The raw truth based off my observations and experiences.
The lives of justice-involved youth are just as valuable as other youth. There is no throwaway youth. The golden question is how do I make a youth see value in themselves? The platinum question is how do I get them to critically analyze the values or philosophies that made them justice-involved?
Credible Messenger is a term and a movement that gains its archetype from people like Dr. Divine Pryor, my friend and unofficial mentor as well as the great late Eddie Ellis, the founder of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions who presented the Seven Neighbor Study which identified 7 NYC neighborhoods that accounted for over 75% of Black and Brown NYS incarcerated population.
What does a Credible Messenger embody? A formerly incarcerated person with a prison story and street credibility? Or one with transformed thinking, behavior who is showing the results in their life? If the bar is set too low, we will get poverty pimps that followed the money from Civil Rights Era initiated programs. If we set the bar too high, we will miss those that are applying their transformed thinking in real-time; and lack some of the socio-political networking and job skills that are desired.
A key Credible Messenger factor should be integrity. This could be surmised from their current viewpoint, personal growth initiative, and future outlook as well as steps they have taken to transform a criminal mentality and the why behind it. It will be the governing principles in their lives.
The nonprofits that value the Credible Messenger skillset; should place them in positions to develop and advance beyond entry-level positions. City politicians need to do a better job in identifying grassroots lead Credible Messenger organizations and give them funding on the same level of non-Credible Messenger lead organizations.
What does a Credible Messenger look like? Like you! A person with an earnest desire to help justice-involved youth transform their thinking, analyze their philosophy, and modify their behavior to be the best version of themselves.
If you found value in the article donations are welcomed:
I was sitting in the parole building waiting to be called by my Parole Officer (PO). I was like damn when is this shit going to be over with. I hated going to parole and hearing people conversation that floated in my ear. It made reading difficult because of the noise distraction and I could not block it out with music because phones have to be off.
Two hours had passed, and I was getting restless. The only good thought I had was at least I only reported every 3 months. My PO called another person. I am wondering how many people before me since I got there at 10 am. Another hour past before she called me. I shot passed her to where the drug test kits were at and ask do you need urine because I was not tested last time I came. She said, “No, you are going straight out the back door. You done.”
I paused and let that sunk in on the atomic level. “You done.”
The vision I had over the weekend was manifested before me in those words, “you done”.
My PO then said, “Virginia released you 2 weeks ago I am closing your file now.”
I didn’t bother to ask why you didn’t tell me before I came in or had me wait 3 hours knowing I was off parole. I didn’t care. I felt a sword was lifted from over my head. Since I was 17 years old, I was on some type of jail, probation, prison, and parole. At 44 years old I became my own man again. No more travel passes! No more home visits from the PO! And no more reporting to this building!
I no longer had to worry about walking on a razor blade edge and potentially losing my quasi-freedom and leaving my baby daughter without a father.
This is the opening to a current book I am working. I will be detailing my own reentry strategies and insights on how to get off parole early.
My other books are available now:
Prison Survival: Hell's Prism a memoir of my experience in prison.
The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self a fast pace Urban Political Street Thriller.
The world is lonely when you see from a different perspective. When others are move by sex, money, or social status they miss the Invisibles. The ones that know the only currency is character, principle, and integrity. I am one of them.
My daily struggle is to remain steadfast in a sea of falsehood. I exist on a thin graphite layer which contain the rage that bubbles beneath it. My smile hides the contempt I have for the spineless. The secret is my steel mask is steel. I am unmoved.
I move through society as a foreigner. I watch crumb eaters on social media pretending to be movers and shakers: Power players. I watch yellow backs display their ignorance through recorded crime. I am lost in this age where despots of stupidity are the new heroes and the Invisibles are the villains.
Some women behavior poorly matches the energy of reality TV talent less sex holes. But hey she a “Bad Bitch.” When was winning inspired by being nothing?
I watch life from a perch hidden, walk next
to people but I am not seen, and when I speak my words are ancient on regressed ears. I see pass them but the architect of low vibration ideas and thinking knows that Invisibles are a threat.
My DNA is coded from genomes from another era. My manhood different so I think militant and speak pleasant. My presence is felt after I’m gone…
Photo by Daniel Monteiro on Unsplash
Mallah-Divine (MD) Mallah is an author, blogger, youth specialist, and a community stakeholder. His contribution to the urban genre is The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self. He combines his passion for the streets and socio-political knowledge into a sub-genre called Urban Political Street Thriller. He considers himself the father of it.
His inspiration for writing this book was Sam Greenlee The Spook Who the Sat by the Door, all of George Jacksons writing, and Donald Goines Kenyatta series.
MD had read in an interview with Mario Puzo from the Godfather fame, that his inspiration for writing that book was not the Mafia. It was about a family that was in the Mafia and he wanted to humanize them. MD figure why cannot the same thing be done with thugs, hustlers, killers, and strippers; humanize them.
