Good morning/evening, my name is Marlez and I would like to share some of my life and the way I feel with you.
As I was growing up, I lived in Orange Mound and East-Memphis where I had to fight for what I wanted, and was shot at for driving down the wrong block and getting jumped for being in the wrong gang.
I know y’all might let it go in one ear and out the other, but when I was 11 I went to juvenile for a bad decision that I made. When I turned 13, I went to this party and ended up getting shot in the leg. That’s when I saw the bigger picture.
The only thing I remember is waking up to my mother crying, I know seeing her youngest son being shot hurt her, but it didn’t affect me that much because, even though I loved her, 2 months later I went back to making the same type of bad decisions.
I got shot at 3 times in one day, just because me and my brother got into a fight with somebody who said something wrong to us. I just thank God I didn’t die.
At the age of 15 I ended up back in jail hanging around the wrong people. I’ve been locked up for 10 years months without seeing my sister or my daughter and it really hurts me. I pray every night that I can take the right path next time, because what happens in the past stays in the past and we have to look to the future.
The thing that made me who I am today is my family. They really supported me and put their trust in me. I wouldn’t be who I am without my mother, my father and my grandparents. I also wouldn’t be standing here talking to you all if I had listened to them. But I wanted to live that street life.
These are some things that I want you all to know, the streets are not a way to get a name. You can get a name by being a rapper, football player, baseball player, or basketball player! If you put your mind to it, you can do it.
For most, we aren’t bad, we just might have something bad going on at home. And if teachers want to be a part of the solution, please don’t bring us down.
And the last thing I want you all to know that jail is not a good place because whatever they say, you have to do. Like you have to take a shower when they tell you, go in your room when they tell you, use the phone when they tell you, eat when they tell you, go outside when they tell you.
Those were just something I wanted you all to know and are now something I need you all to remember. I’m not here to tell you all how to live your lives but tell y’all to make good decisions in your life. I want you all to do positive things and play sports and things like that. For the teachers, take time out and get to know the students and don’t give up on us, get to know what’s really going on.
And one more thing for the students: don’t come to jail!
These are some of the things I feel, I feel that teachers shouldn’t give up because we aren’t bad, we just make bad decisions. I feel that students should really listen to your parents. They aren’t telling you the wrong thing, they just don’t want to see their kids dead or in jail.
In my eyes… too many of our youths are getting killed for doing what’s wrong and we have to better ourselves for what’s right and for our community.
I think that we can change adults to become more responsible by taking care of their responsibilities and doing what’s right by their kids. Youth can be more respectful by doing what our mother’s tell us to do and finishing school. The youth can be more kind, responsible, respectful, and by teaching others how to become young women and young men.
Schools, students and teachers can improve by making every subject fun to do. Students should go ahead and finish school, it isn’t that hard. We are responsible for each other, we are our brother’s keeper.