#LivingWhileBlack

#LivingWhileBlack

For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” -James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues If I were to ever be asked, “What is life as a Black person?” I would be totally aghast. Not because I couldn’t answer the question, but because of how vast it is. Where would I start? Would it be with our current…

The Long Fight: Parkland kids vs. America

The Long Fight: Parkland kids vs. America

I admire the Parkland kids: students who were a part of one of the worst mass school shootings, now turned activists. They have taken their pain and tragedy and turned it into a movement for gun control. While most people would still be reeling from the tragedy (and rightfully so), Emma Gonzales, David Hogg, Alex Wind, Jacyln Corin are among others who have decided to fight for more sensible gun laws. That is strength that most, including myself, do not possess. I love these kids and for the first time…

Musings on survival: Living In The Ghetto and the Near Inevitability of Prison

Musings on survival: Living In The Ghetto and the Near Inevitability of Prison

I recently read Blood in the Fields: Ten Years in the Nuestra Familia Gang and was taken aback by one of the main characters in the book. Mando was a young guy who grew up in a violent household who joined a gang, and ended up committing a murder that would net him a sentence of 29 years to life. I became very sad and thought of one of the young men I met in San Quentin, Efrain. While visiting San Quentin, California state prison for an educational panel, I…

Men and the need to be vulnerable

Men and the need to be vulnerable

I have been pondering a question for some time: what if we let men be themselves? Without any of the societal pressures, role assuming behaviors, or passed down expectations? What if we did not force men to succumb to any of the actions or conventional behavior of what a man is supposed to be? What if we just let men be free from all the identity destroying expectations we have placed on manhood? As I ask myself that same question over and over in my head, I have come to…

The dark turn of the immigration fight…

The dark turn of the immigration fight…

  In light of the current immigration raids, I thought of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine. When he was a child, his parents smuggled him into the United States in a trunk of car. Growing up, he and I did the same things as any other young man – went to school, played video games, read comic books, and talked about girls. It wasn’t until the Immigration Customs and Enforcement raids started to happen around our city that he told me how he arrived here….

The Grind

The Grind

This originally appeared on The Good Men Project My days and nights are consumed by one thing: how to make it pop. There is not a moment that goes by that I am not thinking about how to get my writing and myself in front of people. It is a constant cycle of ideas, triumphs, failures, out-of-the-box thoughts, and strategies. There is another word for it: The Grind. The Grind requires anyone who is an entrepreneur or has an idea and wants to see it come to fruition to work…

Why I am voting yes on Prop 57

Why I am voting yes on Prop 57

This originally appeared on Glide.org When I learned that the California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative, otherwise known as Prop 57, would be on the ballot this November, my curiosity was immediately piqued. I am a writer who has published essays on the destruction of mass incarceration. I am a co-chair of the Glide Memorial Church Racial Justice Group, a team devoted to fighting racism/white supremacy. Most importantly, I am a Black man in America. I see the importance of Prop 57. In a report…

Why I don’t say white privilege

Why I don’t say white privilege

This originally appeared on The Good Men Project  Recently I was invited to participate in an online forum about race in America. Three other guests and I were discussing the murder of Mario Woods by the San Francisco Police Department, the Bundy Oregon occupation, and the lack of African Americans in Silicon Valley. As we talked about the issues and the reasoning behind them, one of the guests said, “The reason why the Bundy family has not been arrested, more Blacks are not working at dotcom’s, and Woods was murdered…