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22 January, 2009

Young prisoners echo Obama’s call for change

New America Media

Editor's note: On the day of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, young people incarcerated in San Francisco Bay Area Juvenile halls embrace the idea of change and recognize that they must be the architects of change in their own lives. These authors write for The Beat Within, a weekly journal of art and writing from inside juvenile halls and prisons.

We Can ALL Change

I'm glad that Obama won,
to be elected to be our president
because I know there could be changes.
Well, first of all I really want to change my life.
I'm in juvenile hall and I'm tired of being here.
What matters to me more
Is that I'd rather be free and be with my family
Instead of just being in here
I'd rather have school yearbooks with me
instead of a book with my criminal record - of jail.
In here, every day I pray for my family
'cause I be worried not knowing how they are
For 2009, when I come out, I'm going bring a new Juan
Not the same Juan
That wouldn't listen and will always be messing up.
I'm really tired of my past
I look at my future and want to change it and make it better
For my own good and for my family, also others who look up to me. Good job, Beat, keep this goin' and things will change.

Change All Around

Change is possible. I know because we have a black President.
I know change is possible because most of the people that got out of prison changed their life around, a lot of my uncles have been in and out of prison and most of them have changed their ways, but a couple are still at it! That's how I know change is possible.
-Big Body

When I Get Out, I'm Gonna Change

I am 13 years old and now I understand,
I need to grow up from a kid to young man,
Putting my mom through stress,
Making her grow grey hairs,
When she's telling me to do right because she cares,
Now I'm up in juvie missing the ones I love,
Waiting to get out, praying to the one above,
Juvie is so boring, it is not the place to be,
I'd rather be home on a couch watching TV,
I am glad that we have a president that's black,
Not because I'm racist but George Bush was on crack,
When I get out I'm going to respect my mom,
And get on MySpace and delete Tom,
When I get out I'm gonna do better in school,
And I'm gonna eat at my house until I get full.
-Lil' C

Yes, We Can
Yes, I do believe that Barack Obama can make a change. Yes, I can make the promise of change come true in my life because I'm willing to change just like Obama is willing to help make change.

What I hope changes: no more war, no more racism, and to make the work economy better because of everybody's struggles. Well, I really can't do anything to change the stuff that I hope will be changed, but the way I could help is to get a job and make my life better. Another way I could help is pray that everything will turn out for the best.

If We Have The Will
We can change. If we have the will, we can change. If we make a deal with ourselves, that Obama is here to help, we can change. If we have determination, yes, we can heal this nation. Anything is possible, 'cause Obama is unstoppable. We can make a change, a black president is a great start, but we have to want change within our heart. Yes, we can change this genocide, killing and stealing trying to provide, it doesn't feed the hunger of getting money, so we commit crimes. Yes, we can change our life with driven determination. We will win this fight, yes, we can, yes, we can, yes, we can.

A Great Change
Yes, I do believe in the promise of change. I think electing Barack Obama for president was a great change, not just for black Americans but for all races, and for our country.

Barack Obama can make a change because for hundreds of years people put down our race of African Americans and said we will be nothing, but look at us now. We went from slaves to being in the White House.

The fact that we elected a black president told me that I shouldn't give up on my dreams. Shhh, if he can make it, I definitely can. I believe I can change my life. Being locked up has really made me think: Do I really want to live my life like this?

I think being in here [in juvenile hall] has changed me a lot. I got closer to God, my family and my education. I accomplish things I thought I could never do, like read whole chapter books. I read almost five whole books in here, and this has changed my whole person.

I think God had me locked up for a reason. This little experience was a big wake up call.

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