MD goes a step further because his book is saturated in the Black American Experience. It’s a what if type scenario. What if a former hustle/killer name Bo-Money do a bid, retrained his thinking, and be placed back in society bent on implementing Black Liberation Army (BLA) tactics? What conflict would arise from his former Get Busy Krew? They are sitting at the hierarchy of a national drug ring and expecting him to take the underboss position. His former hood (Bushwick, Brooklyn) has started to be gentrified and police violence is out of control. Everything calls him to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Each character in The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self represents an idea in the Black American ethos. He also incorporates the classic afro pick with the fist in the spirit of symbology. The descriptions of scenes are vividly real, characters are complex, and the dialogue is on point:
“The holes of time are crochet with lies. Each loop is a tear of deceit, but still we’ll drink treacherous things.” Max stated his nonsense philosophy at the conclusion of the story, then sipped on a bottle of Dom P.
My life changed after 30 hours of misery. But once I seen my little star in that warmer with her hat cocked to the side, I thought yeah, she going to be cool like her daddy. Right then something clicked in me. The seed that was planted 9 months prior had sprouted, rooted, and snaked vines of immense compassion in my emotional system.
I was moved. My body quivered internally because I knew now it’s real. I am a father! I have experienced happiness plenty of times, but I never experienced visceral joy until that moment. “ Go ahead and pick her up,” the doctor whispered. I didn’t hesitate I scooped up my newly birthed stardust. Her little eyes focused on me probably thinking who the hell is this. It doesn’t have no milk.
In that moment we connected. I became second and she became my primary concern. All I thought about was protecting her, education her, and facilitating her development (especially in STEM). I understood in that second why my mother said at the reveal party, “I am glad you are having a daughter.” I had not really soften up from doing that long prison bid. Even though, I was going on 4 years home. I still carried an extreme edge of discipline and a hard shell. I would have poured me into a son’s container. The mind I carried at the moment. Preparing him on a militant course before he developed his own personality.
My daughter had instantly cracked my veneer without even trying. I smiled freely and unconsciously for the first time in decades. I felt a piece of my humanity reawakening. I remembered a passage I had read that babies come with messages from the ancestors. I received mines.
A new uncharted journey of fatherhood had started for me. I had a model of a father in my own. And theories on the father I wanted to be. Now I have the chance to wrap my bundle of joy in unconditional love.
Cryptocurrency to most people seem like a fallacy, some a get rich scheme, or means for criminal figures to move money or extort businesses with ransomware. It may be all those things. But the reality is that the technology that underlines the major cryptocurrencies are being integrated into our systems slowly but surely. Also, cryptocurrency is being adopted as a currency (no brainer there). It will probably adopt faster in countries where mobile device penetration is heavily saturated like on the continent of Africa. Imagine the business opportunities there with out bankers or middlemen involved (FAIR TRADE).
The cryptocurrencies that has no use will disappear like so many other businesses and investment opportunities. I know you don’t believe that the market will stabilize. Go ahead and finish eating your hotdog at Woolworth, then go pickup your movie from Blockbuster and jump in your DeLorean and head home. And don’t forget to email me from your Compaq; make sure you check out the latest Nas Album on Napster.
Be aware when Wall Street investment firms are creating cryptocurrency divisions. All they care about is the bottom line: money. I don’t think all these fancy degree holders from Ivy League Universities are just hoping their clients’ money will grow. They are doing their research and executing. Don’t be left behind because of fear.
The same money you make it rain with at a strip club could be used to invest. The same money you stand on line in the freezing cold for the new J’s can be invested. The same money you use to masquerade as a “bad bitch” can be invested. The money that you use for bags of weed and bottles of henny every day; one day could be set aside to invest.
You can get the knowledge for yourself and make a wise choice based on accurate information. Some people view cryptocurrency as an urban legend. All I am saying is it cost nothing to read a few articles to keep you updated while you on the toilet.
If you do not know where to start join our Facebook group: Urban Cryptocurrency
We all are novice of the cryptocurrency space and each one teach one.
Prison Survival: Hell's Prism (coming real real soon!)
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
When I watch countless police brutality videos as I scroll through my social media feed I see a common theme. The theme is that white police are the enemy of Black men, women, and children. If this violence was contained to a certain location or Black male cops were slamming handcuffed teenage white girls and shooting unarmed white men in front of their families I would claim it was just poor policing. There is no alarming rate of multiracial victimization by the police.
But when I see the police handle white mass murders with kid gloves and even take them for a bite to eat, my mind state shift to the American reality for Black people. The police are the legacy of the paddy rollers from slavery. It is their inherent nature to be hostile towards Black people in this country.
Inside of me is a silent rage that I wish would die out, but it can’t. The fuel of injustice constantly feed that flame. I understand why Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale took such an aggressive legal stance in policing the policing.
I am a man!
I am a coward!
These are the thoughts that ring out in my mind as I view clip after clip of this barbaric behavior being executed against my people from mindless drones. They don’t even think like hey this could my daughter, son, father, mother, or neighbor. We are just the enemy to these pale faces.
The NFL worried about a fucking knee. The reality is fuck your flag, your anthem and your pigskin. It you are not concern on the WHY the knee was taking in the first place.
When the inner man becomes the outer man don’t cry, don’t scream foul, don’t beg for mercy; just know that the pendulum has swung against you.
I cry tears of discipline and strength. That the dam that contains the Ogun spirit in me doesn’t break.
