James, 49
James, 49

Meet James…

I did not know how addictive the street life was. On the real, I could not escape it.

I’m kicking it with Coco. He’s a brilliant student in a class that I help teach. Back in the day, on the streets, we would have never talked to each other because we were from rival cities, L.A. and the Bay. We are working together to help others understand that Set-Tripp’N is not worth it, it makes good people waste their lives.  

I had a tough relationship with my father. He warned me about the lifestyle he too was living. I did not know how addictive the street life was. On the real, I could not escape it. Childhood trauma and an addiction to crack cocaine lead to my criminal behavior. I am now serving a sentence of 35 years to life for second degree robbery under the California three strikes law.

Since both Coco and I left the street mentality behind, education has connected us on common ground. We are a living example of that. My goal is to become a human development counselor and Coco wants to be a youth mentor in Los Angeles, in honor of the victims and the community, this is what we do to make a living amends. 

In the Holy Bible, the book of Corinthians taught me a lot: “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I understood like a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Cornithians 13:11