Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Between These Walls

Here I am in this room
surrounded by four walls
and with no way to go home.
I see people leave
this place but weeks later
they're back again. But
day and night I pray to God
to please keep my family
safe and strong.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Letter to Maria Reyes (No. 4)

Dear Ms. Maria Reyes,

Yesterday when you told us about your speech about personal things that happen in your life it was dramatic, reality, and emotional. You are a strong woman because you have to live day and day out in a neighborhood that has nothing but violence and drugs, and on top of that you are a 3rd Generation Gang banger back in the day. The speech you gave us inspired me ever since I left the gym because I know things happen for a reason but I don’t want to be locked up anymore. I want a better future for myself. That same night I was thinking of what you said that your moms had to do 3 jobs just to pay the bills but also sometimes she even paid all of her rent and your pops was going in and out of prison. That hit me like a million bullets shooting through my body because I’m thankful that I have clothes behind my back and shelter for me to live in. But sometimes I wonder how it feels to be poor and banging on the streets because I gotten into so much trouble lately and I need a good punishment for my actions. I thank you for coming down to the detention center and telling us about your experience in life because when I get out of this joint I’m going to do the best I can to change my life cause I don’t want to be separated from my family and friends anymore. I wish you the best of luck and hope that your neighborhood changes for the next generation! But I got one question for you, if you would ever go back to the past to change anything what would it be and why? Be safe out there.


Letter to Maria Reyes, Number 3

Dear Maria Reyes,

Well first of all I want to say thank you for taking some time off and coming to talk to all of us. Once again thank you for coming….

By the way my name is [Juan] , and I’m 17 years old, I’m from CALIFORNIA, SANTA ANA. I guess we have something in common don’t you think? We are both from the same state. Anyways, Maria I want to tell you somethings about my personal life, because I think that I’m living the same life that you lived a couple of years ago. My life at this point is kind of hard and pretty much I been struggling with it. I know life is a risk but some times it gets too risky, don’t you think? Well I been in my gang for five years, I was jumped in since I was eleven years old, since that point on I been in juvenile hall four times with this one…I been doing things that affect me and my family, and only because of the homeboys. Maria I been trying to get away from the gang, and from the homeboys and most of all from those temptations that get me in to a lot of trouble, but I can’t, and you should have and idea of how life is for gang members, don’t you? Once your in, there is only one way out, one is either death or do life in prison, but that is what the homeboys say when you get jumped in, I still remember those words. But I have a big feeling that there is another way out, but is to hard for me to realize what way is it going to be. I gotta admit that you were a tough girl to do what you did, knowing what could happen to you, and hey you did the rite thing... the day that you came to talk to all of us, you open up my eyes with those words that you said to us, your words got me thinking a lot and they made me realize the truth… I know that we are not different from each other, we are the same, except with one exception I’m a vato and you’re a woman, and if you changed your life around, that means that I can do it too, by doing the same thing that you did, and that’s by doing the ‘’Right Thing’’.

By the way Maria as I’m writing you this letter the class and I are watching the ‘’Freedom Writers Movie’’ and to be honest I love the movie a lot... it shows a lot of racism and how young people like us can change everything around if we work together.. I like the book too, but the first time I read it, it got me confused, but after I saw the movie, I understood everything that happen in the book... Well Maria this is all I want to say to you, and it was an honor to meet you, on the real I got happy to know that you were coming to talk to us, once again ‘’THANK YOU’’ and it was a pleasure to meet you… take care and keep your head up…

P.S… with love & respect, hopefully you write back:)

Freedom Fighter

A young black girl with hopes and dreams
trying to make her way through by any means
she was stuck in a world with sex and lies
at night she couldn't go to sleep cause all she do is cry
she was filled with pain and sorrow
thinking to herself can she live for tomorrow
she wouldn't listen to her mother
no father was near
she has no hope only filled with fear
she was known for sitting along
a smile? HA! That never shown
she saw something that was stuck in her mind
thinking about it time after time
she tries to hide it, she has given up
as she says to herself, "Life sucks!"
F***! is there no luck?
she sleeps her mind away to be
she says her dreams is better than reality
nightmare the dark is ligher
dreams she is a freedom fighter!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second Letter to Maria

Dear Ms. Maria,

My name is [withheld] and I appreciated you coming in and talking to us. I am in a gang also and part of me wants to leave all that alone but at the same time it is a huge part of my life. I felt like you were telling my story over but just a little different.
When you made the statement about not being apart of that gang and disowning them, it sort of inspired me like big time. I thought about all the girls my age that loved being a crip. (Oh, that’s the gang I’m in). Anyway, including me we rep it hard and we make it seem like that’s all we want to do when we get older. Get pregnant, rep our gang, smoke, drink, party…blah blah blah. But I don’t want that, I want to be a nurse practioner, I want to be respected for the things I’ve done not the people I’ve hurt or killed. Only thing is right now I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. I feel like I just want to give up (I also feel like I am rambling in this letter).
Anyway, before I pour my heart out to you and embarrass myself I just wanted to again thank you for coming in and sharing with us your words of wisdom. Each time I get passes from my group home and go around my old hanging spots I will remember you and push myself to do the right thing no matter what.

