by Mwalimu S. Shakur
Talking to a few youngsters, I hear them saying there are white people in the inner city now walking their poodles down the street and how our communities are being gentrified. I understand how shocking it is to them, but I explain the reason why: “It’s because you don’t own anything and the continued criminal practices are what they are using to get you out of your own neighborhood.”
They don’t really understand politics or the economic system of oppression known as capitalism, just yet. So I attempt to give them some knowledge on how to overcome it. I first explain that taking your money and paying off your mother’s house as well as helping to fund Black business owners is one way to keep them out of your community, because now you have some ownership. Secondly, you have to stop the selling of drugs and shooting another Black youth; and encourage young women not to prostitute themselves through strip clubs, Instagram modeling and becoming escorts, because this gives them reason to put criminal charges on you.
We’re trying to break that mold and get them to understand that this is what you should be doing with that money when you have it – buy your mother’s house off; take your Black-owned businesses; help out the single mothers with the children and create daycare centers. Use self-sufficiency programs the same way the Panthers did to bring back your community in a thriving and prosperous way.
Then I’ll explain the need for re-education, and how it will not only transform the way you think but allow you to transform your community into haves instead of have-nots. There are those inside these prison walls who are learning this re-education process with hopes of becoming better fathers, uncles, brothers and husbands. And I tell them working in solidarity with each other will help you build unity with the masses of other Black folks as well as other ethnic groups nationwide.
It’s always been about destroying the criminal mind and developing the mind of the revolutionary, because a revolutionary takes care of the People. This is what it is, the same way we came to prison, in the drug game, doing the burglaries and robberies and what have you. We transformed our way of thinking; and now with the chance we have, now that we’ve gotten out of the SHU, is to give back to these youngsters who we’re on these mainlines with. You know, building these schools of liberation so that they can change their way of thinking.
When we were out there, (in the “free” world), I’ll put myself in the situation, when I’m out there, I know that continuing those types of practices are wrong. I know they’re not going to get me anywhere, it’s going to end up kicking me in the penitentiary or I’m going to die. And I can do something different. So what I would do, and what I would encourage other young minds to do is to get in touch with the Elders who have experience doing positive things and hopefully that will pick up their interest to want to do the same. Because for me it just took somebody giving me a job and from that job I wanted to go to school to learn something new. From learning something new, I got a new type of job in a new field. So now all these doors are opening up to me to things I didn’t know could exist to me because I lacked the quality education.
So, when I talk to a lot of them, that’s what I find out. What are their interests outside of where they’re at; like what kinds of things do you want to do besides maybe playing sports or being in the entertainment world, because seeing that that’s the only way to get financial stability, there’s got to be other avenues. So when they open up and tell me different things, I say okay this is how you can go about doing this and now you have resources. And with those resources you realize those to make that come to pass for you. Because others who are around you see you doing that, they’ll want your help or they’ll ask you to show you what they’re doing that’s positive that they want to do, and that’s where that change comes. Then you break that psychological criminal mind, you break that hold on you knowing that I don’t have to continue to do this, there’s something else that I can do. Because that is what it boils down to, when you do believe and get the money, you want to wash that dirty money. So if you wash it in something positive, now you open up other new doors for other people to come and maybe get a job, or maybe have a little money to go and get some type of training or start off at a junior college.
We find that a lot of the youth are into technology, they want to learn more about the computer – how to build it, how to program it. A lot of them are into learning to build computer-based programs, like games. Some of them want to design clothes, a lot of them can draw. They are talented in other areas. Some of them are talented in sports and still want to try to pursue things like that. Some of them are gravitating to learning and reading the law books, so I’ve been encouraging them to become paralegals, learn about the law, expunge their records, so one day they could possibly become a lawyer, if you pass the bar. So, there are a lot of things they’re interested in, you just have to take the time to find out what those interests are.
For the most part, the youth I talk to, they see what we do as far as developing those self-help group programs and the groups of that nature and that procures their interest to be a part of that; getting to them and seeing what they want, seeing what they’re lacking, listening and providing that help. They eat it up. Just hoping that they don’t get discouraged and let it go is the main thing. Cuz that happens a lot, too. It takes only one thing to trigger it and go right back to something wrong – and I’m like damn, I wish I could spend more time …
I can only hope that this will continue more and more, as we have a world to win.
The struggle continues,
Mwalimu S. Shakur
Send our brother some love and light: Terrance E. White, AG8738, CSP-COR 3A-02-144, P.O. Box 3461, Corcoran, CA 93212.