Posts tagged ‘Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell’

May 26, 2011

What a ‘Changed Me’ Can Do for My Family and Society – by Erin Catching

What a “changed me” can do for my family and society.

First and foremost, all praises are due to the most gracious and most merciful Creator, without whom nothing is possible. I would also like to give thanks to Mr. Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell – columnist for RED! the breakthrough ‘zine – for being instrumental in my quest for knowledge, discipline, growth, and change. It has been a blessing to have Hook as a mentor and an honor to be referred to as his student and protege. (See the Bible book of I Corinthians 13:11.)

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Every morning when I awake, I am living, learning, and growing. Unfortunately, it has taken thirty-five years, numerous trips to jails, three terms in prison, and countless mistakes to reach the stage of maturity that I am currently in. I have come to the point where I live without regrets. I am blessed to be alive, and I am gratefuly to have never received what I truly deserve.

I am tempted to go into depth as to what a “changed me” can do for my family and society, but it is time to “show and prove.” It is time to stop being reactive to the position I’ve placed myself in as a felon and an “ex-con” and start being pro-active and utilizing the gifts and blessing God has given me. So, nowdays, I don’t do much talking.

I look forward to re-adapting to society and becoming a responsible father and role model to my children. I have faith that everything else will fall neatly into place and through my actions, not my words, my family, in-laws, and loved ones will once again invest their time and resources in me. I only ask that they prepare themselves for my return and welcome me with open arms.

The changes in me will be evident.

Peace and love.

__________________________

Erin Catching is currently incarcerated in Lewiston, California.  His essay appears as part of a group of essays from inmates gathered and edited RED! writer, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell, which RED! is publishing.

May 26, 2011

Here I Come, World – by Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell

Editor’s Note: This is one of the last columns that RED! writer, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell (#30-AT), wrote from an incarceration facility in Lewiston, California.  He was released on May 16, 2011. We are happy to publish it. His column from that facility – “Meeting of the Minds” – is forthcoming in RED!

                                                                                           _____________________

This has been a pleasure! Here I come, world. All my time on this jolt has been spent on  making amends with myself first, then I have been seeking God’s help, protection, mercy, grace, and love.

I had to be selfish on this one, because I have a certain feeling about my being incarcerated this time. All  praises to God! God is blessing me with the understanding of who I am and the minute elements of life I face. Amen.

God! There is no god but Him, the living, the self-subsisting, supporter of all. No slumber can seize Him, or sleep. His presence occupies all things in the heavens and on earth. “Who is thee that can intercede in his presence except as He permiteth? He knoweth what, before or after or behind them. Nor shall they encompass aught of His knowledge except as he willeth. His throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the most high, the supreme (in glory).”

This particular column – “What a ‘Changed Me’ can provide for my family and society” – is a very intricate column for me, as I close out my ‘Mistakes 143’ entries. God-willing I will be back to provide for my family and society, and it’s a ‘very changed me’. I can’t write about how I feel, because this meticulous and precise point in my life has to be operated with my bodily functions and activities – Show and Prove!

But, I have others around me that have a few words or two that they would like to share with the world.

I wanted to leave these beautiful brothas that I have been blessed to be around at this present stage to do something about our retribution and debt to society. Give back by the smallest and most precious act that man has to offer, kind words from one’s hurt. (Even though a few articles ago I wrote about our vices, does one bad or good act truly define the true person God has bestowed in us?)

I’ve been studying the word “trust” and we must not only speak the truth as far as we know it, but we must always try to hit the right point. We must not speak unpersonably, and when we do speak, we must not beat around the bush, but go straight to that point which is right both in deed and in word. Then God will make our conduct right and cure any defects that there may be in our knowledge and character. Mistakes 143. With our endeavor directed straight to the goal, we shall be forgiven our errors, shortcomings, faults, and sins of the past. (I am growing, world.)

I pray that this will allow us to understand that God is with us (He has our backs) in difficult times. Even our times of difficulties are accompanied by a promise that “change” can come and be accompanied by God’s presence. God has shown me both sides of the life behind bars, the beauties of the street, and the effect of helping society in my coming out of prison at the time of my last sentence; but, I “dropped the ball” and now I’m praying to be back in the game – coach (God).

This issue will show that prison has compassion and is not all bad; we have just made poor decisions. Hope, yes. Hope is always at the end of the tunnels.

Firefighters say, “Look up and live!”