Photo by Lasaye Hommes on Unsplash
A lot of people use to come to our cut area to borrow his fictional thrash. I didn’t like it because our privacy was already limited. I did see how many people like reading those types of books. I thought to myself that is a way to educate the people. It would be like sneaking castor oil in orange juice. I came up with the concept of writing urban political street thrillers. As I wrote I let him read it.
He was like are you going to get this publish while you in here. I was like no. A lot publishers of that genre were robbing people; giving them like 500 dollars for a manuscript. I rather let my work die than to be cheated. Money never moved me, and I was never going to mortgage my self-worth or integrity for it.
I continue to work on it and my short sci-fi stories. Writing was my refuge. I would throw on my Paul Taylor cd it was a compilation of his songs and zone out. I could write for hours in the worlds I was creating. The visual I would see when writing was so vivid in my mind it was like I was there. I had transplanted my soul to the paper. This was the strongest creative outlet I had. It was saving my life, but I didn’t know it. By creating emotions for different characters, it was allowing human traits in me to stay alive. My pen was the conduit to trapped sentiment. Writing wasn’t no hustle for me it was a lifeline to sanity. I was pouring my essence into my creation, fashioning new worlds. And loved it.
I thought back, what if that racist teacher never kicked me out of my 8th-grade creative writing class. I realized every element in my life was interwoven. I was a tapestry of good and bad experiences. I had a reservoir of water to share. The only blind spot was would I be able to share my creation with the masses. But for the moment it was my dingy in a sea of chaos.
Prison Survival & Urban Refinement ( Coming Soon)
The Hidden Hand:Duality of Self ( still available)
I kept thinking like damn this shit going too slow. I am definitely going to miss commissary. I had no magic key to unlock the minds of those judging my worthiness for freedom. I did what I was supposed to by submitting a parole package with my letters of support and accomplishments.
I heard the key in the door. I knew it was show time. I went swaggering into the room where they held the hearing. There she was in the corner of a 32-inch monitor. I also wonder why her image didn’t take up the whole screen. I sat down in my familiar seat. She asked me was I still studying the import/export business. I was. She never asked me did I have remorse for my crime. This was my third time seeing her and it was my shortest interview. She just literally looked at me with compassion on her face. She knew, and I knew it was no more I could have done in prison. I was the ideal parole candidate. I had not caught an infraction in 13 years. My vocational slot was filled up. I was a teacher’s aide. And I still had strong family support.
After a brief silence, I excused myself to leave. She really did have compassion on her face. She told me as I was leaving, “I am giving you a good review.” That was the third time I had heard that. I know she meant it, but she didn’t have a vote in the process. I always thought that was crazy. How is the person interviewing me don’t have a vote?
The whole parole process was political. This is how criminal minded thugs turn progressive in their politics by being politicized through the process. As the DOC tries to dehumanize you it has the opposite effect on a few. They become aware through their empirical experiences by getting hung on the barb wire of the injustice system. I was no different. As this process tried to suck the hope out of me and shatter my fortitude, my resolve turned into titanium. I had no hope of making parole I concluded that a long time ago, but I still stayed prepared; it was the student in me. It allowed me to have the intellectual tools to rationalize my situation.
I was a captured dragon but the fire in my belly still burned.
Prison Survival & Urban Refinement
(A prison memoir coming soon)
Now the former Blood was doing good, building a stronger relationship with his mother and the mother of his children. He was growing. Then one day a new Blood came on the compound supposed to be a 4-star general. He inquired about him and another God on his side of the yard was like he wanted to meet. He was one of them use to be Five Percenters that turned Blood.
We meet that Saturday on the fence. I listened to questions he was asking the young God. His tone turned me off, especially when he was talking what was supposed to happen to him when he left. I let him know right then this man walked the yard by himself and nobody served no penalty on him. Now that he God that’s not going to happen at all. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. I turned to the young God and told him you don’t have to burn yourself. The Bloods had some protocol that you suppose to burn yourself when you leave.
Shit got tense, but when I am with you I am with you. The young God looked at me and then at the other Gods that was around. He knew we had his back and we were comfortable with whatever choice he made. He chose to get the burn. We all left in peace. As we walked off the young God said, “Didn’t you just go up for parole the other day?” He was letting me know with that question he had thought it through critically and made the best decision for everybody. He was learning what real brotherhood should be. You don’t push the button because you can. He realized even in a win it’s going to be a lot of losses.
The sad thing is that it’s more stand-up men in prison than on the streets. Every so often I was reminded of that. It shows when you in the moment; I like to say in real-time. When certain codes/principles are a part of you, you don’t have to second guess yourself. It’s that reason I became more selective with who I bonded with. I realized I had an aspect of my personality that was still ride or die if I dealt with you. I felt no need to weed that out. Only to refine the process of bond building. Everybody is not capable or worthy of that exchange of loyalty.
Prison Survival & Urban Refinement Coming Soon!
