My name is Kevin, and I am one of the incarcerated men assisting Stephanie with the inside incarceration collaboration for the amends project.
I met Stephanie in 2019 when she flew from Utah to California to watch your brother Richard graduate from the A.R.C. (Anti-Recidivism Coalition) Program. Which is a very long way to travel, just to spend a few hours in a prison. After witnessing the bond they share, I see why she did it. Also, prior to the graduation Richard and I had become good friends. So I know how much it meant to him, to have his sister there on that day. And to see my friend get that love and support from his family, on his road to redemption, was amazing and motivational.
I was also graduating from the ARC Youth Offender Mentoring Program that day and was chosen to be the speaker for my class. Which was great because public speaking terrifies me…So after nervously stumbling through my speech, Richard introduced me to his sister Stephanie. Stephanie told me she enjoyed my speech (I didn’t believe her for one second). Then, we began to talk about education and the importance of it. I could tell right from the beginning that she really cares. Stephanie is truly invested in the positive change her brother, I, and other incarcerated people are making while incarcerated. And I am truly grateful she allowed me to be part of the amends project.
Allow me to share a little bit of my story.
I am the oldest of five siblings, and like too many black brothers, I was raised by a single mother in a low income L.A. neighborhood. I looked to fill the void my father left in my life in places I never should’ve looked. I joined a gang and I have done things I deeply regret. I disappointed people in ways that I am still embarrassed by, to this day. I’ve made a lot of poor choices which ultimately landed me in prison with a 60 year to life sentence. And though I am wrongly convicted, I take responsibility. Today I realize how destructive my lifestyle was and how many lives were left destroyed in my wake.
Since my incarceration I have completely turned my life around. With the help of my higher power, education, and self-help classes, I have been able to gain insight and heal from t