Yours Truly,
Anonymous 2

First Letter to Maria Reyes, Freedom Writer

Dear Maria Reyes,
Hello my name is [anonymous] the one, who asked where you got your jeans from, and I want to thank you for coming and talking to us about how you made it and that you didn’t give up. It takes a lot of courage to come all this way to talk to us.
You have made me think about my life and think do I really want to be this person people think I am. I have been through a lot and how I’m going to make it, I feel I can do it from your experience. You said that you didn’t like school that much and I hate school but I need it to be better if I want to get somewhere in life. I’m not that good in typing letters so, I just want to thank you a lot and you helped me see something different in my life that I didn’t know I had. You changed the way I see things. Talk soon.

A Civilized Person

In my days here in the New Beginnings Program, I've learned a lot. I've worked on my gang involvement, my anger, respecting authority figures. This program helped me with a lot. Now I have 35 days left in here. I'm going home soon. Now I'm working on getting my home pass and going back to school. This program showed me my positive side. I been here for 7 months. For these 5 months, I worked hard. My pride is my downfall and that's that's the one thing even when I get out I will still work on. I never thought that I will change but these six months helped me understand who I was and who I want to be. So from dis forth I'm no long psycho but a regular human being, a civilized person.

To Be Great

To be great
but misunderstood
no one knows what going on
everything is too great
but people don't understand
me I'm talking to a brick wall
you don't understand the pain I'm
feeling, but you can see me crying, don't
tell me how I feel, and don't say you understand
because you don't know my pain. You
misunderstand what I just said, you don't know
my pain, I hate that being in jail make
me feel this way, go away, I just want
to fly away. I'm misunderstood but life
is great.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Pain behind my eyes, scared to cry
pain because I can't show weakness
pain for me being gone
pain for wasting my life, four and a half years blown
pain not being cared for, by no one, not even at home
I got pain for being left behind
something like a lost memory in the back of someone's mind
pain from the fights, all the blood that's been
pain is something that seems to love me but
when it comes in many forms it hurts times 3
pain is my everything because it's
the only thing I'm familiar to,
it's just something that's a part of me
but my pain grows
it grows blind to me because no one sees
no one else feels the pain I hold inside of me

Monday, November 9, 2009

L.O.V.E. (my little brother)

For me I have to say that out of anything in the world, I love my little brother Shakur the most. The reason I love him the most is because anything I do, no matter if I'm right or wrong, he still takes up for me because he knows I love him and that show me he loves me too. I take up for him all the time too. Sometimes we fight and argue but then next thing you know is that we are playing around with each other again. He also gets on my nerves sometimes too and I know from being his big brother that I get on his nerves sometimes too. He also knows that I wouldn't let anything in the world happen to him. He knows that if anyone older than him no matter what age they are messes with him he knows who to call. My little brother Shakur, my little bud and best friend. I love you lil bruh!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Everyone makes good and bad choices. Most of the choices I make when I think about it are bad. I know they were bad because they landed me in here. JDC. Even I know why the choices I make gets me in trouble and that's because I never think! I don't never try to think about the consequences, or how the victim would react. The only thing I thought about was the idea of doing bad things. When I look back I think about what would have happened if I didn't do what I did, the chances of me coming here would be less. I just want to apologize to everyone I ever offended and ever hurt.

Real Talk

This place beat me
up my head hurts
back hurts my legs
hurt my chest hurts
I'm hurt so when
I get out I will
refresh myself with
all new things new
people new places
brand new person
Real Talk

Free Time!

In my free time, I like to draw. I think that I'm good at art. I take art classes every year just so I could get better at what I like to do. My parents think I am a really good drawer too. If it's good they congratulate me, and if it's bad they talk to me because they know I could do better. My parents show a lot of love for me. Every visiting day I never have to worry because I know that my parents are coming to check and see if I'm ok. If my parents don't come to a visit, I know that they had to be somewhere very important because this time I only was sentenced ten days and my parents told me that they will be at every visit. I can't wait until the 5th of Nov. because that's when I get released. November 5th at 4. It seems that I been in here forever but I only been in here three days. I have 7 days to go. I wish they hurry so they could be over with.


"To be great is to be misunderstood" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think that when great, you have people that think you're inadequate. They put you in society's media stereotypes and say that you will never amount to anything. People don't understand where you're coming from and misplace you in a columnized stereotype from where you come from, your race, religion, and all these other things that have nothing to do with you educationally. Society labels you as illiterate but when you succeed they are confused and they misunderstand who we are. Don't judge us if you don't want to be put on the stand.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pale as Paper

Today is just another boring day like every other, just waiting for it to go by. I wish I could feel the cold air of the outside rush past my body. I'll do anything at this point just to breathe the air outside. If I could I'll run butt naked outside. It's been so long that I feel like I'm going as pale as a damn paper.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Changing Within All My Challenges

My Thoughts

My love for music. My love for being free. I can’t take all this constructive control.

I want to go home and be free like a bird without a tracking device attached to my ankle and have to tell “master” everywhere I go and everything that I do. That gets to me like, I wish I could just rewind time all over again and just start over. I wish I had a time machine and I could go back to the times where I messed up and choose a different way of how I did things and just think; wait this is truly the only time I have actually stopped and thought about what I did wrong and instead of blaming every body else for my mistakes, I’m blaming myself. Man I am actually growing and becoming the true person I really am and don’t have to sugar-coat anything like I would do all the time. I miss my mom and can’t wait to go home so I can just start over and get everything that I’ve done out on the table with my mom and don’t have to think about everything, every day, every minute. I am ready to change because I am changing within all my challenges.