Another turned down, I knew I wasn’t going to make parole in my early 30’s. It was no reason why. They still were building prisons. They still had people with drug charges or offenses lesser than murder who were still eligible for parole. It was a hard pill to swallow knowing the whole process was a sham. I knew people that stop participating in it. I figured I have nothing to lose by still going up for parole. And since I didn’t have an infraction since I was 26 yrs old the process became political. The parole board was acting like a judicial body and each turn-down I became indifferent. It didn’t faze me. That started to worry me a little bit. I know from an intellectually standpoint I was becoming more disconnected from the human element in myself. I knew it was a defense mechanism. I remembered my first few months in the big house. A gentleman hung himself because he had got his 18th turn-down for parole. I had seen them cart the body out. I had wonder at the time what level of hopelessness he was feeling to take his own life.
I recognized who I was historical inside of this American tragedy. I played into their trap and this was my penalty. You can’t use the snake deck of cards and think you going to win. He operates from a different archetype.
I seldom thought about the streets now. I had been over a decade removed. My letters came infrequently, but they still came, and I was always grateful for that. It was still those that took a moment out of their day to think about me after all this time had passed. It made me reflect even further on the man I used to be versus the man I was at this moment. I knew one thing for sure the love I was being shown was not on par with the friendship I had given. I had put it on the line for people countless of times; whether it was beef, moral support, or money. And now to barely get a letter was an interesting turn of events for me. I used to be one of the first checked, now I suspected, I barely registered as a whispered thought in a drinking or a smoke session.
Prison Survival & Urban Refinement (Coming Soon)
I am sitting back thinking how did I get in such a wretched condition? Nobody told me what the fallout would be when I was older for being a thorough and stand-up dude. I have been home for at least six months (currently) from doing almost 19 ½ years in prison. That is around 9, 984,960 minutes of being amongst the half-dead: prisoners.
Yes, prison psychiatrist tries to fool us on the inside and you people in society with names like inmate or offender. Make no mistake I was a prisoner. My comrades are prisoners now and will be for the foreseeable future. The name game of those who are incarcerated is to try to control their minds. A master psychiatrist knows how words and colors play on a person psyche. If you identify yourself as a prisoner 6 out of 10 times you will probably become socio-politically and culturally aware. If you think those who designed and still profit from the prison-industrial complex did not learn from the 1970’s and 80’s prison movements, then you are mistaken. The modern-day slave breakers have become more skillful in penology. They even turned a social responsibility into a profit-making scheme.
Look at the origin of police in this country. Check out paddy rollers during slavery. So, do not act surprised when you see more Black men in prison. No, they do not commit more crime. It was design for freed hostages formally called slaves. A book called ‘Slavery by Another Name’ documents how new laws were enacted to re-enslave the Black man after slavery. This was done up until WWII. How many broken homes were created with the stealing of the head of household?
Now, I as well as countless others are so-called free but if you on parole you are not. You are just doing your time under a zero-security level parameter. But you still feel the fetters and understand the power dynamic is not in your favor. Your moves are still limited. You must ask another person permission to travel, get your driving license, get a car, move residences, and you have a curfew. Now imagine a grow man on a 9 pm to 7 am curfew; how am I supposed to date women if I got to come home before the streetlights come on? It’s other things as well but, everything is at the discretion of your PO (and each one has his/her own style). But hey I am so-called free, so I should be tap dancing in the street with a watermelon smile.
Nobody had given me the ‘game’ on the after effects of living a false street mentality. Honor, loyalty, and respect are great principles to live by. You just can’t live by them in the streets. And if you do. You will be left holding the bag every time. Now if you are alright with doing football numbers or life in prison then this book is not for you. It’s for your newborn son when he reaches your age now.
My Journey towards Cryptocurrency:
I had just started taking notice to Bitcoin a cryptocurrency. I thought skeptical and was like they going to shut that down just like the Silk Road; which was a criminal bazaar. I figured that because any currency not back by central bankers would get destroyed and the founders killed. I read enough history books and watched a few documentaries that lead me to understand this was plausible.
One day I had a meeting with the artist Sajjad Musa we were at BRIC, sipping a cappuccino, and discussing ideas for my next book cover for Prison Survival & Urban Refinement. He also did the cover for The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self. The conversation turned to getting out the rat race. We were both in agreement that working long-term for someone else was not the best use of our time. He started talking about investing in the cryptocurrency market.
I was like that “shit is not going to last.” Then he started to build (talk) on what is currency and who validates it? He answered his own question with “we do.” I paused a moment and let that sink in. I remember in prison that cigars to an assortment of snacks were the currency of exchange because we placed value on that. He had my full attention now.
As the conversation progressed I was like I don’t have 5 grand for no Bitcoin. He was like there are other currency and shared an app with me called Coinbase. He said he deals with Litecoin, at the time it was going for $56 dollars. We carried our conversation over to Applebee’s because I was in the mood for a Mucho L.I.T. He came me more information for I can do my own research. We departed, and my mind was swimming in thoughts on the train ride home.
When I got home I started to do my own research. I became aware it was a plethora of cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin being the big three or the most well-known. It was a lot of news articles the subject as well. I understood it could not be regulated because it’s decentralized and peer to peer. The technology that underwrites it all is called Blockchain.
