it, Kevin probably wouldn’t want to hang out with him anymore. On top of that, Kevin might tell everybody at school the next day about how scared James was. That would be the worst, James thought.
Over the past summer, the two of them had done a lot: broken into a couple of cars, even set a few fires, but that was nothing compared to what Kevin wanted to do today. Twice James went home to use the bathroom, and twice James thought about not coming back. But he did.
I hate waking up in this cell knowing this is not a dream. I hate having the same damn food every day, even hearing the same ignorant voices and seeing the same faces. Drives me crazy, I feel like beating their heads, especially the ignorant ones.
Knowing that I’m going to be here a while sucks. I wish I can go home. After they find out that I’m innocent, I will sue them for everything they got, this shhh is so stupid.
When I get out, I plan to make some money, get the things I want and need. I hope when I get out I will be out of high school. Being out of high school is going to be great. All my friends have to go to school while I get to chill, drive around, get money, or start college.
I’m locked in a cell for a crime I did not commit. They want me to plead guilty, they say if I don’t I will be tried as an adult. I guess I got to do what needs to be done. I feel like I’m getting played this same bullshhh. I ask God every day, please give me the patience, and love and joy to get through this tribulation.
I have learned that being disrespectful gets me nowhere. I have learned to respect and love my parents for what they have done. I don’t want to live life hating them for all that they weren’t and lacked to do. I want to live life loving them for all that they did do.
I thank God for them. I have a mouth, and before I got locked up I did not give zero to one hundred shhhh’ about how I talked to my elders. Now I know that shhh talking them gets me nowhere. Communication will get me farther than what I would have thought. I had to learn the hard way.
When I get frustrated I tend to punch into my hand, walking back and forth. I slide my hands down my face as if I was about to tear it off. Then after, I try to smile and tell myself it’ll be okay. Most of the time a beer sounds good to calm the nerves, but not always will it be the solution. God has me though, I will be okay.
by Anthony “Aemys” Young
Where I went wrong in life, I made the choice to become a follower and be a part of a gang. I was always the type of person who didn’t care what the next person was doing, I did my own thing. When it came to school I loved it. I was a wonderful student, I also played sports basketball, football, and baseball. Through out my whole life gangs were always around me from family to friends but I always look passed that part of my life.
I was born June 10th 1992 in Gardena, California, my mother and father were strongly involved in my life, I have two older siblings and one younger brother and we all lived together in Compton, CA. My father was my best friend he was my baseball coach, and a supporting father, even though my father sold drugs and was a gang member he kept then thing from the household due to the respect of my mother and due to his family. My older brother was a gang member but I didn’t find out till I got older. My sister was a sport and school nerd as myself and younger brother. My family was a very close family until things went down hill due to a few deaths in my family.