Gangs and Wanting to Belong and Gangs and the Abuse of Power are among the many childrens books written by Stanley "Tookie" Williams.
My name is Stanley "Tookie" Williams. I’ve been residing on San Quentin’s condemned row for over 24 years. As a death row prisoner, my testament to redemption has been met at times with condemnation and misinformation. Fortunately, it is God who anoints with the oil of redemption. The forgiving God to whom I pray has sublimated me, humbled me—and vicariously works through me.
In the beginning, redemption was an alien concept to me. However, while in solitary confinement, during 1988 to 1994, I embarked upon a transitional path toward redemption. I underwent disciplined years of education, soul-searching, edification, spiritual cultivation and battling my internal demons. Though I was loathed for being the co-founder of the Crips, my redemption caused me to repudiate my gang leadership role, to repudiate any affiliation with the Crips or other gangs.
Redemption has resurrected me from a mental and spiritual death. It symbolizes the end of a bad beginning, as well as a new start. Being redeemed has enabled me to reunite with God, reclaim my humanity, find inner peace and discover my raison d’etre—my reason to exist.
Recently, I was asked if I am prepared to die. I responded, "I’m prepared to live." Though execution looms like poisonous toxins, God’s gift of redemption [revives] my life. I inhale redemption and exhale joie de vivre. That’s why I do not fear death. Socrates stated while defending his life before court judges, "A man who is good for anything should not calculate the chance of living or dying. He should only consider whether in doing anything, he is doing right or wrong, and acting the part of a good man or of bad." I opted for good to assist the hopeless.
Consequently, my spirit deeds are exhibited in my nine children’s books; my memoir "Blue Rage, Black Redemption"; my educational website www.tookie.com; my Internet Project for Street Peace; and my Peace Protocol. All of my work is predicated on persuading youths and adults to not follow in my footsteps. Still, my desire is to do more.
Recently, I met with Bruce Gordon, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). From that extraordinary meeting came an historic partnership. Each NAACP chapter will be working with me to create and implement a violence prevention curriculum for at-risk youths throughout America. The partnership with this nation’s oldest civil rights organization will provide me with the structure and support to carry out my vision of a gang-free America.
I know that to whom much is given, much is expected. If Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger grants me clemency, I will accept it as an obligation to society to spend the rest of my life working to reverse the cycle of youth violence. It is my desire to help save society from producing more victims.
Here and now, I bear witness that God’s bequest of redemption has replenished me with a mission and revealed that the impossible is possible.
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