Jamie’s Parole, the Book, and Watch and Whirl

wh jamie2

As I insert this photo of Jamie I thought of how nice it would be to have new pictures. This is from my last visit October 2017.

My Apologies For Disappearing Lately

The last six weeks or so I haven’t posted much. Before that I spent more time writing the book instead of blog posts so most posts were chapters or music. Life got complicated and I’ve needed 36 hours a day to stay on top of it. In addition I’m going through radiation on my head for another bout of cancer. But since this blog is for Jamie I will begin with the most important news. Jamie’s parole news.

Jamie was approved for parole. I found out online before he found out. I received a letter asking me to check on the parole hearing he had LAST AUGUST, because no one would tell him anything. I’ve been in high gear ever since.

I was doubtful about him getting parole because he had nothing to work with. No trade, still in agseg and no certificates to show he had done anything to improve himself – because the prison wouldn’t let him.

There are different kinds of parole, different levels of releases, which was new info for me. It depends on the crime, or if it was for drugs and even if he had been a user, because they don’t want ex-inmates to hook up with the same people again. There are plenty of ways to get drugs in prison so if you’re an addict you don’t have to get clean. But drugs were not Jamie’s thing and he didn’t go near it inside. There are also different kinds of supervision if you are paroled, and how often you have to see a parole officer. There are also fines you might need to pay.

Parole isn’t cheap. You have to pay your parole officer each time you go. I don’t know if rules are different in each state, but I’d guess they are since everything else about incarceration is different. No prison is ever fun, but some states are REALLY not a state you want to be incarcerated in.

Jamie’s classification is Fl-1. I think it goes up to Fl-7. I contacted the women in a Facebook group called, “Loved ones in Allred Unit”, to see if anyone could answer my questions about parole. They said it would probably get a date in 1-3 months. On Facebook, some of the large prisons have groups so wives, mothers and girlfriends (and the occasional man) can communicate about what is happening at a particular prison – lockdowns, visits and even weddings. They share photos of their loved ones and often just need to talk and share their worry when they haven’t heard from someone inside. Often they are new to the prison system and have questions.

There is also a group for those incarcerated anywhere in Texas, “Loved ones in TDCJ. ” Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Allred Unit is the largest prison in Texas so there are enough people to keep a group going. Even when Jamie was moved to Hughes Unit last year for a program that really accomplished nothing, I maintained contact in the Allred group because they know who Jamie is.

Fl-1 means they have to investigate if he can survive on the outside. They contact family and make sure he has support on the outside. They don’t approve you and set you out the doors. You are moved to a “pre-release” prison where they have resources and try to prepare you – a step – down program. I am still learning what happens next. They have to make sure he has an address to parole to; family or a halfway house. Will he have a job? He had been on disability for epilepsy. Can he reapply? How does he get his epilepsy meds? He has no work history. He doesn’t even have a GED because the prison wouldn’t raise him to a classification that would allow him to take any kind of classes.

Jamie’s family haven’t helped him during these years except at the very beginning, so I wonder what they’ll do when the novelty of his release wears off. Paying his way will take even more money now. What kind of job could he get that would enable him to pay rent IF a landlord would rent to him. He will go to his brothers house who has wife and two very young children. Will his brother begrudge the time and effort support him long enough?? He wouldn’t visit him in prison.

In January of this year his brother visited him for the first time in TEN years. When I tried to convince him to visit a few years ago his response was, “Its not my fault he’s in there.” Excuse me?? Is that a reason? Ten years? Maybe it will be okay, but that attitude doesn’t make me confident. All these years his family knew I was taking care of what Jamie needed and not once did anyone say, “I’ll pay his medical fee this year,”or “I’ll buy his food box this quarter” or put money in his account, even for hygiene. Yes, I have doubts about how this will work out. They can’t pretend they were there for him. How long will his brother and wife be tolerant of Jamie being around – feeding him, buying clothing, driving him places. His brother wouldn’t help him buy a stick of deodorant at the commissary so supporting him until he gets on his feet might be more than he is willing to do. That worries me.

So I’m asking for help from anyone who will.

