Raymond, 48

Raymond, 48

Meet Raymond…

 I never want to see a child grow up lost like me. I express remorse to help others. If I believe, I can achieve.

Incarcerated: 20 years

My biological father was a heroin addict. My stepdad would drink and beat my mom. She raised me and my baby sister while on welfare. I would ditch school and spend the day in the back of an abandoned house, playing marbles. One day I stole some clothes, never bothering to think that I was taking from someone trying to support his family. I was put in juvenile hall and sent to group homes. My mother was living in a woman’s shelter. I remember walking down the street one day and seeing her and baby sister, the center of my soul. I thought I could go home with them. She had kicked me out repeatedly. I reminded her of her abusive husband. My mother told me that boys were not allowed. My cousin and I roamed the streets, eating with whomever would feed us. I became a crack addict at 13. I permanently ruined my brain. I can’t think straight. I have memory loss. I can’t concentrate. When I was 21, I met my biological father. He had charm and sang country music and played the guitar. He packed our bags and moved us to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I told him about my passion for boxing. I looked for a gym, and when I found one, I sat all alone in it. I didn’t know what would become of me. No one seemed to believe in me. I met a beautiful Mexican girl. Her dream was to become a singer.  Mine was to join the military. I ended up in Fresno with another woman, who like me, was betrayed, abandoned, and misled. I was abusive. Oprah had shows about abusive husbands. I would sit and stare at the TV. What if one of those men did that to my sister? But you shouldn’t throw stones if you live in a glass house. I was a gang member and a violent person who didn’t respect authority. I re-entered the prison system for murder. I will never be a boxer, but one day I will find a child who doesn’t have a father or anyone to believe in him. I will walk him into a gym and out of the streets. This is what I aspire to do. I never want to see a child grow up lost like me. I express remorse to help others. If I believe, I can achieve.