Dear The Beat Within Readers / Prison Letters for Our Struggling Youth

by Johnny Rodriguez

May this letter be well received in a few years. I am humbly proud to return praying my letter and motivational poem touches your hearts and opens you up to the sobering facts of life.

In December of 2013, almost three years ago, I lost a new, yet dear, friend, Alicia. At only fourteen she had been dealing with hardship of a broken home, gangs, and school. She was mercilessly gunned down in the drug and gang infested streets of Compton, California, before even having had the chance to mature out of that wayward life.

Within the time I was blessed to get to know Alicia, I discovered a young female who had lost her mom much too soon. While she had a loving father, to my knowledge, it was not enough to keep her from seeking a family and a meaning from a gang. She matured way too fast for her age and ended up a delinquent.

I was blessed to know that despite this, she still envisioned herself as someone working in the medical field in the future. I began to help to reinforce her visions of her short and long-term goals as best I could. The day before Alicia was robbed of her life, I found out that she had gotten kicked out of school. She reassured me that, “It’s on me, I’ll get back in school.” I told her not to become another statistic, but the very next day, the gift to the world that was Alicia Gomez was gone.

I can only imagine her potential or the possible indifference that her life could have had. This is why I pray that you young individuals learn to give yourselves the relativistic, sober, and fighting chance that you deserve, by learning how to better and improve yourselves. You can do this, even in the midst of hardship and all that life will face you with and all that you will face life with.

I know you young individuals are forced to live in drug and gang infested environments and are learning how to cope and function to the best of your ability. I pray that you go further by learning how to minimize your adversities, conflicts, and temptations. I pray that you continue surviving in those war torn environments.

Hardship is part of life. It is not limited to one individual, but that doesn’t mean we have to compound hardship while your developing inner focus and stability. Your healthy character that defines you as an individual that you are consciously developing is what you will be remembered by, living or dead.

We are all born poor in spirit but we don’t stay poor in thinking, believing, communicating, behaving, existing, and co-existing. Your own conscious effort will prove your sincerity with yourself, knowing you are not perfect. But nor can you use your imperfections as an excuse to be irresponsible for the rest of your life.

Life’s not fair and it’s too damn short and precious to miss out on discovering your true potential and the realities that will affect every aspect of your life and others around you, when you have self-motivating, free will.

I am enclosing a motivational poem, entitled “Why do I Not Want to Live a Pre-Mature Life.” I pray that it really reinforces this letter, touching our hearts appropriately, so that you truly understand your own Beat Within. I hope that you give yourself what’s livingly possible because you really believe in you. You must believe in yourself to make informed choices and decisions.

Thank you for giving me this precious opportunity to reach some of you who are learning how to reach yourselves and others open to personal growth and lifelong learning skills. I am humbly grateful. Until I return again, stay strong, focused, and directed.

In loving memory of Alicia, may she rest in peace.