I wanted to be better prepared. I wanted the book to be published. I understand better what it will take to promote it. I wanted to be father along.

watchandwhirlShop

watchandwhirl.ecwid.com 

ebay.com/str/watchandwhirlshop

On Facebook, just search Watch and Whirl. I don’t have a Url yet. I am also going to be turning my WordPress blog into a business site and put the site there, too.

A few months ago I opened an online e-commerce store in three locations, selling a variety of items from things for your home, nautical furnishings, musical items, jewelry and more. I’m choosy. Some online stores have thousands of items hoping to sell a few, but I only add items I like if have in my own home.

I opened these stores because I am on disability and need to pay a story editor to go over my book manuscript for “Inside the Forbidden Outside.” I also need a line editor. I have worked for four years writing and rewritingas I have learned how to write (and still learning). There are hundreds of letters strewn across half of my bed as I cross check what happened over the years with my letters that are on file online at JPay.com which is how I “email” letters to Jamie. It takes both his letters and mine to piece together his story.

In addition, there is the music I have recorded to go with each chapter. I spent four hours today working on a new recording. This is a much longer process than sitting down and writing just the book. Although I have used fiction to piece the story together, the events that happen in the book did happen. I did have to create some of the dialogue, especially in the dream sequences I use instead of printing parts of letters.

The amount of time I have put into this, if I did a crappy job during the editing phase it would put it all in jeopardy. But I’m on disability. My age and health doesn’t allow me the luxury of working an outside job.  Writing Jamie’s story has given me a reason to keep going. It has been my purpose. We have much to do when he gets out, including writing the sequel – from 2016 until.. . . now and through reentry.

I opened a store. I’ve written about it already – Watch and Whirl – at three locations, because I desperately need to make money. My disability check doesn’t cut the mustard. I have an online location, and a store on Facebook and eBay, which also has auctions.

I had no idea how many hours it was going to take each day, or what I was going to have to learn to make it work. I’m still learning. I also don’t have the advertising budget that is needed to put out Facebook ads, which has the #1 spot for marketing businesses online.

Yes, I’ve been having some sales success, but not enough to cover the overhead I have accrued with even the monthly fees of being in business. And trying to work on finishing up the book, writing music and taking care of 2 blogs – well, there are only so many hours in each day.

So those who know what I do – and some of you have followed me for 5 years – go take a look at my store. Maybe it will be of interest. Maybe it won’t. It continues to grow and change. All of this is to help Jamie. Now that he is being paroled, the pressure to make it come together is real.

I can’t sell internationally yet, but you could share my store on Facebook on your social media pages. It is all about people sharing.

In the meantime, I have a PayPal account. If you could send even a couple dollars to help, go to paypal.com and send it to the email address set up for him: squick@mynameisjamie.net

My Blog Map of The World

My blog map

I like to look at the map of the world I have on this site where the flag counter is located under each post, which tells me how many hits and how many countries have tapped into my blog on any given day, week, month or year. In the past week it was 26 countries, some from places I really didn’t know existed. Overall, at last count if was a total of 135+ countries. Today I see that it is only Greenland and interior Africa that are the only places that haven’t come to my blog. I don’t get hundreds of hits a day like some blogs do. Maybe if this blog was all I was doing and devoted every day to it, it would be more. Most people who come here are not other bloggers, it is from Google searches for information that they find me.

People all over the world are looking for information that connects to prisons – largely the US prisons. Why? Because what we do affects people everywhere. We set a standard for others to follow and unfortunately that standard is a bad one. Will we ever learn to do the right thing? It is doubtful. Greed is much more powerful than the desire to do the right thing.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t punish people when they do something wrong, but it is wrong to give a black man 20 years in prison for stealing food if his family is hungry, especially when a white man would probably get a year of probation, maybe. We over-punish and we do it based on race. Or look at it this way; what would twenty years in prison do that one year wouldn’t do, especially since now his entire family is being punished. Or was that the intention? Destroy the family. Make them all suffer and unable to rise up out of extreme poverty. Take away any chance of survival. Our criminal justice system is really screwed up.

