发布者: 五毒 | 发布时间: 2021-9-10 23:06| 查看数: 85| 评论数: 2|

Twenty-three years ago, at the age of 19, I shot and killed a man. I was a young drug dealer with a quick temper and a semi-automatic pistol.

二十三年前,在我十九岁的时候,我击中并杀害了一个人。我那时是年轻的贩毒者,脾气暴躁, 有一只半自动的手枪。

But that wasn't the end of my story. In fact, it was beginning, and the 23 years since is a story of acknowledgment, apology and atonement. But it didn't happen in the way that you might imagine or think. These things occurred in my life in a way that was surprising, especially to me.


See, like many of you, growing up, I was an honor roll student, a scholarship student, with dreams of becoming a doctor. But things went dramatically wrong when my parents separated and eventually divorced.


The actual events are pretty straightforward. At the age of 17, I got shot three times standing on the corner of my block in Detroit. My friend rushed me to the hospital. Doctors pulled the bullets out, patched me up, and sent me back to the same neighborhood where I got shot. Throughout this ordeal, no one hugged me, no one counseled me, no one told me I would be okay.


No one told me that I would live in fear, that I would become paranoid, or that I would react hyper-violently to being shot. No one told me that one day, I would become the person behind the trigger. Fourteen months later, at 2 a.m., I fired the shots that caused a man's death.


When I entered prison, I was bitter, I was angry, I was hurt. I didn't want to take responsibility. I blamed everybody from my parents to the system. I rationalized my decision to shoot because in the hood where I come from, it's better to be the shooter than the person getting shot. As I sat in my cold cell, I felt helpless, unloved and abandoned. I felt like nobody cared, and I reacted with hostility to my confinement.


And I found myself getting deeper and deeper into trouble. I ran black market stores, I loan sharked, and I sold drugs that were illegally smuggled into the prison. I had in fact become what the warden of the Michigan Reformatory called "the worst of the worst." And because of my activity, I landed in solitary confinement for seven and a half years out of my incarceration.

然后我就发现,自己越来越深得陷入了麻烦。我在监狱里经营黑市,放高利贷,出售非法偷运进监狱的DP。事实上,我的确成为了密歇根少年教养院院长口中的 “恶中之恶”。因为我的这些恶行,在我的刑期中有七年半,我都被单独禁闭起来。

Now as I see it, solitary confinement is one of the most inhumane and barbaric places you can find yourself, but find myself I did. One day, I was pacing my cell, when an officer came and delivered mail. I looked at a couple of letters before I looked at the letter that had my son's squiggly handwriting on it. And anytime I would get a letter from my son, it was like a ray of light in the darkest place you can imagine. And on this particular day, I opened this letter, and in capital letters, he wrote, "My mama told me why you was in prison: murder." He said, "Dad, don't kill. Jesus watches what you do. Pray to Him."


Now, I wasn't religious at that time, nor am I religious now, but it was something so profound about my son's words. They made me examine things about my life that I hadn't considered. It was the first time in my life that I had actually thought about the fact that my son would see me as a murderer. I sat back on my bunk and I reflected on something I had read in [Plato], where Socrates stated in "Apology" that the unexamined life isn't worth living.


At that point is when the transformation began. But it didn't come easy. One of the things I realized, which was part of the transformation, was that there were four key things. The first thing was, I had great mentors. Now, I know some of you all are probably thinking, how did you find a great mentor in prison? But in my case, some of my mentors who are serving life sentences were some of the best people to ever come into my life, because they forced me to look at my life honestly, and they forced me to challenge myself about my decision making.

这一刻,是我生命转变的开始。但想转变并非轻而易举。在转变中, 我意识到关键点有四个。第一, 我有很好的导师。我知道你们有些人可能在想,你是怎么在监狱里找到很好的导师呢?但是在我的经历中,我的一些导师尽管处于终身监禁,却是走进我生命中的最好的人。因为他们迫使我去诚实地看待自己的经历,也迫使我去挑战我曾做过的决定。

The second thing was literature. Prior to going to prison, I didn't know that there were so many brilliant black poets, authors and philosophers, and then I had the great fortune of encountering Malcolm X's autobiography, and it shattered every stereotype I had about myself.

第二件重要之物是文学。在进监狱之前,我并不知道世界上有这么多优秀的黑人诗人、作者和哲学家。但之后我读了Malcolm X的自传,这对我来说是宝贵的财富,它动摇了我对自己所有的成见。

The third thing was family. For 19 years, my father stood by my side with an unshakable faith, because he believed that I had what it took to turn my life around. I also met an amazing woman who is now the mother of my two-year-old son Sekou, and she taught me how to love myself in a healthy way.


The final thing was writing. When I got that letter from my son, I began to write a journal about things I had experienced in my childhood and in prison, and what it did is it opened up my mind to the idea of atonement. Earlier in my incarceration, I had received a letter from one of the relatives of my victim, and in that letter, she told me she forgave me, because she realized I was a young child who had been abused and had been through some hardships and just made a series of poor decisions. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt open to forgiving myself.


