Posts tagged ‘transformation’

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!

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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. 

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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.”

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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

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.

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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.

April 6, 2011

Drawing by MELISSA VANOVER (Ms. Vanover, a columnist for RED! and accomplished artist, is incarcerated at Ohio Reformatory for Women.)

RED! Columnist, Melissa Vanover, is also a visual artist. Her drawing, "With Sympathy," was done in recognition of the death on January 12, 2011, of William C. Hillard, father of RED! editor and publisher, Jeffrey Hillard. Melissa Vanover writes the column, "My Time".