I don’t know a lot about the prisons in these other countries. I’m sure some are better or worse, but they don’t use them for corporate profit the way we do, making prisoners a commodity for individual stock market growth.

“A sure bet,” they say. “Just keep the prisons full of people.” “No problem” our government says. Laws are abused to make sure 1 in 3 black males will do prison time.

“Let’s reinstate stop and frisk,” says Jeff Sessions, even though it never worked and locked up many more people who couldn’t afford to bond out, and they sit for years in jail never being charged. That will make the corporations lots of money. They could build more jails – provide more jobs. Who cares who it hurts.

For more than ten years I have researched this as I have struggled to understand not only what they have done to Jamie in the prisons they have sent him to, but to try to predict what the effect will be when he gets out. It takes so much more than wanting to have a good life, especially when he has been hogtied in the worst way to keep him from being able to learn how to survive when he gets out. Keeping him in a solitary cell, not allowing him to get any education at all, then setting him free with no life skills. There iss no education for an inmate in adseg or solitary, so they refuse to let him out. They say he is a danger to the rest of the general population inmates. That is the reason they give him. No one can survive that, especially when family isn’t there for you. He has me. Just me, and I am not in the best of health and 30 years his senior. I’m doing all I can.

When I think of the long journey I have been on – helping what used to be a young man who never had a future. It was taken away when he was still 16. He is 35 now. He has been in the prison system far too long to hang in there with promises of a better future that doesn’t begin until the brink of middle age. Taking on that 17 year sentence with him, promising to be there for him is almost the length of time it takes to raise a child until high school graduation, and trying to be responsible for the nurturing of that person almost completely through letters and a visit every year or two. I can’t even touch his hand during those visits.

I’d do it again – because it also taught me a lot about myself. We weren’t blood related between he and I, but we are connected through my grandson. I have been through so much during these years – marking it along the way with crisis we both have had. Life puts you exactly here you need to be to grow as a human being, hopefully affecting other lives in a positive way. I can’t imagine my life without this.

That is all I wanted to say. I appreciate, more than you know, the people who have supported me in this effort – reading, sharing, listening. The book and music have taken far longer than I had thought but if the effort is going to be made it has to be to the best of my abilities, and sometime that means I have to rewrite part of it as I learn. I am confident there is a reason for doing it. I keep the end result in my head. We are what we think. But without other people – you – it couldn’t happen. I’m excited about what the future could bring for Jamie, his son, and yes, my daughter as they are the parents of their young twelve year old boy. My grandson deserves to know both parents. His life has to heal, too.

Thank you

 

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You Don’t have The Right To Bitch

“You don’t have the right to bitch about something unless you are willing to stand up and do something about it.”

This was said in a Ted Talk. It is very good and worth watching. I believe this. That’s the name of the game isn’t it? Lots of people have an opinion about what is the right thing to do. Some also pass judgement on others, but all they do is talk. When it comes time to do anything about it they go away because it is asking too much.

We have a problem in this country. When it comes down to helping to make the change that is needed they wait for someone else to do it. “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to do”. This is not everyone but if 25% more people did more than just read about it, maybe change in rotten systems, like the criminal justice system, could happen.

It’s been ten years since the concept of “prison” entered my life. I had never known anyone who was incarcerated. I knew nothing. The only time I ever thought about it was during an episode of Prison Break.

These years have taught me what it really means to have compassion for human beings regardless of who they are or what they have done that landed them in a prison cell. Some were forced in with plea deals. Some aren’t guilty at all. Some tried to get away with doing something and got caught. Some are mentally ill and were imprisoned instead of treated. Some should never be let out because they are too dangerous to be allowed in society – but that doesn’t mean they should be inhuman treated. That makes us just as bad.

I want to thank those who have supported my effects by sharing posts and commented, subscribed to my newsletter and steamed my music. Followed my YouTube and read chapters of the book I’m writing. Thank you. Thank you.

Without you I could do none of this.

