Inmate advises youth to take control of their lives, right wrongs

Published 10:28 am Saturday, March 19, 2011

To the Editor:

To the youth who lack the drive to excel over the obstacles that lie ahead, remember that you are somebody!

I know it’s hard trying to push forward when the community in which you live offers so little.

We must first accept the responsibility for the damage that has been caused in our community before we can begin to heal. We must then put away the senseless acts of violence, which through the years has destroyed so many families.

To make a change, you must change what’s inside of you. Stop allowing your peers to dictate your choices on life decisions. Be the man or woman that you were born to be. Stand firm by allowing your voice to be heard by actions.

As for being part of the community, stop standing around hoping change will come and help make a change. Being part of the community, you have rights. If you feel your community lacks a program that would discourage our youth from falling short and being targeted for self-destruction, contact your local city council, community leaders and churches to inform them of what our community needs (not imprisonment or another basketball court) to help our youth overcome the barriers.

Instead of cutting the school budget and after-school programs, find other ways to mend our budget shortfall. Why not bring rebirth to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, which would embrace our youth and encourage them to utilize the center?

Who wants to be a nothing? We all have hopes and dreams of becoming productive citizens, which would leave mother happy and father proud.

We must stop declaring war amongst our brothers and sisters. Instead of helping property failure, be someone who people can speak proudly of, and be the role model that our younger youth need.

I know it’s hard trying to succeed when family, friends and the community disown you. Please don’t give up on yourself. Believing is receiving, and the power is within you.

As you take the time to read this, don’t spend too much time thinking about what you have done wrong, but about what you can do to change how our community shamefully looks at our youth.

You were not destined to be a failure, but born to succeed. Let’s not deprive our community of the greatness that lies within all of us. I’m asking the youth of Franklin to stand together, take control of your life, make right of all wrongs, shake away the demons that prey on your downfall. We can the make the streets of Franklin and Southampton safer again. It only takes one. Are you that one?

Adrian C. Cook
Southampton County Jail