I’m seeking retribution from God and society because I truly believe I can and will make a big difference in the world.

But, I’ll say this – and others may oppose my opinion: Please don’t challenge my opinion. For certain, I appreciate CDC and Cal-Fire for this experience, fee, skill-buidling, and education. These are some of the things that can’t be taken from us, after we acquire them.

Case in point: on 4-15-11 my Fire Crew was called to an incident on (California) Highway 299: the rescue of a young man who lost control of his car and crashed his car following his father. I was one of six on my Fire Crew to be on the lift crew (rescue and relief). And earlier in the month, my Fire Crew went to an out-of-control fire in which one of the fire crews – 3 members – from Trinity Fire Camp was located. This was another incident.

Currently, all fire crews are in training for the fire season, in which all prison firefighters in the region showcase their training skills in front of big-wigs. This firefighting is serious business. My crew (Crew 4) has one up on a lot of the crews, as the past month or so we have been working with our fire-packs on, and we are blessed to be working for the Fire Captain (Mike Wurth); he has done an excellent job training us. He involves himself with the crew and works just as hard as we do, which allows us to have a different form of respect for him. He is not like other fire captains, or as my peers call them, “slave-drivers.”

I appreciate the hard work, as I can use my philosophy of how one can serve time, and work it to death. (I see the Big Picture; I respect all the captains here because this is their life, and I have learned a lot from all of them. I thank them for the lessons learned.)

Captain Wurth has had our crew hike, cut fire-lines, and work on the grade with our 30-pound packs every day for five or six hours a day. Excellent training for me. We are “Grade 1” firefighters, the ones that are called to cut a line around a fire for $1.00-per-hour. It’s not about the money for me; it’s about the retribution.  Look up and live!

Oh! I am in training for life, and my next stage of life is, “Do You Want to Learn How to Fly?”

It’s a PROCESS. 

(Our) Crew 444 (Catching, Nutcase, Billy Birdsong, Dutch, Rudy (“Lunch Box”), Hank, H-O #30AT, Smileone, my bunkie Adam, O.G., Chase (“youngster”), Revis, The Youngster (Sal), and my man (Trev, Roy Young, Jr.) from the Bigga the Bigga De Ol 94 in the eastside of Oakland. I call Trev “the madman, mastermind.”

These brothas have helped me build tons of interpersonal skills and CHARACTER. I want to tell them that C-Bug (the boss of all bosses) would be proud of me, as I have an Oscar on the one – role-playing.

I thank God for allowing me to understand that brothas here may want to write something, but can’t; the want to, but can’t deal with a black man (peer pressure and ignorant to life and its existence. Gangism, racism, and fear to stand up for the truth which they just can’t see right now. But, I respect all of them, their practices, their mentality, and their understanding. Amen.)

Life is great, and I want to shoot this one for my Dream Team: Nutcase (Erin Catching), N-O, Tips, and Keon (I look up to Keon) for helping me. I work each of them out, but I am reaping the rewards; by the grace of God I will be performing the Leap of Faith – Four Decades (leaping over cars to dunk a basketball).  Do You Want to Learn to Fly book will be out upon some negotiation with apparell companies for my theory. Only if Mike Skolnick and my family at Fader could be a part of this one….

Here I come, world. 

_______________________

RED! writer, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell is now living in Oakland, California.

Mr. Mitchell gathered and helped edit a series of writings by inmates at the facility in Lewiston, California, which RED! is currently publishing. The series is titled, “What a ‘Changed Me’ Can Provide for My Family and Society.”

May 25, 2011

How Can a Changed ‘Me’ Help My Family and Society? – by David Jennings, Jr.

I’ve been incarcerated 36 months and I have a month-and-a-half remaining. During the onset of this term, I realized that, with this being my first time in prison, a door had been opened up for a return into this system multiple times, or a permanent residence in this system.

I was 26-years old at that time and I knew from Day One that this wasn’t something I wanted to make a lifestyle out of: prison. I’m the father of three boys, ages 3, 4, and 5, the youngest of whom I haven’t even had the chance to hold in my arms – because of the error in my thinking – in order to tell him that he has a father who loves him. He was born while I was fighting my case.

