Jermaine Hicks

It took many years for me to realize the actual situation that I faced. All my life, I have faced adversity after adversity, struggle after struggle, which contributed to me receiving a life sentence in prison due to my negative actions. However, I knew “nothing but the streets.” I was taught by the streets. It was only when I educated myself in prison, teaching myself how to read and write while in administrative segregation that I began to see the truth.

For eight years in “seg”, I wrote down three to five words a week and placed them on my concrete wall until I could spell them and put them into a sentence, I read educational books about politics, history and religion. It was a struggle, I remember asking God to teach me how to read and eight years later he answered my prayers. I started writing articles, telling my story and educating people about at risk youth. I became an ex gang member and started taking programs. I also studied the law and learned about the injustice of certifying children as adults and sending them to prison with life sentences like my situation. This is what inspired me to be an advocate for at risk youth. This is how W.A.R. began.

Wisely Achieving Resilience (Youngwar.org) is a platform to educate youths on the dangers of joining gangs and becoming involved in crime. It is also a website to educate adults about the injustice going on in our criminal justice system by highlighting the need for prison reform through our articles, essays, poems and art. We hope that you will join our efforts and join us in W.A.R.

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