My girlfriend is doing a news article on a group of San Francisco State University students who have been behind bars at the Youth Guidance Centers (the most Orwellian name for a juvenile detention program I can think of) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Basically these students help edit the weekly magazine The Beat Within. I've been mulling over their website and magazines for the past couple of days and I'm telling you this is the some of the best shit I've read in a long time. Basically The Beat Within is a platform that allows incarcerated youth to speak their mind. The magazine states:
The Beat Within is a writing and conversation program in juvenile halls — and a weekly magazine that grows out of that program. The Beat was founded in 1996 when a social worker inside San Francisco's Youth Guidance Center realized that there was no vehicle for the anguished voices of the incarcerated youth he heard. He decided to provide that vehicle, and The Beat was bornHere's a few writing samples from these incarcerated youth (whom are mostly youth of color):
Everything turns into a mixture of black and white.Every one should definitely check this website out and even subscribe if you can.
Everything was going good, then I just come in here for some stuff I didn’t do.
I feel like I’m in hell, I never been to jail before.
No one cares. I tried to say what I seen and they bound me.
This is a cold world. They can do as they feel. This ain’t right.
Who can I turn to about this situation?
No one, because no one in America gives a shit about this young black man.
By God's Child
Crack and AIDS are a product of the CIA. Just looking at it, it’s so easy to see how it (crack) spread in the colored community. Look at AIDS, how it only kills the undesirable gays, blacks, Asians, Latinos. I don’t see a lot of rich white people with AIDS. Also crack is hella easy to make, and it kills people in the inner city.
I think the system is run by the white man to control the colored man’s neck in institutionalized racism. I believe the CIA created the AIDS virus in the ‘50s to kill off the undesirables--the homosexuals, Blacks, Latinos, Asians. I feel that the colored people will prevail, especially in the 21st century.
I wish you were here to protect me from what I’ve been caught up in.
I wish you were here so you could have made mom keep me for all of those years. I wish you were here when I met him.
I wish you could have told me how older guys only want one thing.
I wish you could have told me how they’ll manipulate and brainwash you.
I wish you could have taught me that there is more to the world
than hustlers, thieves and prostitutes.
I wish we were a family
so I didn’t have to resort to being jumped in and jumped out.
It took me a lot to realize that the people I thoughts were my family weren’t.
It took me a lot to realize that I ain’t gonna get nowhere on the streets
bangin’ and smokin’ dope.
It took me a lot to realize that my mom loves me.
It took me a lot to realize that I love myself.
It took me a lot to realize that I have doe this all on my own.
No one helped me through anything, but I still got through it and I stay strong.
It’s still takin’ a lot to realize that I’m in SEF (juvenile) for a reason.
I couldn’t continue what I was doing and still be alive.
Every night I think of you and I want to do better for mom, you and myself
RIP – David Shane Burnett
Love Always, your Baby Girl
The Beat Within