Growing up as a young man is tough. When I was younger I had older cousins that I looked up too. My favorite cousin was Russell. I looked up to him like a rock star. He was funny, cool, caring, and just a cool cat. I wanted to be like him so bad. I idolized his every move.
But my same cousin who I had admired was also involved in gangs. I can remember quite a few times driving with him and his friends in Pasadena, California just looking for trouble. But I still wanted to be like him even though he was living a reckless lifestyle.
That all changed in March of 1989. I was 16 years old and living in Bakersfield, California. We received a phone call at about 2am in the morning from my mom’s aunt. She said that Russell was dead. He had been shot at point blank range with a 45. Apparently he was mistaken as someone else when the two teenagers approached him and his friends.
That night I cried like a baby. My hero was gone. And why was he gone? Because of a mistaken identity of another gang member. I can only imagine the pain of a mother who just lost their child because of gangs. I know how much it hurt me.
When I decided that I was going to help the Wendale Davis Foundation, it was because I related to the people that they are trying to help. Youth who are lost and need some direction in their lives. If only maybe they could have been around for my hero he would still be here today.
I created a small video with some the photos that I took at last years march to help promote the March Against Violence event that is happening on September 25th, 2010. It will start at 9am at Sixth Street Park(Lowell Park) and continue down to Martin Luther King Park(California Park).
I encourage all of you to participate. We can not make change just standing around waiting for something to happen. I have been given many talents and I try my best to share them with everyone. I hope this video inspires you to participate that day.
Make change and watch the world change!