I, along with my three brothers,’ was raised by a single mother who worked multiple jobs and sacrificed a tremendous amount for us. Despite all of her love and hard work, in my youth, I did not escape the pitfalls that commonly plague young boys growing up in low-income and single parent households. I was arrested multiple times until a Michigan judge gave me an ultimatum to either turn my life around and get my education or serve a long term prison sentence. The goodwill sentencing of that judge allowed me to change for the better and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds that my friends I faced growing up.
I was trapped in a cycle of self-destructive behavior. It’s the same cycle that far too many of our minority brothers are stuck in today. African-American males, and more recently, Latino-American males are falling behind their American colleagues. The statistics are shocking. In 2008, Latino and African-Americans accounted for over 58 percent of our nation’s prisons population—despite only being 25 percent of the American population.