It was early in the morning and I decided to buy 3 Litecoins and a piece of Ethereum. I was good taking a loss on that amount of investment. I knew I had to upgrade my knowledge base before I go further. I was overwhelmed with the amount of cryptocurrency that is out. I searched for workshops on Eventbrite, looked for groups on Meetups, and downloaded a few news apps dedicated to cryptocurrency.
Some of the prices for workshops had cost close to 3 grand, I settle on one at Galvanize for $49. When I went I was the only Black person in attendance and the only women there was Asian. The two most underrepresented groups in technology: Black people and women. That brought me back to a recurring thought that Black people get out hustle because of a lack of information. Whole structures would be transforming around us, and we will not have found out how to use this to our benefit.
The facilitator was knowledgeable he was from CryptoNYC.org. I learned a few things and gain the greatest of insight by understanding that cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage. Even the facilitator and his community are learning and working around this cryptocurrency. He did recommend reading the white paper on Bitcoin since it is the original cryptocurrency and a book called The Internet of Money by Andreas M Antonopoulos which I am doing.
It is a lot of cryptocurrency on the market I would advise you to do your research and get your friends involved. The more minds the more information that can be shared and acted on. We are not late to the table because it’s still being molded. We can all be early adopters in our changing future. I will see you on the crypto frontier.
September 10, 2014, I escape through the flaming gates of hell. I felt like some returning mystical warrior in a Netflix original series Return of the King. I knew my journey just had begun. The odds were stacked against me. I was almost 40yrs old, just had done 19 ½ years in the Virginia prison system, on parole, resource poor, and returning home to land 513 miles away.
All that was flashing in my mind is how do I beat the statistical odds and not be a recidivism stat. It states that most returning citizens reoffend in 3 years at a 68.2 % rate.
But I was prepared to be a part of the 32.8%!
Every second that ticked through my humiliation process I vowed to never be captured and held in bondage again. And so far, I have been accomplishing that. I want to share some of my insights of what I have learned in the 3 years I have been home.
I often heard people use the phrase “Your network is your net worth.” In an application sense, it’s the truth. I re-establish bonds with family and some friends. That is going to be your greatest support system. If I ran across people I knew and felt like I had to ask them too many questions on how they were living; I kept our association in the 90’s. My days of being a ‘real nigga, stand-up dude’ was over for these streets. I also knew I am too thorough to be a ‘snitch’ for the police. My best move was to stay in my lane and let them stay in theirs.
All the new friends and associates I met them on my path as I build equity in my character. I knew I had to discard social skills developed in hazardous atmospheres and acquire new ones to successfully navigate amongst people that didn’t live by street codes or prison rules. And not attack others who crossed a line I felt was disrespectful.
I think one of the greatest keys I incorporated was taking moments to myself to gauge and reflect on where I am at on my path and review the choices I was making. As well as re-evaluate my agenda as facts, circumstances, and opportunities change. I did this in a systematic manner, every 10th of the month.
I understand that It would not have been wise to rush into a relationship with a woman. I had to awaken from an emotional slumber that I was comfortable in. I had been emotional dead for a long time. It was my way to survival in purgatory. I had debriefed many brothers who had made this mistake countless of time and saw a few firsthand accounts. I am definitely in a better place emotionally than I was 3 years ago and it is because I let my emotions naturally filter back into my body.
Prison ill-prepares most hostages for today's and the future job market. Only the brothers I knew that were able to study electrician trade came home job ready and secured better than average employment. I took upon myself to acquire skills that would allow me to compete in today’s job market and has an opportunity for me to use it as a future consultant. I choose computer network. I just graduated in June with a Computer Networking Technology AAS, and I am working on a Computer System BTech BA.
I am a writer by love. I also self-published my first book The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self. I also am finishing up my second book Prison Survival & Urban Refinement. I kept doing what I love to do and learning how to use the technology of today made it possible. My passion will create opportunities for me in the future.
If I could write and speak to people on my experience and earned a living from it I would probably just do that. I realize you have to be a credible messenger when it comes to talking to the youth or anybody that wants to know a real perspective about prison and the streets. I was honored to be an Arches Mentor (I worked with youth/young adults on probation) participate in the CLOSErikers Campaign, was a national organizer and speaker at The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March. I still take moments to give a few words of wisdom to younger brothers when their ear is available.
I know I am securing a better tomorrow by preparing now. I realize that I must be a mentor to those who want to walk the path of freedom. I have my ups and downs but that’s regular people sh*t. I know only those who successfully navigated a storm can tell somebody else on the method they have used to get through it. I am honored to be amongst the 32.8% who never get talked about.
"When the prison doors are opened, the real dragon will fly out." - Ho Chi Minh
A mosaic of faces came from all parts of the USA to stand in solidarity at Lafayette Square in DC on August 19, 2017. They were there to let the forgotten know they were not forgotten. It had a two-fold meaning for me because I was one of the forgotten, a prisoner, just under 3 yrs ago. And on that day I was standing with a sea of flavorful faces as a supporter and organizer for The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March. In my silent thoughts, I know I am the prisoners’ ambassador.
