"I experienced things that no kid should ever have to go through" / by richard ross

I immigrated when I was 6 years old with my mom, for you know, the same reason every immigrant comes to this country. We see this country as the land of opportunity. We see hope, where we see jobs, we see success, you know the American dream. That’s what we came for. But the reality is, it’s not like that for immigrants. It’s hard as an immigrant to be good at school, you know, because you can’t really speak English. And my mom couldn’t help me. I became a bad kid to the school system because I never did my homework. And it’s not that I didn’t want to do it I just couldn’t do it. I felt like I was dumb, stupid, and I was always trying to find some type of membership somewhere. Some type of community.

I had three uncles that were living with me and they were all drug dealers for the Cartel. They never encouraged me to do that but I saw it. I saw drugs in my house, I saw gang members on my block, and it was normal to me to see violence. Ever since I joined that gang, everything went downhill in my life. I seen and experienced things that no kid should ever have to go through at 13 and 14.

Ever since I got out I’ve committed myself to being an activist, an organizer, and to keep fighting to change policies that are not working. Because even though I was one of those fortunate individuals who did not get a life sentence, I left a lot of people behind. I left a lot of young kids who need someone to be representing them. - Kent, 24