However, our laws are contradictory to those basic philosophies of redemption. Laws like the Higher Education Act, which prohibits those that have been convicted of drug crimes from qualifying for financial aid to attend college. Or the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act which deems those who have been convicted of, once again a drug or violent felony ineligible for subsidized housing programs. Housing and higher education-two things necessary to achieving a crime free and successful future.with this said, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone why life for folks like Lovelle Mixon is so hard after prison and why returning to a life of crime, not only familiar but easy, becomes the destiny for so many leaving prison and re-entering society.
Two programs located in Oakland, One Fam and the Mentoring Center risk receiving less than adequate funding for working with young black and brown men and women re-entering society after incarceration. Both these programs not only provide life skills training, but also help young men and women assess the very decisions they made and make that create less than adequate life outcomes but also result in jail.believing that people can be rehabilitated proves to be beneficial for everyone. these programs reduce recidivism and help create confident people who positively contribute to their communities through community service and other forms of giving back.
Its been interesting and sad to see how the very fact that Lovelle was an ex-offender has deemed him a “devil” by mainstream media and the general public and unworthy of investigating the very factors that created the 26 year old who so desperately did not want to return to the very system that helped create this cop killer. Compared to the news coverage two young white men Eric and Dillon, received,in April 1999, one has to ask if news coverage would look different if Lovelle was white?
After columbine there was a memorial commissioned by the community on the hill across from the school that the massacre happened at.15 crosses were erected,13 for the victims; students who lost their lives and the teacher who died trying to save them and 2 crosses for eric and dillion, the killers. As mad and outraged as many were, people felt sorry for them. People knew something “had to be wrong” with these boys. There was no public outcry or protest for crosses being added for the killers.
As for Mixon, life was not so sweet. And in the end Mixon only had freedom, the ability to roam where he wanted to. He had no job, no home to call his own, and less than a network of support adequate enough to help steer him in the right direction.there were no weeks of planning to kill 4 cops.In those seconds before he shot those cops he knew two things-his freedom, the only thing he had, was going to be taken away and he had a gun. The rest is now history.
Being poor and of color should never mean you have to fight twice as hard to live a decent life but it does. With this recession turning “well to do people” into desperate ass victims of the economy, I want to see what they are going to do when life outcomes for their children start to mirror those of poor people of color. Will there be laws created to deem them deeper into despair? If so, I am sure there will be no shortage of politicians and advocates to save them from becoming the next generations of Eric or Dillon’s. Or even Lovelles.
To find out about One Fam or The Mentoring Center or to make a contribution to these programs go visit: