Please contact Lisa Lavaysse if you would like to purchase the full PDF or a printed copy of this issue.
Recently we asked our writers in our weekly juvenile hall writing
workshops to reflect on the upcoming Donald Trump presidency. We were quite surprised how many different opinions were shared. Some responded with angry commentaries, poetry and rap. Another pleaded for Americans to “give him a chance,” pointing out that as “wards of the state, if no one gives us a chance to change, how can we?”
Well, right before the holidays, we sent numerous “Trump” reaction
pieces to The Crime Report, based in New York City, to consider, and
yesterday we were informed that they picked up and posted an abridged and slightly edited selection. Their selection is different that what was featured by our friends at the JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange).
Guns played a detrimental part in my life because for a long time, that was my only understanding on how to deal with my issues and problems that I encounter on the streets. Guns were always perpetuated, as “that’s how you handle business”. This ideology ultimately led me to commit murder in gang violence because I wanted to be respected, accepted, and powerful. That ‘genius’ way of thinking cost me seventeen years and counting, of my life at the age of fteen.
My response to the popular pro-gun expression of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a sinister way to keep the focus off the guns.
There are a number of ways to kill someone without using guns so when a person is shot with a gun, that bullet(s) is the main reason why that person(s) is dying or hurting.
On a rainy Thursday in December my twin brother and I made a decision that we both regret. We’d been smoking and drinking with some girls, and, when we were about to walk home in the rain, my brother said, “Let’s get picked up.” I said, “Nah. Let’s walk. Mom’s probably sleeping.” He called her anyway. Then, when she was on her way, I saw an old “friend” who jumped me back in August. My brother told me not to confront him, but I didn’t listen. I regret that decision every minute of every day.
Being separated from my mom and my little brother hurts my heart. I pray to God a lot, everyday, to forgive me and to let me and my twin brother go home on GPS or supervision. I just want to see my loved ones again. I hope they all forgive me—my twin for what I’ve gotten him into, my mom for breaking her heart and my little brother for not being there to play with him. Every time I call home and hear my mom’s or my little brother’s voice, I cry, asking them for forgiveness. When I get out, I’m going to get a job and turn my life around.
Happy New Year all!
Wow, like our friends over at the Juvenile Justice Information
Exchange, The Crime Report, based in New York City, picked up and is
featuring on their site their favorite “Dear President Obama” pieces
from The Beat Within and are featuring these standout pieces today. We
must say, they did an outstanding job with the spread on their site.
A couple months ago one of our writing prompts in our weekly writings
workshops inside juvenile hall, county jail and state prison was a
“Letter to President Obama.” We were overwhelmed by the response from
our many writers, and are so humbled that our friends at not only the
JJIE but The Crime Report picked up and is sharing these words with
their community of readers and followers.
Our prompt was written as… Letter to President Obama – This January
2017, President Barrack Obama, our first African American president,
will be leaving office. We want you to take a moment to share your
thoughts with the President. Introduce yourself and explain why you
are writing. Let him know your concerns. Offer your thoughts on a
current issue, and express your support or constructive
criticism. Share your truths about the last 8 years he has been our
commander and chief. Come from your heart and thank him for his
amazing service, or let him know your disappointment. Dear President