Monday I had a rare chance to observe proceedings at the juvenile court in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It was a great experience for me. It gave me a perspective into my former self. I had a great opportunity to see how much I have grown and matured. I am not a person who likes to preach, but thank God I changed. If I had not changed my ways, I would be like some of the young men and women I saw yesterday. It was a little discouraging. There were children as young as eight-years-old and eleven-year-old in there. I thought to myself, “What would an eight or eleven-year-old be doing there?” They should be innocent babies. There were young men around my age and younger appearing before the judge for weapons possession and drug possession charges, along with the use of those substances. A lot of them are on electronic monitors and have freedom, but is that freedom? There were also people there because they had violated their parole and probation. What really surprised me most was the serious nature of some of their offenses.
What really makes it sad is that a lot of them were second time or repeat offenders. I am so glad I seized my second chance. I am glad I saw the open door, that window of opportunity, took it, and did not turn back. I would again like to thank the Renaissance Community Development Center for opening the door, being that second chance, and ultimately providing that light at the end of the tunnel. I would also like to thank “Beyond the Bricks” and Washington Koen Media Productions for being the outlet to share my second chance and giving my story a voice. People like me are looked over when the time comes to share their stories because we look a certain way. Again thank you. I think because of the documentary I’ve become a better person and it keeps me honest; because now I don’t have a few people watching over, and wanting and expecting the best of me. I have thousands. It feels great to know that you are significant and that you have a support system of people who want to see you do well. Thank you to those who have supported me and those who continue to support me. As always, remember to
“Be the change you want to see.”