The Beat Within, a publication of writing and art from incarcerated youth, was founded by David Inocencio in San Francisco in 1996. Weekly writing and conversation workshops are held in California, six other states and Washington, D.C. Submissions and new partners are welcomed. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the last year I’ve been back and forth between being free and being locked up. I know you weren’t there when I was a child, but you made an effort to be there in my later years.
You proved to me that you’re a good man and changed, now it’s my turn to prove to you that I’m not another juvenile statistic and I can change.
As I grew older, the innocence I had as a child was lost. That was when my neighborhood became heavily infested with drug dealers and violent gang members. Living in the neighborhood became an everyday struggle just to survive.
To the amazing young men and women incarcerated across the United States of America — my question to you is this. Take a long, hard look at where you at. Ask yourself — do you like where you are right now?