Hello World, the summer months are approaching and the weather is starting to offer higher temperatures. I hope that gives you a reason to start a physical training program. Trust me, physical exertion will help you overcome many of the stressful situations that cause issues in your life. Personally, I need to keep up my training routines, they truly maintain my sanity.
Anyway, the title and topic of this article is “Hope”. If I may, allow me to share with you all the experiences I gained from my last speaking engagement, which took place Friday April 23. I was fortunate to meet with three different groups of youth offenders who are currently incarcerated within the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center. Thanks to a woman by the name of Amy Cheney (she heads the “Write to Read Juvenile Hall literacy Program”, twenty of my autobiographies now belong to the Alameda County Juvenile Library. I have been blessed to speak at many detention centers and youth programs throughout the State of California, trust me they are all unique. What brings a special concern and the desire to share this event with you is this, I was witness to a complete lack of hope within the energy that exuded from these young men sixty-seven total, the majority of which were Black/African American). Since the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant on New Years of 2009 by a B.A.R.T police officer, many of the Bay Area youth feel as if their lives are not safe within any realm of society; be that dominion, school, the streets or common public areas, such as Transit Stations or neighborhood shopping centers.
The young men that I spoke with offered me no positive emotion in regards to achievement and looking forward to an optimistic future. My lecture focused on finding a reason to live and discovering outlets, which help combat the stress of life. One question offered to me was typical as I am asked this often, “What kept you motivated and off the streets when you were younger?”
My reply is always the same, my desire to not be responsible for the demise of another human being (by robbing someone or selling them drugs), in spite of my hunger and materialistic wants. Yet, that answer does not always suffice, so I often elaborate and explain situations of a heinous nature that I think they can relate too. Then I explain to them humility in such a way that they can understand also.
Yet after all that conversation and emotional giving on my part, I saw in the eyes of those young detainees hopelessness. It hurts to see potential in the form of young life and those young men not believe that they can still accomplish their dreams, in spite of the obstacles that detour their current path. So how I plan to help these young men and the future men and women I strive to inspire is simply this. I have one year left of graduate school and after I have completed my studies as a clinical psychologist with and emphasis in counseling, I will offer hope via wisdom and education. Expectantly then, I’ll better be able to inspire and offer those who read my words and listen to me speak, HOPE!