I have two uncles who went through the system before me. I wondered if I was in the same cell or walking the same yard they had experienced. It hit me that one or all of my sons could wonder the same thing about me when they grow to be the age one reaches when one could be put behind bars; if they would be in the same cell in which I had been; or walking the same yard I walked; or might have any of the experiences I’ve had while going through the system. I thought about those things, and I didn’t want that for them. I knew I had to change my thinking.

When I lost my freedom, the mother of my children promised me that she would wait for me. That lasted about a year. We wrote back and forth, speaking about how much we loved each other, how much we missed each other, and what we were going to do for each other when we were reunited. Then came a period of unanswered silence. I would write her, begging her to write back – but, no answer, which lead me to curse her out in letters. And still no answer. I didn’t want to accept that she moved on. Well, I got a letter in which she told me that she, in fact, had moved on.

I felt victimized. How could she lie to me? How could she do me the way she was doing me? Then I realized that I had done it to myself. I used to be real selfish on the streets. And I was continuing my selfish thinking in prison. I acknowledged that negative thinking, and I have taken responsibility for my actions. I got myself locked up. I’ve taken myself away from my family. Through my selfish actions, I caused her to need someone to be there with her to take care of her needs, as well as the needs of my children. This is in no way, shape, or form meant to be a sob story. But, to be honest, this is an example of the error in my thinking.

My point is that my personal experiences have taught me so much. Accepting the responsibility of my actions has truly been an eye-opening experience. The consequences of one’s actions run deeper than what appears on the surface. When I saw how much I was responsible for, I realized that I was changing, because I made the choice to discontinue pointing the finger elsewhere. No longer thinking selfishly as a child does, I’ve grown into a man. Now, as a man, I pray to God for my family to be restored. I pray that I can be the leader my sons and their mother need. I pray to continue growing. I pray for success.

I’ve put my faith in God and He’s the one who has changed my thinking. All I did was listen to what he’s been saying to me through my experiences. I have faith that He’s going to restore my family. If it happens, then there is nothing He can’t do. All of the people around me will hear of what He’s done for me. For I will always proclaim His goodness toward someone who didn’t deserve it: me.  Amen.

David Jennings, Jr. is incarcerated in Lewiston, California.

May 25, 2011

“How Can a Changed ‘Me’ Help My Family” – by Terrel Dupelay

I am encouraged to write about a changed ‘me’. I can help my family the best possible way I know by showing them that I have actually changed mentally, and for the better, I’ve changed my whole self, first and foremost. I have learned over the years in my life that I cannot help anyone else unless I help myself first. So, by my own changing the way that I think and the way I view a lot of situations I encounter in life into opportunities which will turn my negatives into positives, I can then be of help to them. I truly believe that the “G-Man” up high and my being incarcerated have helped me to do that.

Also, my taking advantage of every opportunity to advance myself and being a leader by example in showing positive actions can be more motivation for them to do the same. Overall, it all starts with me, I believe. As long as I continue to strive to be the best person I can, and continue to grow and expand myself each and every day that I’m blessed to see, then that would be a great help to my family and others around me.

Also, I would like to tell my brothers, Torrin, Damion, and Trovelle to continue to keep ya’ll heads up, because ya’ll ain’t forgot about. To my mother and the rest of my family: I love you all and miss you all a lot. To my ‘patnas’ ‘Gene, Zach, Juan – thank you for the support. Special thanks to Mr. Hook Mitchell for giving me this opportunity to express my thoughts in publication. If I’ve forgotten anyone, my apology, and much love to all ya’ll.

Terrel Dupelay is currently incarcerated in Lewiston, California.

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.

May 10, 2011

Mistakes 143 – Column by Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell

My “Mistakes 143” column on this occasion takes us to another day at the University of Higher Education and lower learning.

Imagine this: it seems as though when most things change, most things stay the same. Recently, it was very, very interesting – a lot of excitement in this incarceration facility. The “Camp” corrections officers (C-O’s) found contraband and, so, now guess what?  Sixty-five to 70% of the Camp is drinking as much water as they can.

Those around me heard of this finding, and they heard that there is a strong possibility that the “whole” camp will be drug-tested; they are dirty. Weed (mostly).

Someone copped to the incident. Gang members usually cop to theirs.

Change – the individual placed so many others in danger. First of all, he placed himself in danger, and then the family of the individual that made the so-called drop.

Maybe I am only one of the only individuals that does not smoke anything – myself and a few others are clear of this debacle. My bunkie is forced not to; he has two (positive) tests. One more (positive) and he is back to the yard with about four months or so added to his sentence and Camp program discontinued. He is not the only one here that has lost time or is living on the edge.

