by Willie Hill
The following presentation is in regard to certain state-sponsored acts of discrimination geared toward furthering the old slave master’s agenda meant to miseducate our youth. These acts are systematically keeping incarcerated parents non-factors in helping substitute parents raise them and silencing the voices that know the truth and have nothing to lose by telling it to their children.
This is why the “powers-that-be” are so determined to silence me — because I’m trying to message the forgotten children of the voiceless incarcerated – the so-called at-risk, young sleeping giants of all colors.
I’m trying to be the voice of the voiceless incarcerated mothers and fathers that I left behind the walls of California’s prison industrial complex some years ago, who I know are suffering helplessly in misery and dire uncertainty about the plight of their families, especially their children.
My determination is driven by several factors, all centered around the immediate need to wake up our youth to their inherent role as the next drivers to take the wheel of this hypocritical, morally bankrupt, supercar nation of ours and safely steer us into the future in one piece — united together as one democracy, under one flag — the red, white and blue “Old Glory.”
What is needed right now are new, innovative tools for the “Build-Back-Better Toolbox” that can be utilized in helping to mend the widening socio-political gap threatening to tear our nation apart into rival red and blue armies.
We are a nation seriously teetering on the brink of a second civil war unless we remember our history and not repeat the mistakes of our predecessors, ignoring the bitter verbal gang turf war brewing right now, out of control up in the shining “City on the Hill” between our red-rag and blue-rag political shot callers.
Needed are fearless vanguard approaches to championing the causes of racial equality, civil rights and criminal justice. And let us Americans not ignore prisoners’ rights reform and the idea that “Convict lives matter too!”
Convicts possess ingenuity skills to offer a society obviously in need of help, yet they are being ignored, despite most convicts desperately desiring to give back to society if given a chance. Especially the incarcerated parents to these so-called wayward, at-risk youth, parents that today linger behind walls for no just cause and are deemed non-factors when it comes to the most sacred of parental duties: educating their own children about the basics of life.
Which “moral behavior” is key? That’s a component of the mind that must be taught, and it so happens some convict parents spend their time in the “House of Penitence” (penitentiary) doing just that — learning and practicing right behavior for decades on end.
Considering the number of fathers missing in action during the bogus three-strike dragnet that wiped out men of color from inner cities, who is really to blame for today’s misunderstood and disenfranchised youth that society finds so hard to manage and impossible to control?
Convicts possess ingenuity skills to offer a society obviously in need of help, yet they are being ignored, despite most convicts desperately desiring to give back to society.
Most of the fathers to the youth today were non-factors in raising a lot of these so-called at-risk youth because their parents were in jail rehabilitating themselves and to this day many still linger behind the wall, out of sight and out of mind.
The underlying reality is that adult society on this side of the wall is more responsible for our youth’s behavior today. In the absence of incarcerated rehabilitated parents, their children are left alone watching years of daily political dramas unfold as the nation’s leaders squabble in the political arena like hypocritical cartoon characters on Saturday morning television.
Obviously our youth see that one or both are guilty, yet what are youngsters to think if no one is taking the time to try to find a moral message to define the worst of adult behavior so openly on display these days? And that is why one component of my work is to express the concerns of convict parents lingering in their cell unable to raise their children left out here in this pandemic plagued world gone mad with misinformation and hypocrisy.
If the highest civil moral authorities out here in free society won’t grow up and behave like the textbook role models we expect our leaders to be and inspire our youth to follow, then perhaps it’s time that free society broadens its reach behind the walls of your nearest neighborhood penitentiary. Perhaps it is time to look inside that incarcerated society of rehabilitated mothers and fathers and allow more of them freedom and the chance to come home and set the right example.
It so happens my book is born from behind the wall of that forgotten society of the rehabilitated parents. And though I unfortunately never fathered children myself, for 15 years straight (1983-1998), I walked the yards of numerous prisons and celled with many fathers, listening day and night to their deepest sentiments and concerns.
Even men on death row “avoid going in debt,” a major death-defining no-no behind the wall.
I read some of their groundbreaking creative ideas and fresh innovative solutions to society’s problems, sitting idle, being ignored by free society. I also watched first hand the extremes some fathers go to just to show their kids on the street that they are changed, caring men.
Some fathers put their lives on the line just to send their kids money. At the risk of going where few men dare, even men on death row “avoid going in debt,” a major death-defining no-no behind the wall. Yet I heard horror stories about men that took that chance and borrowed money they knew they couldn’t repay, only to wind up paying the ultimate price in the end. All for the sake of trying to prove their worth as an incarcerated father.
Another objective of my work is to enlighten the youth today to the plight of their incarcerated parents. And, more importantly, I want to encourage them to take action through youth participation in matters of governing.
Beginning with active and former street gang members of all colors, races and group affiliation, I’m calling on them to step up and demand their inherent right as the generation to sit at the round table with their shot-calling political gangster counterparts to legislate, discuss policy and enact needed reform on both sides of the wall and throughout the country.
History dictates that youth participation has always played a part in non-violent activism. Thus, there never was nor will there ever be a more crucial time than now for our youth to start thinking outside the hood.
The youth must dare to aim for real greatness by focusing their ambitions toward uniting into major political parties. They must rewrite their gang banging legacies and set the future history books straight. They must remember that the formation of political parties was an essential part of the founding of America.