 

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What Goes Around Comes Around – ITFO Chapter

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WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

 

Startled, Jamie woke up when he heard the food cart coming down the hall with breakfast. He sat up quickly and looked around. It took a few seconds to get his bearings. He half expected Sonni to be there waiting for him to wake up. What had happened earlier? It was confusing. It happened so fast he didn’t have time to put it all together.
     Did he dream the whole thing? He could have. He shook his head back and forth as if trying to clear the picture in his brain. It was surreal, like no dream he ever had before. He would like to think it was real, that Sonni had actually been standing next to him in his cell but that was crazy.
    Loneliness got to him. He heard some of the dudes who had been locked up by themselves for a long time sometimes talked to people they thought they saw in their cells but he knew he wasn’t that far gone.
     If he told anyone what he saw they would think he was nuts. He should write to her today and tell her what happened last night. She’d get a kick out of it. It did seem kinda funny looking back at it. That guard probably thought he’d gone off the deep end, unless he dreamed the whole thing. Jamie could laugh about it now, but last night he really thought he was going crazy.

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It was still dark when his breakfast tray was slid through the food slot. There wasn’t enough light to read or write letters so he laid down and went back to sleep.
     Later in the day he took some paper out of his locker and began drawing the lines going across like a writing tablet. He did it slowly. You could hardly tell it want printed on the paper. He stopped every few minutes and laughed a little as he tried to frame the words of the story he wanted to tell her. After that there was something else he needed to write about. She wanted to know more about the night he was arrested. He didn’t want to dredge it up but she needed to know from him what had happened.
     That’s the bad thing about storytelling. Everyone had their own opinion about what happened and why. A story can grow legs until the truth is barely there. She had heard more than one version of that night and he was the one to tell it. He lived it.
     People remembered what they wanted to remember and when they told a story they added their own details until it sounds like a different story. This was why he needed to write it out once and for all.
     There was one main thing he wanted Sonni to know, and it was important to him. It wasn’t his intention to get mixed up in a robbery that night. He was going out to party with a few other dudes. Morgan lost her car that night. It got impounded. He wouldn’t have done that. He was only guilty of not having good judgement about the people he hung with.
     After four years in juvenile detention from age seventeen to twenty one, Jamie didn’t know how to make the right friends. Everyone he knew was on the verge of becoming an adult felon when they got out. If kids were sent to juvy and shouldn’t be there they had to learn how to survive somehow. . . 

<<<>>>

The rest of the chapter is available to anyone who subscribes to ITFO News. You can leave me a comment and ask me to email it, send me a Facebook message or send an email to squick@mynameisjamie.net. I do not swamp your inbox. Promise. I’d like a way to reach you when it’s ready to publish, and any further ( hopefully ) books I write. A sequel it’s planned for this book. This book will end before he is released.

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From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones

Who decides – and how is it decided if someone shows the “required” degree of horror in a crime that was committed decades ago? It can’t be undone – so shouldn’t the decision be based on the actions of that human being during the decades she paid in prison to become a better human being? What are the causes she made that would have an effect on society in a positive way? There have been light sentences given to white people of prominence that amounted to a slap on the wrist because a heavier, appropriate sentence might adversely affect their life, education or career. The man – a Rothschild I think, or another family of that economic status, that sexually molested his infant daughter and was caught by his wife. All he got was mandatory counseling. What degree of horror did he show? Michelle Jones is a remarkable woman and her acceptance at a university after release should be based on her accomplishments now – not judged on whether she showed an adequate degree of emotion over what happened. That sentence was carried out. End of story. Oh, that’s right. She’s black. And she wants to go to a white ivy league college. Of course, everything would be done to stop her until they ran out of options.

Please go to the original post to read, comment and share.

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Go to Jamie’s facebook page to read other posts and article of injustice to educate yourself to what is really happening outside of the garbage opinions posted by sites like Fox News.

Follow the twitter page as well.

