"Bleed for their Greed"
In a few weeks, I will be serving as a character witness for a kid I used to mentor in a local juvenile hall. Let's call him Xavier. The story goes like this: Xavier was riding in a car with some fellow gang members when they came across a youngster walking home. We'll call him Beto. Beto was only 12 years old, but already associated with gang. Recognizing Beto as a rival, Xavier shot and killed him. Xavier was 14 at the time of the shooting, but was charged as an adult. Again, this is the story. I don't know whether Xavier actually did this or not, as he never confessed to me.
I understand the magnitude of taking someone's life. Beto is gone and he's not coming back. His family doesnt get to see him anymore, and will forever feel the pain caused by someone taking his life.
I also understand the emotions involved with growing up in an oppressive and violent community, the influence older gang members have on younger ones, and the way the jury is likely to view a young Mexican gang member. Xavier is 18 now, and will likely serve 25 years to life with or without my character witness testimony. I doubt any of the jurors share a similar background to Xavier or myself. They will most likely view him as nothing more than a monster. They won't see that he is also the son to a hardworking mother, the older brother to a little sister, and most importantly a human that makes mistakes. My voice will hopefully work towards the much needed balance that can humanize Xavier in the eyes of the jurors.
I never thought I would be in the position to provide testimony of someone's character. ESPECIALLY for someone who I once would have considered my enemy. I haven't lived long, but I've lived long enough to see some things come full circle, and I have a debt to repay. I will pay it forward. Rest in peace to ALL the fallen ones, of this war we fight amongst ourselves. Live in peace to all those family members affected. When its my turn, I'll go with my heart, mind, and soul in the right place. #juvenilejustice #norteños #nortenos #sureños #surenos #chicano #gangbanger #gangster #lockedup #homicide #25tolife #community #barriowarfare #barrio