February 8 2018

As a part of the art and activism event INTO ACTION, I was able to be a part of an amazing evening with justice reform activist Bryan Stevenson and singer John Legend. They came together in Los Angeles to discuss transforming the criminal justice system in our country, and especially in California. That’s an issue I care deeply about, because I was once criminally charged and felt the hands of the unfair justice system first hand.

I’ve thought a lot about how the justice system is unfair. It’s unjust. It’s supposed to make the community better and safer, but it doesn’t.

Fortunately for me, I got the support I needed when I was connected to the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) and they helped me become the leader I am today. I took my GPA from 1.2 to over a 4.0. I graduated and now I am enrolled at Santa Monica College (SMC). At SMC, I am planning to start a Mic Club. Music has helped me through some really hard times. Music is a form of therapy. I use it so that I don’t have to fight anyone, instead I come home and write music.

That’s why I was so honored to be a part of the event. I helped welcome Bryan and John to the stage with a performance of a song I wrote, No Love In Ghetto No More. You can watch me here:

I am a youth organizer with YJC because I don’t want to see what happened to me happen to any other youth. We spend more than $247,000 to hold one young person in an LA County youth prison for a year, but we can’t even house so many of the homeless people we encounter in our local communities. This money can send a youth to Harvard, a youth just like me.

Not long after my performance, Bryan said, “Your hope is your superpower.” Those words really resonated with me. As a member of the Youth Justice Coalition, I share my perspective on the issues affecting my community, and fight for a healthier, more just California. I was inspired to keep up my music and my advocacy, to give hope to others. We shouldn’t lock kids up, we should give them the love and support we need.

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