We have heard a lot about “fake news” sites since Trumps arrival in politics, mostly because he wants people to believe the things printed about himself aren’t true. I read all sites and compare what they say and follow up with it. I don’t believe anything just because I read it somewhere. The websites I have found I can trust are:

Truthdig    Truthout    Commondreams    Alternet

Start with these and compare what Fox News writes – if they write about these news stories at all. This admin is tearing America apart.  Racism is worse. People being killed because of it has risen.  We can’t afford to not understand all sides of the story and create a truth over just a piece, and twist it into a truth that doesn’t exist – like what Trump did to the truth over why the NFL players were kneeling.  If you don’t take the time to learn then the fabric of what is left of our country will be completely ripped. The way black people are treated in society – in prison – and continually made to come in second is adding to our destruction as a country. This story – this very story – is evidence of that.

 

Make Ban the Box Better

This is so important – everywhere. When someone completes their time their sentence should be over – OVER! When you take into account that many are completing mandatory minimums the judge – who should be able to also determine the length of the sentence but can’t because his discretion has been taken away and all offenders must get the same sentence. So many prisoners were sentenced unfairly. Also, black community and poor neighborhoods have been unfairly targeted and can’t afford a private attorney and are forced into taking plea deals whether they are guilty or not. Because the prisons have an unfair percentage of black inmates to white inmates with a quickly rising Hispanic population anyone with half a brain can figure out the profit motivation being pushed by the prison corporations who are fighting to keep the mandatory minimum sentencing. It makes for a very profitable return on an investment for all shareholders. I would wager most shareholders are in the rich white category who want to keep the poor peons locked up because of the financial. Of course removing “ban the box” might allow more ex-felons get a job and get their lives together – instead of doing something illegal in order to eat.

This is but one thing that needs to happen to allow men and women re- entering society to have a chance to have a successful. It doesn’t really matter if they were guilty or not guilty, because we sure do have a lot of people in society who are guilty of something but never got caught, myself included. If they are free they shouldn’t need to keep telling people that in their past, 5-10-15-30 years ago they made a mistake and have to reiterate those facts of an earlier time in their lives. They already paid their dues.

Do You Have an Attorney in Your Contact List? Why Not?

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This post is for people who live in the US.

I have talked to many people who have had more than their fair share of run-ins with the police, and those who get out of jail or prison and have no way to level the playing field when cops continue to harass you. This is why I originally decided to show people their is a way to have better control over your life. But this is for everyone because all of us are no finding that what we believe to be our rights under the law are being taken away from us. Plus, everyone needs an attorney at some point and would call one if they had one to call, when things go wrong.

The justice system in the US, with our new Attorney General, is now more determined than ever to lock up greater numbers of people using drug usage and crimes committed by poor people that hasn’t worked the last forty years. People who can’t afford attorneys. They don’t see the inside of a courtroom except to plead guilty whether they are or not. These people accept pleas because they have no choice. Only about 3% of arrests get to plead their case with a jury of their peers.

Even people who are guilty, without an attorney at the onset, are going to do many more years, decades even, than they would if they had the ability to say 6 magic words, “I want to call my attorney.” The police are very confident you don’t have an attorney to call. If you don’t they can and do anything they want to you and get away with it.

cop in mirrorThey can say you have a broken tail light, even if you don’t. They can force an illegal search of your car. Who is going to stop them? They can do a search and seizure and take your money and anything else they want and say they think it is drug money. They can shoot you if you don’t comply. As a woman they can search your body and stick their fingers where they don’t belong. What can you do?  You don’t have an attorney you can call.  But if you did?

The list goes on – but what if you could press an app on your phone that is answered by a law office – 24/7 for an emergency. Has this ever happened  to you? The cops do these things because poor people don’t have attorneys. Again I ask, what if you did? Do you think it would level the playing field a bit? How much would you pay for that ability? Would you pay the price of a pizza?

Do you say, ” No good law office is going to take my call and do that for me unless i pay him hundreds of dollars.  And on a Saturday night?  No way!

