Archive for May 21st, 2011

May 21, 2011

Welcome Home, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell !

We welcome home celebrated RED! columnist, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell, who was released on May 16, 2011, from a facility in Lewiston, California. 

Our RED! team is ecstatic over Hook’s current re-entry, his plans to work, write, remain healthy, and persist in helping others – his humandkindness is aglow again outside the arena of incarceration, and, given Hook’s past dedication as a writer, mentor, and facilitator, he will surely thrive. As Hook is fond of saying, “It will surely be a blessing.”

A basketball legend and supreme athlete, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell is considered perhaps the greatest player never to make the National Basketball Association, experiencing a range of incarceration setbacks that disabled a promising professional career.

The 2003 film directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker, Michael Skolnik, “Hooked: The Legend of Demetrius ‘Hook’ Mitchell,” profiles Hook and presents insights into the human chasm of destructive behavior, which ironically paralleled some of the greatest basketall and athletic feats ever displayed by one person – Hook himself.

Yet, the film goes to extraordinary lengths in also emphasizing Hook’s transformation during his first prison incarceration, the individuals who mentored him, and Hook’s geniunely wise understanding of how personal change must occur. Hook’s wisdom is transparent, and it should be noted, especially, by every youth in the country, especially those on the verge of making “negative” life choices. Hook is that powerful a testimony and that wise a person.

In his most recent incarceration period, Hook applied himself in the most positive and humanitarian ways, befriending and mentoring a range of peers, dedicating his time to education, mentoring, and leadership within the institution.

He is a close friend of RED! editor and publisher, Jeffrey Hillard. Hook’s desire to reach others is contagious. He is an abundantly gifted mentor of youth, possesses a knack for educating others on nutrition and healthy-eating matters, exudes an authentic leadership ability, and most importantly, Hook does not mire himself in self-doubt or bitterness over not making the N.B.A. years ago. He understands his need to live and to make positive life choices – now.  In 2011 and beyond.

In a recent “Mistakes 143” column, on the verge of appearing in RED! just before his release, Hook Mitchell writes:

“Yes, I am patiently waiting for my next feat. (It’s God’s calling for me and a blessing.) My book, “Do You Want to Learn How to Fly?”, has been on the table just waiting for its opportunity. (There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come, and there is nothing so detrimental than someone who is still thinking old ideas.) It seems more and more apparent, since God has allowed me to witness Mr. Blake Griffin perform what I patented 20-plus years ago. (Logon to www.hookmitchell.com, or Hook Mitchell on www.youtube.com.)

“You see, I’ll have to perform most of the feats that you see on N.B.A. t.v.: the T-Mac toss-off-the-glass; the dunk over any and everything – I started most of it. (God is the greatest.) What I was blessed with was an innate ability to perform things then that others perform on the hoop court and place a “10” on it (tweak it). It all started when I was on the eight-feet-high basket and told myself that I wanted to dunk on the 10-feet-high basket; everyone was dunking on courts at Prescott, Cole, Lafayette, and all the schools in Oakland. I would ride my bike to see the action, or dribble my basketball to see them.

“I’m patiently waiting!

“Here is the hypothesis to come: #30AT (Hook Mitchell) can perform a feat such as leaping and dunking over a car in four different decades. I first started this feat in the late 1980s (1988). I performed it in the 1990s, and in the decade of 2000. I was on the first cover of my friend Bobbito Garcia’s Bounce Magazine in 2005.

“Now, it is 2011. Can I pull it off? Mr. Rob Stone (of Fader Magazine) has always said that ‘Hook loves to keep it interesting.’ At 42-years old, sure God knows best.

“I am at ‘Fire Camp’ at this time [mid-April 2011], but I am training for my next feat!

“Even with all the hatred I’v endured in my life, people always disapprove of what God has blessed me with. I really don’t pay that much attention to it. Individuals seem to “hate” the fact that the C-O’s and Fire Captain [at the time of this writing in April] have caught wind of what God has blessed me with (not hearing it from me).

“As I mentioned earlier about my preparation for what’s to come (42-year old man dunking over a car), there are individuals that can’t see the big picture and say that they disapprove of my working out so much on a daily basis [mid-April].

“Mike Skolnik and Rob Stone…and as to Mr. Fader’s family…here I come: bigger, stronger, tougher, and wiser than before.

“Peace.

“Cordially, #30AT (Slam Magazine’s  “#3 playground player of all-time”).”

________________________

Above, the editor supplied information in the brackets.

May 21, 2011

The Innocent – by Keon Jefferson, Sr.

My uncle, Marvin P. Walker, Jr., has been an inmate in San Quentin’s (California) ‘Death Row’ unit for more than 30 years. After nearly three-and-a-half decades, my family has received what some may call “justice.”

After being lead by what I believe to be none other than God, a high-ranking official within the U.S. [appeals] court system decided to review my uncle’s case.

Once the file was opened, it did not take long before serious discrepancies stood out to this official. In short, these discrepancies within my uncle’s case were so extreme that this official not only immediately decided to “pull” the death warrant that was issued to my Uncle Marvin more than 30 years ago, but also ordered the convicting county, Santa Clara County, to prepare to re-try his case with new evidence, because evidently the initial evidence was not sufficient for a proper determination to be made.

Now, after three decades of appeals, and after three decades of sitting on Death Row in solitary confinement, and after three decades of trusting that God would intervene before the state of California decided to execute him, “Justice” prevails. But, after all of this, could there ever truly be justice for my uncle?

I was given this news by my mother over the phone while calling her from the institution in which I’m currently residing. And, when I heard her relay this news, it took everything in my power to hold back the tears of joy. You see, I know the pain my mom and her siblings have gone through all these years: the pain of having to travel for hours to be searched, scanned, harrassed by C.D.C.R. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation), and then put in a “cage” just to hug their brother. The pain of having to make these trips to inform their brother personally that his momma is gone, then his daddy.

I watched both of my grandparents hope and wait on God to bring back to them their son – to no avail. So, to get this news gave me such excitement that I had to share it with somebody. Hook Mitchell, as someone I could always talk to about anything, was someone I went to. He listened and decided to ask me to share the story.

The most important thing I’ve learned from my uncle’s experience is to wait on God. His justice always prevails.

Although our justice system has taken more than 30 years of my uncle’s life, I truly believe that God has new beginnings for him.

Please, readers, google Marvin P. Walker – San Jose Mercury News – for more information on this matter.

If you know someone who has potentially been wrongfully convicted, do as this U.S. court official has done, and do your best in the interest of justice.

Thank you for reading my plea, and may God continue to strengthen us in our faith. I’m extremely grateful for this brother, Hook, and the way he has given me the opportunity to shed some light on this matter of my uncle, Marvin P. Walker.

___________________________________________

Keon Jefferson, Sr.  is incarcerated in a facility in Lewiston, California.

Action Words is RED!‘s department of writing and art by currently incarcerated individuals around the world.