Bringing Hope and Purpose to those marginalized through gang affiliation and its impact on communities.
Friends, thank you for continuing to be part of our movement to help homies see their worth and find their purpose.  

Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer and author of The New Jim Crow says, “The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer primarily concerned with the prevention and punishment of crime, but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.”  I have spent years trying to understand the strong connection of homies who re-offend and their desire to change.  Even though the meaning of these words are so far apart from one another the reality is that they are side by side in re-entry.  Homies leaving prison and gangs no longer have the strong security of family and close kinship with friends.  Upon our release we are dispossessed; released to new circumstances that are so much harder than where we have ever been.  The ability to succeed seems unreachable due to the barriers placed in the path ahead.  The hunger to survive has been a transformed into a meal that one can no longer taste.  The tears a homie sheds are no longer of pain, but of giving up due to criteria that seem impossible.

“Thousands of youth are making the same mistakes every day. But we weren't born that way. None of our children are born that way. And when they get that way, they aren't lost for good. That's why I'm asking you to envision a world where men and women aren't held hostage to their past. Where misdeeds and mistakes don't define you for the rest of your life. In an era of record incarcerations, in a culture of violence, we can learn to love those who no longer love themselves. Together we can begin to make things right.”
― Shaka Senghor

No one I have ever met just woke up one day and decided their dream was to do drugs, gang bang, and get locked up.  We found ourselves placed in environments that led us to believe those were our best or only options.  Winning or losing was based on survival.  Rich or poor meant you had a safe place to live and food on the table or you didn't.  Being classified as mainstream or marginalized drove your possibilities.  We didn't chose the categories nor the names, we just were born into a place where options were limited or simply not visible.  Now we are changing that.  Showing homies that there are other ways to survive.  Connecting them with necessities so they can declassify their self-images and see beyond those old limits.  Inviting them to see possibilities for their lives.  Inviting them to what previously seems impossible: inviting them to Hope.  Because that is where it all starts.

One thing I am known for saying is, "I don't have a magic wand that fixes everyone, but I have Faith and Hope and a strong Purpose."  I have Faith that through our work we can encounter a new way of loving and living.  I Hope that, one day at a time we can create a safe haven to allow homies to be themselves in a place of peace.  So we created Hope For Homies, where homies can come and be themselves, learn to grow vegetables, silk screen and take part in healing therapy and tattoo removal.  To give Purpose.

This month I invite you all to see the Hope in Manny as he walks his new path of possibilities.  The homie Hazard shares one of his poems with us.  And we say thank you to a friend helping us make a difference for a young homie.

Thank you for being a part of our movement.  
In Peace,
Jose "Neaners" Garcia
Welcome Home, Manny!

Sunday, November 22 I was finally able to go pick up the young homie Manny.  I woke up at 4 a.m. and rushed to grab his  mom and little brother.  Last time I had seen his little brother he didn't speak much.  Now we spent 4 hours driving and listening to him say all the things he was excited to show his older brother.  

Five years is what Manny spent in Green Hill.  He is not a kid anymore, but a 21 year old man with the mind of a 16 year old.  It was great to see him hug his mom again and watch his little brother's face light up.  My phone flashed at all the moments trying to capture the purity of joy, love and happiness.

Fast forward to today, December 15...

I have been hanging out with the young homie Manny this past month and just being there with him.  His body language creates glimpses of Hope that he can make it.  The soft hugs he gives when he meets some one new are encouraging.  We spend hours talking not about what he needs to do but how he is feeling.  We discuss life and food and drift into old happy memories of the past before he was in juvi.  We laugh when we remember how his little brother whos serving a juvenile life sentence wore pants that were way too tight.  We remember the fallen homies who passed away and how we want to place flowers on their grave sites.  We exhale all this and stare at each other as we slide back to reality.  It is a long path to go from dispossession to holding a vision of a new life, but we are making strides.

I'm feeling so blessed to have the privilege to walk this path with Manny.
A Poetic Change
by the homie Hazard
we all go thru fazes..
moments in which we don't understand how we ended up displacing ourselves...

I wake up..
and the drive in me has all but left...
the heavy weight of the wrong doings I have accumulated is steadily driven me deeper and deeper into the ground...
I have given the better half of me..
to self preservation as in intellect..

and educational purposes, but today I find myself unaware and almost lost as to the person I seek from my own body...
given the circumstances in which I am in this area...
I know exactly who I am...
so I know that it is always your own fault when the negativity becomes a problem...

well I refuse to be that problem..
I can only replace myself as a man who is destined for a greater good...
I believed that when we keep making mistakes..
in the process in which we keep approaching the situation, I must be more persistent in finding a different approach..
taking a step back..
to reacclimate my thought process..

I haven given all that I am to this..
and in this there is no room for stupidity...

tho yes we are human..
we are also masters of our own creation..
in my journey I have been successful in my own rite...
so I can see that I am slowly chipping away at the foundation that I built...

I am stronger than any other forms of pain...
I write so as to create a witness..
in saying that I am the master of all my mental and will surpass this moment of uncertainty..
whatever it is I'm going thru..
I'll be sharper and more learned for I have experienced...
a unusual form of mental hallucinations..
when the obstacles create a block to hold you back..

watch in metaphors..
and find the one that rings to your tune...

this is me..
conflicted in my life..


Thank you to our good friend Sarah W. who introduced us to a young homie from Mariner High. We were able come together to get the homie a new laptop to help with distance learning.

We're excited to be rolling out a new program in January with the help of community partners and allies dedicated to lifting up communities needing new Hope.  Details will be in our January Newsletter.
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