Fire Camp, as we call this facility, is maybe one of the only facilities that is “free”; that is, it is out in an open space in northern California, where inmates have total access to the free world. And in which all races, gangs, and ignorant activities exist. It is different from behind the walls. The other night I saw something I thought was special: N. and S. sharing virtuals together. I said, “Look at that. They are intermingling.” Behind the walls they would run a piece of metal, etc. so far up each other it would take a day for them to take it out (they would attempt to kill each other for something small).

Now, the “day after the storm.” This is late February. Officials tested the whole camp on the related issue of contraband I indicated above. Inmates began to harm themselves by drinking bleach and an enormous amount of water.

There were only about 10 to 20 inmates out of 122 inmates that willingly went up there to test and had complete confidence in a positive test. A nice ratio. Even those that have been tested negative over the last two to three months were in question of their test. An ugly sight: the fact that they have already lost time, and especially knowing they are under mandatory testing. Sad thing.

God has blessed me to stay out of the way and allowed my peers to have the floor at this time. As I say, I am just passing through and I do not want any problems.

I am patiently waiting to be inserted back into the game (hoop slogan) by God, so that I can have The Last Laugh. Oh! God allowed Blake Griffin of the N.B.A.’s Los Angeles Clippers to perform a dunk in the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest that, in fact, I “patented” over 20 years ago. Put me in, coach. I am ready!

I pray that my words are able to reach my column in RED! the breakthrough ‘zine because they are the gatekeepers that I have to pass. I know who is running the show. I am about hope and health.

And, by the way, I still have not seen the Blake Griffin contest-winning dunk. And, too, after the testing, my peers are back in business with the garbage. Half of the camp is on the edge of their seats. Hmmm. Another day at the university.

         –Peace–

I thought I closed this message, but in life as I have learned, when the storm comes, it continues. The C-O’s are earning their keep, as today they found more stuff. It’s a pernicious cycle, but I know that God is working in my life.

April 14, 2011

Mistakes 143 – a column by Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell

Peace.  (Hats off!)

I would like to thank professor Jeff Hillard, RED! webzine, the family of William Hillard, and others in the community of Cincinnati, Ohio for their support – and, oh yes, also the students in the Sports in Literature course at the College of Mount St. Joseph.

On the matter of reviving my spirit toward writing again: I am human and I had become content with writing for a time in which I focused on myself and my work on the project, “Do You Want to Learn How to Fly” (DYWTLHTF).

DYWTLHTF has been one of my main focal points. I know now that God has placed – not replaced – me, and shown me that there is nothing new under the sun (from Ecclesiastes). Plus, I’m working out on a basically religious cycle. I’m always waiting for them [a team] to sign me to a 10-day contract in the N.B.A. Rob Stone knows that I always keep it interesting.

But, my preparation now is on the near future and to perform something that has never been done before: to slam dunk a ball while jumping over a car in four different decades.

I first patterned this stylized Dunk in the late 1980s (1988), the 90s, 2000s – while being featured on the cover of my friend Bobbito Garcia’s magazine, BOUNCE.  My re-entry into society in 2011 will make it a fourth decade. Fader Magazine, Mr. Cohen, and Rob Stone – here I come, God willing, in 2011.  Do You Want to Learn How to Fly?

God willing, too, I will be in Cincinnati in several months, then after I complete my terms and condition of my parole I will make it my home for a few years.

I want to give the brothas around me their well-defined needs and my highly admiration for allowing me to stay physically fit. They give me a hard time for being so hard on them, with all the working out I do. “Nutcase” (Erin), Keon, Grubbs, Lil’ Joe, N-O, Lamont, L.B., Tips, and my bunkie – they all put up with my early  morning study and preparation.

Highly glorified is my Lord.  Oh, grandma! – I love you. Peace.

Watch out, Kiki: I’ll be home soon.  Smile.

April 5, 2011

Mistakes 143 – a Column by Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell

My “Mistakes 143” column on this occasion takes us to another day at the University of Higher Education and lower learning.  It is the “Other University”.

Imagine this: it seems as though when most things change, most things stay the same. Recently, it was very, very interesting – a lot of excitement in this incarceration facility. The “Camp” corrections officers (C-O’s) found contraband and, so, now guess what?  Sixty-five to 70% of the Camp is drinking as much water as they can.