I know the prisoners’ mind and what they are feeling. When I be still for a moment I can channel it from my own experiences…
When I was walking to Freedom Plaza and knowing the historic meaning that enslaved ancestors of mine probably paved these streets it made it that more real for me. When I watched Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell daughter cry as she gave her account about her father; I wonder how many other daughters had cried in this plaza before? I wonder how many other daughters watched their fathers be ripped out of their lives during slavery as well? And here we are about to march and have a rally on the 13th Amendment and the Legalized Slavery Clause. How much has things changed?
What is it about the prisoner’s humanity that is easily over looked by the ‘good folk’ of this God-fearing Nation? When you consider that most prisoners are locked up on crimes that they committed when they were young, you should assume they grew and matured passed a criminal mentality.
How prisoners are living I was living under those same conditions less than 3 years ago. If I do not tell you I was incarcerated, how would you know? All you would see is a handsome man. Just like you would not know I was college educated or a published author. I wear no identifiable marks of my former prison status.
I understood the need to rally people on an issue like Legalized Slavery. It is our social responsibility to heal the fallen that fell from grace of the community standards. We should not accept the commoditizing or let them be allowed to be used as beast of burden by corporate, state, or federal interests.
Who do we want to leave prison; a harden, bitter, convict or a self-developed and self-reflecting human? One is going to be a predator the other a community stakeholder, but which manifestation is going to live in our community is solo based on us.
If you think the 13th Amendment’s Slavery Clause is a good thing and making money off the prisoners and at their expense is a good thing then do nothing. But if you want a community stakeholder to return to your community then you better get involved.
Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are”
I am days away from being a part of an historical event: The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March (August 19, 2017). I am less than a month shy of beating the statistical odds of recidivism. I will be representing the 32.2 % that didn’t go back to prison after their first 3 years home. This will never get mention because an ex-felon success it’s not sensational enough for nightly news. It will show a different image of Black and Brown men, which doesn’t support their get tough on crime rhetoric and pro-Legalized Slavery Agenda. Power players and national thieves must keep the voting public scared to death for they can be alright with the billions being spent to militarize the police and fund private prisons.
I am still climbing out the hole from almost 2 decades in prison. A comeback from having nothing material and building my name in the free world.
I am in a world driven by network and resources. Building my network only requires meeting people with like interested and having mutual understanding. Developing and acquiring resources take time, especially when you are taking the legally route. Striving to manage with money I use to blow on weed, liquor, and food in one day or some nights on a dice roll (1-2-3).
I am up for the challenge and relishing the increments of my climb. Seeing my own growth and recognizing the challenges that come with it. Knowing the opportunities that did not happen was because of my criminal past and being alright with that. Knowing when I look some people in the eye and understanding that glimmer of fear is their burden to carry and not mines. I am not here to convince them that I am not the man I was yesterday. If I was we would have never cross paths.
My aspiration far exceeds my current funds. I keep focus on the slow grind. I keep a mental image where I was 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 years ago with no opportunity or hope. And my current situation brings a smile to my face. I can sip on Kenya coffee, listen to Pandora, and work on my next book. I can take long walks and see something different and interesting each time. I can go to anyone of NYC museums. I can buy lamb and rice off the Halal cart. I can jump on mass transit and go see family and friends. I can get a travel pass (a parole requirement) and travel to other states and enjoy myself.
I don’t sweat the little things because I survived the place where sane men go insane. I don’t compare myself to another man’s accomplishment; I root for his success. I don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘who I could have been’ if I never went to prison. I enjoy the moments I have now. I enjoy the smile when it appears on my face. I enjoy the positive exchange of words I have with young brothers that called me ‘OG’ because they can’t remember my name but know my character. I enjoy being a socio/politico-cultural aware Blackman that is undeniably in short supply in today’s America.
I have a vision of myself and I am walking in the path shined by my own light. Life only grants permission to those willing to live it.
Travel in harmony!
Sitting on a balcony at 3:47 am at Waikiki beach Honolulu sipping on Remy Martin and looking at the darkness of the Pacific Ocean on one side and lights on the other side that’s shining on silent streets. Who would image 33 months ago I was having audiences on a prison yard with some of the strongest brothers I would meet in my life.
The state of mind I am feeling right now is tranquility. I can see my next few moves:
I am grateful for my experiences I have been having since I came home on September 10, 2014. The ups and downs. It’s the downs that showed me what I was really made of. When nothing was going my way. When I couldn’t catch a break. When I started thinking that these bitch ass niggaz got a better hand than me and crazy shit swam in my mind.
I have been to the point where emotional I could not take it anymore. And the pressure felt like all layers of the atmosphere started crushing me. I had to slide out the chair and sit on the floor. I could not stop the tears from following like the Niger River out my eyes. I did not know why I was crying. I knew I was feeling better as each liquid doubt and fear was channeling down and massaging my face.
People use to always remind me of how strong I was because of the almost two decades I did in prison. And I always remind them it came at losing something emotionally. Which was why I was sitting on the floor tearing. That was the moment I started to become a human again. Up until that point, I was just wearing a people suit.
When I stood back up I was regenerated. I knew I had the skills and the heart to successfully not to become a recidivism statistic. I owed it to myself to live and blaze a path that fit my mentality. I owed to my family and friends to be the man they can count on. I owed it to my community, especially the youth to see a different image of a man. One who wasn’t a gangster or coon.
