Comment from R2R Member Matthew

I would like to add this statement for the young men, and these horrific homicides.  I begin this with genuine salutations. There is a quote I came across some years ago that deeply resonated within me. It said what you know can possibly fill a book, but what you don’t know can fill libraries! I was once young feeling hopeless, feeling lost.

When advice was rendered I was extremely dismissive, thinking people don’t know what I am going through, they cannot understand, they are not enduring the harsh nature of my upbringing. Their not interacting with the ruthlessness that is common to me but foreign to them. However, what I did not realize is they were once my age, and though circumstances deem to be a little more crucial they still faced adversity. I was in the streets when the homicide rate was close to five hundred.

 I was home for operation sunrise when I couldn’t get into my neighborhood without an ID showing I lived there. So to say, the least I think I do understand. Yes, there is for certain cultural differences but violence is violence. Death is death. Peril is peril. Why do we have these dispositions that demonstrate life is inconsequential. Why do we feel that we are our worst enemies? Why does prison have to be a rite of passage? Last time I checked the bodies in the caskets look like us.

 The occupants being warehoused in person share all our features. How is it that all our opposition live in the same communities? Did you ever question if this is by design? All the scared straight retort isn’t an approach I will ever utilize because the truth is Scary enough. We have traumatized our own contemporaries by our actions. We have stolen innocence from individuals that never did us no wrong.
We have substantiated claims that we are reprehensible by being products of the same cycle. That’s what they say when they sentenced you to life or the thousand years. Mothers crushed that they out lived their off spring or that their sons are far off in the mountains away from anything remotely familiar. You can’t say I don’t understand because I looked back in the courtroom when there was so many tears that I thought I was going to drown in. 
I have scars from battles that literally hold no weight to the heaviness of the war of me fighting for my freedom. I been in the visiting rooms where its 99% women because either my friend are dead, some right next to me or felons, and can’t get in if they tried, and believe me many haven’t tried. I watched years dwindle away which turned to decades now. Yes I once was you so I care. My folks live in the environments where you reside so I am concerned.

I wasted a lot of my youth on everything futile, and now I have to deal with the nightmares of regret. I have to remain strong when I am in these chains, and my loved ones are hurting, and struggling, and I only have words to offer because for one moment of ignorance I traded liberty, and all the beautiful things freedom entails. We have to fix this my brothers because they’re not offering solutions.

Their creating consequences and the funeral homes are getting rich on the strength of our blood, and bones. Let’s create a platform where we can share a conversation about ending this madness.

With peace and respect,

Matthew Garcia

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