 Those around me heard of this finding, and they heard that there is a strong possibility that the “whole” camp will be drug-tested; they are dirty. Weed (mostly).

Someone copped to the incident. Gang members usually cop to theirs.

Change – the individual placed so many others in danger. First of all, he placed himself in danger, and then the family of the individual that made the so-called drop.

Maybe I am only one of the only individuals that does not smoke anything – myself and a few others are clear of this debacle. My Bunkie is forced not to; he has two (positive) tests. One more (positive) and he is back to the yard with about four months or so added to his sentence and Camp program discontinued. He is not the only one here that has lost time or is living on the edge.

Fire Camp, as we call this facility, is maybe one of the only facilities that is “free”; that is, it is out in an open space, where inmates have total access to the free world. And in which all races, gangs, and ignorant activities exist. It is different from behind the walls. The other night I saw something I thought was special: N. and S. sharing virtuals together. I said, “Look at that. They are intermingling.” Behind the walls they would run a piece of metal, etc. so far up each other it would take a day for them to take it out (they would attempt to kill each other for something small).

Now, the “day after the storm.” This is late February. Officials tested the whole camp on the related issue of contraband I indicated above. Inmates began to harm themselves by drinking bleach and an enormous amount of water.

It was only about 10 to 20 inmates out of 122 inmates that willingly went up there to test and had complete confidence in a positive test. A nice ratio. Even those that have been tested negative over the last two to three months were in question of their test. An ugly sight: the fact that they have already lost time, and especially knowing they are under mandatory testing. Sad thing.

God has blessed me to stay out of the way and allowed my peers to have the floor at this time. As I say, I am just passing through and I do not want any problems.

I am patiently waiting to be inserted back into the game (hoop slogan) by God, so that I can have The Last Laugh. Oh! God allowed Blake Griffin of the N.B.A.’s Los Angeles Clippers to perform a dunk in the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest that, in fact, I “patented” over 20 years ago. Put me in, coach. I am ready!

I pray that my words are able to reach my column in RED! the breakthrough ‘zine because they are the gatekeepers that I have to pass. I know who is running the show. I am about hope and health.

And, by the way, I still have not seen the Blake Griffin contest-winning dunk. And, too, after the testing, my peers are back in business with the garbage. Half of the camp is on the edge of their seats. Hmmm. Another day at the university.

         –Peace–

I thought I closed this message, but in life as I have learned, when the storm comes, it continues. The C-O’s are earning their keep, as today they found more stuff. It’s a pernicious cycle, but I know that God is working in my life.

RED! the breakthrough ‘zine columnist, Demetrius “Hook” Mitchell, is considered by a number of National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) players, All-stars, and peers as one of the greatest players never to make the N.B.A.  A native of Oakland, California, Hook Mitchell, is currently completing a prison sentence in northern California.  While active in the Bay Area as a mentor, coach, youth advocate, and physical fitness trainer, and former legendary streetball player, Mr. Mitchell is featured in the award-winning documentary film, Hooked: The Legend of Demetrius Hook Mitchell.  He is one of RED!‘s most loyal writers and a model of inspiration for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals to observe.

March 15, 2011

Mistakes 143 – by Demetrius ‘Hook’ Mitchell

Peace.

It’s been quite a long time since I have written words for my column, Mistakes 143, in RED! the breakthrough ‘zine.

It hurts because the editors and staff have been so supportive to me and to my growth over these blessed years.

Over the past seven to eight months, I have gone through certain transitions: from reception in prison to “mainline” (general prison population) to where I am currently – “Fire Camp,” our term for it, a facility in northern California.

Time and knowledge govern my current existence. My kingdom is not primarily affected by the norms of True Society. But, my time and reality are focused on one thing, and that is to be the best possible person that “I” can be,.

I seek knowledge of things such as meteorology, gravity, hydrostatics and dynamics, climatology, hygrometry, and a dozen other sciences involved in my reading. And no man completely masters all of them, yet this relates to only one of the millions of facts in physical nature, which are governed by the One that holds the key to all knowledge and laws. Still, I seek out every piece of information that I can to change “me”.

I will soon be back to the norms of the world, “focused” and changing lives.

In life, mistakes are made (nature’s human inclinations), and out of these mistakes one can make that change and ultimately make a difference in society. That’s where #30 AT is at.

Editor’s Note: Read these early columns by Hook Mitchell.