I am honored of my personal journey this far. My inner cadre always reminds me to take note of what I have accomplished. I realize why now as I stare into the darkness of the Pacific Ocean. They know I still could be bidding like my co-defendant who is still getting turned down for parole. I know I am probably the only NY parolee in Hawaii. And that thought feels amazing.
I am grateful for the opportunities that reveal themselves to me. I strategize about the opportunities I can create for myself. My life is nowhere I want or see it to be at this moment. But it’s damn sure nowhere where it was 33 months ago. I have learned to embrace the moment while I prepare for a better tomorrow.
I have my eyes on the prize!
How can you live in America and not be a social justice activist by default?
I often wonder how after 28 months home from doing 19 ½ years in prison, how I’m an activist. Am I qualified to sit on the national committee for the Millions for Prisons Human Rights March? Should I have stepped into a membership position with the Close Rikers campaign? Would it have been better if I kept my head down and just got myself together for the next 3-5 years? Especially since 3yrs seems to be some magical number that stats say 67 % of people who are released from prison reoffends within that timeframe.
I had to take a long hard look at myself, meditate, and clear my mind to the point where no thoughts exist. The Daoist masters call this state the “No Mind”. When I am at my calmest state, I am the most dangerous. I see everything as a mathematical process. The clarity I gain after meditation is the greatest resource I will ever have.
Sometimes I ask myself…am I human? And why the things that most people fear when it comes to the so-called establishment I don’t? Then it becomes clear… it is the love I have for myself. I want for myself what I want for my brothers and sisters. When I was imprisoned I fought and filed two legal cases on behalf of the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE). My adversary chose to label the NGE an STG (Security Threat Group) at first, and then a gang. That means I went from some type of terrorist threat to a gang member. This is the moment I became an activist. This issue affected me and thousands of others; I was an NGE activist.
I learned a valuable lesson in the power dynamic of the haves and have-nots. I could have said “fuck it” did my time and maybe made parole earlier than the 11th time I went up. But what type of man would I have been?
I did not seek out or even know the two issues I am involved with had organizations that dealt with it. When I was asked to play a part in the movement, I knew intrinsically what I was supposed to do. I accepted the challenge when I could have made the excuse “my money not right” or “I am working on securing a solid foundation for myself”. If I had done that then what type of man would I have been?
Glenn Martin from the “JustLeadership” organization has a saying, “Those close to the problem are closest to the solution.” I concur. I realized I have the empirical experience and insight to address the issues I am involved in. Too often we shrink from our responsibilities as community stakeholders. We take the position:
The only question is…why are you not involved?
Guerrilla Thinking and Urban Refinement
The main thing about incarceration is you are going to have to make a choice. Are you going to remain the same and study street philosophy and so-call learn a better way to do the same thing or a new hustle from an old fool, who life consist of touring prisons? Or will you be courageous and transform your pre-incarcerated thinking to be the best you? But if you are not dissatisfied in being a half-dead commodity and living with the quasi-dead, as well as being ruled over by mental midgets then you probably are a zombie.
The catalyst for transformation for me started when the judge slammed that gravel at the conclusion of my guilty verdict. I thought to myself, this is what I get for following the codes of the street and being a stand-up dude.
I guess I should have been happy because I was facing life plus 28 years. Reporting this to my father, who already heard, was one of the lowest points in my life. No son should hear that level of hurt transmitted in his father’s voice. I didn’t even use my whole click.I went to my bunk and wrapped up in a sheet forming a cocoon. Why? For I could cry in peace and go to sleep letting the tears wash another layer of who I thought was me away.
When I awaken I began to question all the ideas and values I was taught in the streets. I would come to learn two powerful key terms and use them like surgical scalpels. They were introspection and retrospection. I realize that I had to fully emerge myself in a soul searching mission. This is when my self-discovery truly began. The transformation of the criminal mentality to one of Righteousness. When I talk about righteousness I am not coming from a religious perspective, but one of self-evaluation, self-mastery, and in tune with Universal Law and Divine Order. The inherent divine compass that exists with inside of you.
As I became a big brother to those around me, I understood that I had to reflect a model of manhood other than what was expected from being a convict. It is easy to surrender to your lower reptilian brain. But to be a progressive thinker and practice behavioral refinement and adjustment is a challenge. Why? The prison atmosphere, convict mentality of others, and poor character C.O.s (and administration(s)); all summon you to surrender to the animal. You have to exercise supreme discipline or you will become reactionary and a slave to other people’s movement. I had to swallow things that offended my false pride. I never mastered it but became a savant of managing it.
When you wake out of your illusionary state of being a ‘real nigga’ you become political to what’s happening around you. You know from your first day in prison that it is no such thing as rehabilitation. As you develop your knowledge through studying, you understand the why. At some point, you will ask yourself, how do I break pass the limited expectation of those who benefit from my situation politically or/and economically.
