Letter from Robert Smith

Robert receiving his certificate for completing his Kingian Nonviolence Training.

Robert receiving his certificate for completing his Kingian Nonviolence Training.

My name is Robert E. Smith. I am 21 years young. I was born in McComb, Mississippi and moved to East Oakland when I as 5 with my mother, little sister and grandmother. Growing up in Oakland you’re forced to grow up fast. You’re also forced to see things that are abnormal and you have to adapt to your surroundings.  I had a great upbringing. There wasn’t much violence in my home. My childhood was very peaceful.  The violence started when I would leave the house.  Everyone at school was taught the same as me.  Things such as don’t let anyone hit you and if they do, you hit them back. Also we were taught in school to never let anyone bully you because if it happens once then it will happen again. With these morals a lot of fights occurred. [Read more...]

Letter from Anthony Ross

Anthony receiving his certificate

Letter from Anthony Ross, Jr.     September 2015

My name is Anthony Ross, Jr.  I am 27 years of age.  I am a San Francisco native raised in Bayview Hunter’s Point, an overwhelming part of the City.  I was born to Anthony Ross, Sr and Carmen Ross.  Both of my parents were considered major players of the fast life (better known as the underworld).  I figure that they chose that career path because of their circumstances.  They both grew up in single parent homes with multiple siblings.  Growing up, both my parents were in and out of jail, with both being missing in action periodically.  I was left in the care of my grandmother, left to keep up with my older brother and sister.  [Read more...]

Dream Defenders Reflections from Highlander

By Phillip Agnew
Director, Dream Defenders

Highlander Training 077We arrived after an epic (seriously epic) 24 hour drive from Miami, FL to the Center. We picked up folks in Orlando, Gainesville, and Tallahassee, FL.  It was a crazy experience to start off the program with.  Someone (me) missed our turn into Georgia and wound up driving all the way to Pensacola.  That caused us to have to drive the whole state of Alabama on local/state roads in order to get back to our correct course.  In all, it added about 3 hours to our trek.  Still, [Read more...]