Prison Letters: An Inmate Writes HHCF



You never know how what you do will affect the world. You can only try from your heart with the best intentions and the best plan you can devise and let things unfold as history sees fit...The HHCF was basically an idea I had held in my mind since the 1980's (I know, I'm getting up there). I have spoken at San Quentin Penitentiary, Vacaville Penitentiary and DVI. All of those visits volunteering to help prisoners changed me forever. But it was a visit to a juvenile hall in San Francisco that really germinated the seed and inspired the formation of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. After visiting a few juve's I decided to never go back to prisons. Mainly because I felt like Frederick Douglass that "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. "


I still feel that way for the most part. But then I got a letter from an inmate who read the story about us in the San Jose Mercury. I will not tell you his name (we will call him SJA) , but I felt compelled to share some of his thoughts with you here:

I think its pretty cool what you are doing for these kids out here...Thats all most of these kids need, guidance, support, love, and inspiration. I wanted to take time to thank y'all and people like y'all that step up and teach the young ones...and keep them away from gangs and drugs...I was just a confused little boy...So I got caught up in what we call "the lifestyle", "thug life", "mi vida loca"....I went on from robbing, hustlin' gangbangin', to The Hall, Jail and to prison...I'm facing 30 years...On parole, I've never been out more than a month...What I'm trying to say is is its good to see people helping teens not follow in the paths of our footsteps...I just wish I could have found people like y'all when I was growing up...Maybe my life would have been different...When I read your section and seen what you got going for teens it put a smile on my face...Because I know what it feels like to grow up with nothing."

I wrote him some things about redemption, discipline and focus. I think he should have the letter in a day or so if he does not already have it. I will keep you guys in the loop as things evolve. Who knows...I might take HHCF into the prisons...




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