Let me carry this thought a little farther. You are walking down the street. Cops follow and harass you. “Why are you following me?” You ask politely. “I don’t like your punk ass,” the cop mouths off at you with a cocky sneer, because he is wearing a uniform and he’s just itching for a reason to put you face down on the ground. Maybe he didn’t like the way you crossed the street.  You tell him you have called your attorney. Your phone should already be in your hand, app pressed, ssaying, “I’m being illegally detained by a cop,” and show the cop your phone and who it dialed. Tell him, “My attorney would like to talk to you.” They won’t want to mess with you with an attorney listening.  If he really is just harassing you, looking for a punching bag, he will probably tell you, “Have a nice day,” and leave.

I can write many different scenarios about things that can happen about why a cop stops you. It might even be just for speeding or changing lanes without signaling.  The things we call ourselves names over for being stupid because we know better. But it could be other situations, some as ordinary as being screwed by a landlord, overcharged on a bill or for every single thing you sign your name to.

Every person needs an attorney hiding in their phone waiting to be called, except, oops,fox2news you didn’t think you would need it.  You thought you weren’t interested. You are a good driver.  You haven’t been stopped in a long time. You never sign your name to anything without reading every bit of fine print, right?  We all read everything their company used an attorney to write for you to sign that protects them, not you.

If you are familiar with my writing, one of my biggest concerns is what does a prison inmate do when they are released back into society? He’s watched. Is he on parole or maybe probation? That means he is still tied to the justice system. At the snap of a finger, for any reason that parole can be taken from him. It is the fastest and easiest way to keep a prison full through the back door and there is nothing you can do about it. When he is off parole he has a bulls eye on his back and absolutely no protection from anyone who implies he did anything.  It’s open season.

What is the cost per month for this privilege? About a fifth of your cable bill? The price of a run thru at fast food place? A half a tank of gas? Less then the price of an oil change? A couple boxes of Jimmy Deans breakfast sandwiches? Would that be worth paying to have an attorney in your pocket the next time a cop stops you and makes you subservient because he thinks you have no legal recourse?

There is a lot more I could tell you – after you think about this. There is one more thing, though, to consider. You, or one of your children gets pulled into a police station and is relentlessly grilled hour after hour until someone admits they did something – without a parent present. Or maybe they played good cop bad cop. “Just say this . . . and you’ll get to go home.” They don’t. They end up up getting 20 years, when they could have said instead. “I want to call my lawyer.” How much would it be worth to you to be able to say those words and possibly change the outcome of what you or your child could be facing?

Tip the scale. Look at the website. Don’t make a decision until we talk so you know everything. My grandchildren have had 2 fathers in prison. Four out of my seven grandchildren are half black or Hispanic. I’ll be damned if I will lose any of them to some racist cop who thinks it’s okay to beat up, taser or take them to jail and abuse them because of the color of their skin. Poverty level poor people, and those who just can’t afford to keep an attorney on retainer, which is all of us, need a way to protect themselves from people who think they have the right to harass us.

If you want to hear more – no commitment.  Just leave a message and say “Interested” or send me a private message or email at squick@mynameisjamie.net.  It never hurts to talk. It can hurt a lot more if you don’t.

 

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What Happens After Prison?

turn back time

What happens when I get out? I will want to live right, get a job and care for my family, but because I have been locked up, everyone who looks at me will only see is a person who has failed. It won’t matter who I am or why. Do you know why so many end up back in prison? I’ve talked to so many men over these years who have been in and out and back in again. It’s because during the time they are in here all they do is talk about doing what they did to get in prison the whole time they are in here. They can’t see themselves living any other kind of life. Some want to change but theyj think next time they won’t get caught.

You are right, depression is an issue for many. It’s too much to put on paper, really. Just so you know, I talked to a lady from Mental Health. She sees the stress and depression in here. She also told me she saw some thinking errors in our conversation. Of course I had left out a lot. We talked about my mom. I’m worried I might lose her while I’m in here. That scares me.

Okay now, get this. I promise you it happened. I woke up at the some time in the morning, crying. I was really sobbing. I looked at my clock and it was blinking. I was afraid. It was fear of what will happen. I knew it was 3 something. I could hear the guards. They were feeding breakfast. Why was I crying? I had this dream of being called to the fourth floor of a hospital only to be told my mom was dead. I remember in the dream I called my brother Anti to tell him. Then I just broke down. Yes, some of it is fear of what will happen. The struggle is always hard.

