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by Eddie “Edito” DeWeaver
Witnessing my father experience negative contact with law enforcement helped to form the false belief system of a fourteen- year-old, “that nothing I could do would change the world.” At that time, I had no idea how far I was away from the truth. Now sitting in this prison cell, I can say that I did change the world…for the bad. Fortunately, my story continues to get better, as I began to rst take responsibility for my past, and also, to believe in my power to impact the future…for the good.
When it comes to voting, if you believe that what you do today will change the future, then you must vote with purpose. However, if you don’t believe that your vote will impact your world, then I challenge you to follow the money! When you investigate and nd out how much money is spent in elections you will be forced to recognize that your vote really does count, for all of this money spent in elections is to get your vote. Never believe the lie that one vote, your vote, does not count. It is your civic duty not to allow people who are not concerned about your wellbeing to decide your future. Your vote will change the world.
I’m tired of being here to be honest. Coming here over and over is not cool at all. I wake up every day and ask myself, “How did I get here?” I never thought that I would ever be here. I’m tired of this street life. I’m tired of watching over my shoulder everywhere I go because of the things I’ve done to people in the past. I can’t leave my house without having a gun with me because there’s people that want to take my life because of my poor decisions.
Before my other brother got shot in a dice game, I didn’t have to worry about anything. Once my brother died that’s when my life started to go downhill. I started out all night, I started selling drugs, buying guns, and my anger began to get worse. I don’t trust people like I used to because you’ll never know when somebody will try to set you up. I’m tired of being talked about. Nobody knows what I go through or knows what I’ve been through.
by Dortell Williams
Some time ago, I got a call to the dentist’s of ce. I wasn’t expecting a call; I had no problems or complaints. But when staff calls, you know you gotta go check it out. So I went in there and there they were: the dentist and two assistants. Nothing unusual about that. The odd thing was that they were all smiling- and looking at me! Now you know that’s weird, at least on this side of the wall. To be polite, I smiled likewise.
The shorter nurse with glasses said I looked confused, but maintained her Mickey Mouse smile. So I responded, “Well, you all are really smiling in here, and coming from the darkness of the yard, it’s like something out of the Twilight Zone.” They laughed.
The taller one, with the model-face features says, in a happy tone of a game show host, “You’ll be 50-ttttttyyy pretty soon! That means we’ll see you eveeeeery yeaaar!” (Under 50, it’s every two years). I thought the whole presentation was really odd, but it was funny and I will never forget it. But they weren’t nished.
Anxiety will ruin you and being locked up doesn’t make it any better. The counselors act like they understand what you’re going through. They think locking me up in a small room with no windows will help calm me down. I can’t just breath through my anxieties, it’s not that easy. I’m sitting here shaking, crying, heart pounding and I can’t catch my breath. The staff just tells me it’s going to be okay.
Now, it’s not going to be okay. I am sitting in Juvenile Hall after the most traumatic experience of my life. Not knowing what is going to happen. Nothing is okay, I can feel my body getting tense. My stomach feels like my insides are being ripped out. They act like they’re giving me so much support but I have never felt so alone in my life. I am the one with anxiety this intense and it is killing me. I am worrying about things that don’t even exist. Anxiety will completely ruin you, physically and mentally.
One of the most anticipated literary nights of the year, San Francisco’s world-famous Lit Crawl attracts close to 10,000 people, and features over 400 authors in just three hours. Lit Crawl brings literature to the streets, featuring smart and silly, worldly and wacky events in venues usual (bars, cafes, galleries, and bookstores) and unusual (police stations, tattoo parlors, barbershops, and erotica boutiques).
For 20 years, the Beat Within has been publishing the soul-stirring poetry and essays of kids locked in juvenile hall in and outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Come learn about this extraordinary program, get inspired, and learn how you can help!
Please join us to celebrate 20 years of Giving Voice to the Voiceless!
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Lit Crawl Location, Scholar Match at 849 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA
Topics will be presented for teens to discuss and write about. The writing can then be submitted for possible publication in The Beat Within – a magazine of youth writing and art from the inside.
3:30-4:45PM every 1st & 3rd Friday
FOOD! (if you arrive at 3:30PM)
The latest issue of The Beat Within will be available for those who submit to the magazine!
Oakland, CA 94605Phone: (510) 615-5726