I will not say that you can practice complete righteousness in a diabolic atmosphere. One time I was faced with a decision to kill another prisoner, because of an act of violence he had done to one of my younger brothers and student at that time. I was 29 years old, had been in prison for nine years at this time, and about to turn into a hypocrite in my mother’s eye. It was the calmest choice I had ever made. I let one tear for my mother drop because I resolved in my mind that the next move automatically made me eligible for the death penalty because I was already locked up on a murder charge. The only thing that interfered with my plan is that I didn’t have a banger. So I requested one from the older brothers I rolled with. They weighed the situation, weighed my character, and weighed our bonds, and made a decision that saved me from a possibly hot shot in the arm. I am usually rational but they saw I wasn't because of my bond with the younger brother. They knew I was serious, extremely discipline, and never talked about my former street life with them; only about progressive thoughts and ideas. So they understood if they would have given me that banger, I would have killed that prisoner, doomed myself with death by the state or had gotten natural life in prison. I am still grateful to those brothers (Life and Atl) to this day.
Some may question why I didn’t have a banger. The same reason I hung my guns up before I got locked up in 1995. I made a conscious choice not to. When you know you’ll get busy and meet aggression with equal or more aggression and you are striving to change, you have to eliminate factors in your life. I was navigating a path out the streets at 20 years old. I knew other options was out there. And I didn’t like the person I had become. On a very real level the longer you stay in the streets the more you transform into an animal. I knew in my core that wasn’t me.
One of the hardest things to do is to alter your thinking from your street persona grata to a progressive urban guerrilla thinker. The greatest wars are fought with thoughts and ideas. The first terrain you have to conquer is your own mind. The reason I use guerrilla is my personal nod to intellectual guerrillas like Walter Rodney and George Jackson who represented the same concepts but demonstrated in two different arenas. A guerrilla uses what every resource is available to improve his/her position strategically, knowing they do not have the resources of what their opposition might have. To the powers at be, I am a thought terrorist.
 A timed phone call
There are myriad of issues that plague our community: gentrification, police terrorism, poor schools, self-hate, and others. I want to focus on the prison industrial complex. This monstrosity is feed with bodies and taxpayer dollars.
The prison system as it's currently designed is not structured on “rehabilitation” African-Americans but exploitation. According to the book Slavery by Another Name, after slavery ended in this country to after WWII, Black men were arrested on trumped up charges mainly vagrancy and fined. The local sheriff knowing these out-of-work men could not pay the fines, he subsequently sold them to the local plantation, mills, and mines. A lot of these men died in this prison camps.
In this modern day era, they give prisoners anywhere from a few pennies to a dollar an hour for their labor to work in factories that produce products. These products get sold and make millions but for who? But companies like Jpay, Global Tel-Link, Keefe, and Private Prisons just make money directly off the prisoner and his family through supplying cheap products, high services, or the prisoners themselves become the commodity. It’s a high level of vampirism going on.
Prisoner Human rights abuse from Abu Ghraib Prison made global news, most people never heard of the atrocities at Red Onion Prison in Virginia or the countless others that are peppered across American’s rural areas.
This is why it is imperative that we organize against the prison industrial complex and raised the alarm. Become active and be a part of the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington, D.C. August 19, 2017.
Man down! Another youth shot by systematic institutionalizes racism. Rest in Peace little brother Paul O’Neal. The onslaught of Black men, women, and children being played out on the tel-lie-vison is the accumulation of the roots of this country busting through the red, white, and blue.
Has something change or just the fact everybody has a recording device now? So the handful of people who control major media can’t put a whitewash or spin events that make the victim look like the aggressor. We already see without video footage that the media can make an armed adult wannabe cop like George Zimmerman look like the prey against Trayvon Martin, who was a child eating skittles.
But it has always been open season on Niggers. It started when the first African hit the British Colony of Virginia in 1619. When they stripped them of their cultural identity and made them into a beast of burden. They made children and women into bed warmers and men into mindless bucks. Objects! The point is a thing doesn’t get respect. So the African had to be thought of less than a human in order for the founding thieving Christians of this country to morally quiet their religious heart.
Who did the different African cultural groups become? The ethnic Nigger. The thing that needs no respect or has none. It’s the same systematic thinking that barbarians from the Caucus Mountains introduced into melanin strong Indus-Kush under Hinduism. One might make the argument that Hindu caste system is the first form of apartheid and Nigger making.
Look at Black America: slavery, Black Codes, Jim Crow Laws, redlining, police brutality, Nigger culture, self-hatred, and a host of other diabolic shit sanction by the powerbrokers—it’s a miracle Niggers has not gone the same way the aboriginal Tasmanian people did after their contact with those same civilize English speaking people.
Police body cameras and smartphones are recording that the hunt for Niggers is still on. The root cause of it all is the lack of respect for Black Americans that this country produces. Even when immigrant groups come here they get the unwritten memo it’s alright to treat Niggers anyway while they set up economic encampments in our hoods. Or feel they can blatantly disrespect and overlook us.
Black Lives Matters but only to us. When Niggers really start to wake up and understand the historical reality that everything boils down to respect. And your socio-economical level doesn’t matter, having good manners doesn’t matter or bleaching your skin…it doesn’t matter. When Niggers (and Bitches) learn their true value and nobody can give you respect but you make them respect you then All Lives will Matter.
Let there be a wholesale marginalization and institutionalize sanction killers of Anglo-Saxon, Visigoths, Vandals, Celtics, Gauls, Jews or LGBT community…