There will always be obstacles. Where will I live? I don’t know. I don’t want to stay in a halfway house. Texas is not where I want to be, but it is where my son is. I’ve never been anywhere else. This is not a good state for me. I want to see what else is out there. Wouldn’t it be great to take a road trip and drive all over and see everything? How do I know where I want to be if I haven’t been anywhere at all except inside walls?

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Dreaming For Tomorrow

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DREAMING FOR TOMORROW

Where are you going?

I see you walking in the distance

In the open air, no walls around you

What are you thinking?

You move your feet in a tiny dance

A smile appears. There is no one to stop you

Stretch your arms, there is nothing to feel

but the wind through your fingers

and the sun on your skin

It’s been a long time since life felt so real

Where are you running?

so fast and so free 

You fall to the ground and look to sky

Watch the birds and the clouds moving lazily

You understand now what it feels like to fly

The piano music is titled “Inside The Forbidden Outsidecopyright 2015 by Sonni Quick.

If you want to hear any of the other music go to http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick. As with anything online, stats are important. Share, like or leave a comment for others to see. It would be a benefit for me. When my arm heals I’m coming out of retirement from music 14 years ago and play again.

For those not familiar with my music, it is all improvised. If there is an error it becomes part of the piece. I can’t play it again the same exact way. I recorded this as I was writing Jamie’s book. As my damaged arm becomes functional I can continue recording and editing the book.

When I woke this morning I had a vision of Jamie in the distance and these words came to mind. I thought how  it must be to never be able to stretch out your arms and not touch something. His world is so small. No ability to run with abandon. We crave what we can’t have

Why is a Half White, Half Black Person Always Called Black?

abagond.wordpress
photo source: abagond.wordpress.com

As more years go by the races become more mixed.  Really there aren’t many people who are entirely one race anymore.  Most whites are a combination of at least several different white races.  I am English, German, Irish  and Welsh, maybe more.  But it changes when the races are mixed with dark skin.  Then any other country involved in the DNA disappears and they become just black.  Obama is half white, but people don’t refer to him as white, even though is skin is lighter because of his whiteness. He is only black.  He isn’t our first mixed race president, he is our first black president.  This way the racists have more to feel negative about.  So the white part of him is never talked about.  His daughters are 1/4 white.  Does that not count either?  Does being mixed mean nothing?

Two of my grandsons are half black and half white, with a small part of American Indian, English, Irish, German and Welsh. Doesn’t that count?  Are they only black?  One has lighter skin and one doesn’t.  Jamie has his father’s skin and hair.  I have a half white and half black teenage granddaughter.  Her black side is half African and half Island black.  Her skin is fairly light and has beautiful curly, not kinky hair.  I remember that her mother wanted so much for her to be white.  She had white dolls, not black dolls.  I have another grandson that has enough Hispanic in him that if he is with any number of races he can pass for them.  Now all of my grandchildren have the same percentage of Chactaw Indian in them, too, which is very evident in my daughter because she takes after her grandmother, who isn’t full blood Indian.  It was her grandmother.  But some races are more dominant when the genes are passed.  The black race is very strong genetically; stronger than the white race and so is American Indian.

I have also seen mixed race couples have twins and one comes out white and one comes out black.  What are these kids called, because they both have the same genetics? will one girl have a harder life without the same privileges as the white sister?  How do the introduce them without getting weird looks from people? This is my white daughter and this is my black daughter? How can one daughter have racism directed at her and her blond haired twin have a privileged life – unless she met someone, for any reason who couldn’t handle that there was black blood in her – perhaps the parents of a possible spouse because there would be a pretty good likelihood that she could have a black baby.  OMG!  And there are people who would think that way.

mixed race twins
source credit: snoopes.com

I don’t care if my grandchildren represent multiple races, I refer to them as my grandchildren. But when I show pictures of them to people and I clarify that they are my grandchildren I can see the look they give because it is obvious they are black. but what if I chose to introduce them as my white grandchildren, because they are, after all, just as white as they are black, and Jamie, who is the darkest of the three could very well have white children, too.

