By: Joseph Green
To share my voice is to share my life and the experiences within it. In my past I have endured many experiences, some good, some bad, and sadly some life changing. Growing up in a single parent household had its advantages and disadvantages. Like many kids I was naive to the true struggles of adulthood and the pressures that accompanied it. In my past I did what I felt was necessary to survive. If that meant stealing food from the corner gas station I did it. If that meant going to the local soup kitchen to ensure I ate, I did it. If it meant staying at friends house long enough to catch his family about to eat knowing as a child I would be offered food I did it. If it meant selling narcotics, I guess you know the rest….I did it. I’m not in any way saying these actions was right. Growing up as a child in Detroit was hard and I’ve seen many things a child should never see. Drugs and violence became the script of my childhood. As a child, drugs and violence should never become a desensitising reality unfortunately it did. To the point that when it happens, it just happens! I became completely desensitized to the effect my actions caused my community and my family.
Today in my present I sit in a Michigan prison serving a life sentence for a murder I did not commit. I see now the wrongs and flaws of my past. Although as a child I had no control over what I saw or experienced I had a choice at some point to change my thoughts and the ways in which I carried myself. Today I have allowed my past experiences to shape and refine who I am today. I’m striving to be a reflection of the Almighty creator. To be a reflection for change and forgiveness that I seek. No, I don’t sit here today proclaiming to be perfect or without fault yet I do sit here today proclaiming I am no longer that unconscious boy of my past nor am I a victim of unforseen circumstances. The conscious man I am today is strong both within and without. I am a strong black man who understands the value of life and the necessity for my presence not only in my community but also in the household of my family.
I understand that my journey in life is not just my journey. My journey is intertwined with so many other people and one bad choice or decision in my journey can either positively or negatively affect everyone with me. George Floyd’s journey has affected millions of people and has changed the trajectory of a country. Today I understand that I must strive to be the best version of myself. Knowing that my journey isn’t just my journey. Right now I have a group of beautiful and wonderful people FIGHTING diligently on my behalf to liberate me from a wrongful conviction. Their belief in my freedom has allowed me to be apart of their journeys and I humbly thank them. My words mean nothing if my actions are not in accordance to the change and innocence I speak of. Today I strive to be better in my understanding that my journey isn’t over but yet just beginning. I am a thought provoking man who will use my platform and experiences to help other young man growing up in similar or even worst circumstances to change their perspectives in hopes of changing their realities.
In my future I’m going to be the example other young man can look up to. I’m going to establish a mentor program. I’m going to show that with humility ,perseverance, faith, ambition and a goal nothing is impossible. I will no longer be a victim or allow others to be victimized by a bias and unequal system. I won’t stand by as systemic racism plagues this country and its judicial system. I will BE the change and example by using my journey and my voice to bring about awareness, hope and love. You see my voice isn’t just MY voice, My Voice is the voice of every person my journey has affected. My pain, joy, happiness and fear is not my own its ours as a human race. No person should be defined by an action or choice of their past because we all have failed to do what is right at some point. We are all responsible for what we know and what we do with that knowledge makes us accountable to the results. I’m going to use my voice and my journey to lift up the mind and hearts of everyone who is apart of my journey and guess what if your reading this you just became apart of it. My voice is not just my voice its the voice of us all. Thank you and have a peaceful day!