One of the things that happened after that experience is that I thought about the other men who were incarcerated alongside of me, and how much I wanted to share this with them. And so I started talking to them about some of their experiences, and I was devastated to realize that most of them came from the same abusive environments. And most of them wanted help and they wanted to turn it around, but unfortunately the system that currently holds 2.5 million people in prison is designed to warehouse as opposed to rehabilitate or transform. So I made it up in my mind that if I was ever released from prison that I would do everything in my power to help change that.


In 2010, I walked out of prison for the first time after two decades. Now imagine, if you will, Fred Flintstone walking into an episode of "The Jetsons." That was pretty much what my life was like. For the first time, I was exposed to the Internet, social media, cars that talk like KITT from "Knight Rider." But the thing that fascinated me the most was phone technology. See, when I went to prison, our car phones were this big and required two people to carry them.

2010年,我在被关押了20多年后第一次走出监狱。现在,如果你愿意,请想象一下,一个远古时代的人突然踏进了未来时空。(原句:卡通角色‘摩登原始人’走入了以未来世界为主题的动画片'杰森一家') 我当时的感受大概如此。我第一次接触到互联网,社会媒体,带有语音的汽车,就像在科幻电影中一样。但最令我着迷的,还是通信技术。当我进监狱时,我们的电话有这么大,必须有两个人才能搬起来。

So imagine what it was like when I first grabbed my little Blackberry and I started learning how to text. But the thing is, the people around me, they didn't realize that I had no idea what all these abbreviated texts meant, like LOL, OMG, LMAO, until one day I was having a conversation with one of my friends via text, and I asked him to do something, and he responded back, "K." And I was like, "What is K?" And he was like, "K is okay."


So in my head, I was like, "Well what the hell is wrong with K?" And so I text him a question mark. And he said, "K = okay." And so I tap back, "FU." (Laughter) And then he texts back, and he asks me why was I cussing him out. And I said, "LOL FU," as in, I finally understand.

我当时就想,“k难道会有事吗?”所以我给他回了一个问号。于是他又说,“k=okay”。我回复,“FU(去你x的)”。他问,“你干嘛骂我?”他问,“你干嘛骂我?”我说,“lol(大笑),FU (去你x的)”,我这就会用缩写了。

And so fast forward three years, I'm doing relatively good. I have a fellowship at MIT Media Lab, I work for an amazing company called BMe, I teach at the University of Michigan, but it's been a struggle because I realize that there are more men and women coming home who are not going to be afforded those opportunities. I've been blessed to work with some amazing men and women, helping others reenter society, and one of them is my friend named Calvin Evans. He served 24 years for a crime he didn't commit.

这样过去了三年,我就过得不错了。我在MIT的媒体实验室加入了一个项目,我一家叫BMe的大公司工作,我在密歇根大学教书,但我内心又开始斗争,因为我意识到有更多的人从监狱出来,没有办法接触到这样的机会。我曾很幸运的和一些杰出的人一起工作,帮助其他被释放的人重新进入社会。其中一个,我的朋友,Calvin Evans。他被判冤狱,坐了24年牢。

He's 45 years old. He's currently enrolled in college. And one of the things that we talked about is the three things that I found important in my personal transformation, the first being acknowledgment. I had to acknowledge that I had hurt others. I also had to acknowledge that I had been hurt. The second thing was apologizing.


I had to apologize to the people I had hurt. Even though I had no expectations of them accepting it, it was important to do because it was the right thing. But I also had to apologize to myself. The third thing was atoning. For me, atoning meant going back into my community and working with at-risk youth who were on the same path, but also becoming at one with myself.

我必须向被我伤害过的人们道歉。尽管我并不期望他们会接受我的道歉,道歉仍然很重要,因为道歉是正确的事。可我也必须要向自己道歉。第三件事是补偿。对我而言,补偿意味着 回到我生长的社区中,帮助那些正跟我以前走着同样道路有风险的儿童。同时我也成为他们其中的一员。

Through my experience of being locked up, one of the things I discovered is this: the majority of men and women who are incarcerated are redeemable, and the fact is, 90 percent of the men and women who are incarcerated will at some point return to the community, and we have a role in determining what kind of men and women return to our community.


My wish today is that we will embrace a more empathetic approach toward how we deal with mass incarceration, that we will do away with the lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key mentality, because it's proven it doesn't work.


My journey is a unique journey, but it doesn't have to be that way. Anybody can have a transformation if we create the space for that to happen. So what I'm asking today is that you envision a world where men and women aren't held hostage to their pasts, where misdeeds and mistakes don't define you for the rest of your life. I think collectively, we can create that reality, and I hope you do too.


Thank you.



youthy 发表于 7 天前
chinesewuyi 发表于 7 天前
快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表