To me, the entire subject of racism is absurd because as the years go by it will get harder to separate people by their race.  All of the ugly things white (privileged) people say; like black people are dumber, but it’s not their fault, it’s in their genes (or lack of decent schools and teachers) or that black people have a higher tendency to be criminals or black people do more drugs (statistically proven to be untrue) or black people want more handouts because they are lazy and all the rest of these things that are printed so white people can continue to believe they have a right to be privileged. If black people succeed I often read it is because it was given to them, bot that they earned it.  The horrible things said about Malia Obama when she was accepted at Harvard is a perfect example.

So where is it all going?  I’m in the middle of writing a letter to Jamie at prison.  He wrote to me about the limited information they get about things on the news and wanted to know what was really going on.  I told him, “When you get out, the world will not be what you remember.  You have lived on the outside so little since you were a young boy, so what you remember doesn’t apply to what is happening now.”

That uncertainty must bother him not knowing what he will have to deal with – and knowing so many people are going to be hostile.  The world is changing and not necessarily for the good.  He will have to treat life so carefully to not end up back inside. He won’t have to intend to do anything wrong for someone to take it as such.  He knows that from dealing with the institution inside the gray walls he is locked up in right now. He doesn’t have to do anything to find himself in the wrong.

Yes, I know he is very aware of being racially targeted.  That is how he ended up locked up in the first place.  And being racially targeted, even in juvenile detention,. where being called a nigger by white staff was not unusual.  Of course, a teenager is going to have a temper when he is lied to repeatedly.  Solitary confinement was used liberally to teach these niggers how to behave. No one was going to believe his side of any story.  Black teens grow up knowing they will be lied to, lied about, and will always come out on the wrong end of the stick no matter what they say or do. White people have absolutely no idea what having to live like that is like.  Maybe if they did they would learn not to judge so quickly. White people are NOT special people.  They have just fooled themselves into thinking they are.

Because racism is through the roof with cops, black people  have to worry still about getting killed. Don’t get indignant and insist it isn’t true. It is not the white people who have to fear for their lives from the cops in the same way. Do I have to worry about my grandsons?  Does Jamie have to worry about his half white son. Will my other grandson have to worry have to worry?  Will this boy’s father have to worry? My daughter isn’t worried because she is teaching them respect, but who is teaching the cops to have respect?  I don’t see that happening.  Who is teaching the judges to have respect who refuse to convict a cop when he murders yet another dark skinned person and uses the phrase, “I was afraid for my life, so I thought I’d better shoot him in the back before he turns around and tries to hurt me with the gun he isn’t carrying. Statistics about cop killing people have not been gathered in any kind of consistent manner until now.  It is being fought for now. We need to know what is happening.

WHEN JAMIE IS RELEASED FROM PRISON

When Jamie gets out of prison, what will his world look like?  How will he be treated?  This hate that has been unleashed by Donald Trump who has whipped up his supporters into a frenzy of hate has made it okay for people to take matters into their own hands and shoot people they think is okay to shoot.  When I think back to the history of Germany, did the German people just wake up one day and hate Jews?  No. They had a leader who worked them and blamed them.  He told his white Christian followers they were the privileged chosen race that God intended and he was such a devout Christian.  Religion was used to pit people against people.  This is what is happened with the Christians in this country.  They are special.  God loves them.  Trump tells them over and over that hate is good.  How do we put hate back in the bottle after the election?

Jamie wants to have a good life. Will he be allowed? He wants to help others to not have a life behind bars.  He wants to be a father to his son.  He wants to go to school.  He wants a chance. Will he have that chance? Will the United States come to it’s senses before it reaches a point where it is impossible before it ruins my family, and many other families. It took a long time for me to understand what it meant to not be white.  I didn’t know I had privileges that everyone didn’t have.  I didn’t know I was “special”.  I didn’t feel special, but the cops know I’m special.  Growing up I knew I was different, but I didn’t know it came with privileges.  That only makes me feel shame that some of my grandchildren are not privileged like me.  It should make you feel shame, too.

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