Greetings readers my name is Brandon C.L. Hope, and today I will be writing to the topic of how I think people incarcerated can benefit from a higher education. Now, while I do believe that people incarcerated can benefit from a higher education, I also believe that a higher education should not just be a privilege, but an obligation. My brother and role model so gracefully pointed out an age-old saying: “if you know better, you’ll do better.” So, if the point of incarceration is really rehabilitation, then our political leaders and captors would make sure that we knew better.
I also do not believe that it should start here with incarceration, it should start in society and in our homes. Now, not to say that college is meant for everybody, because everybody has free will so they should do with their lives whatever they choose. However, I do think that there shouldn’t be so many obstacles for those who do choose the path of higher education. But, having said that, I still believe that we should be focused on the generation under the ones who are preparing for college.
See, I was the generation under those preparing for college when I ultimately made a decision that was so life-altering, that if I had known what the outcome and consequences would have been, I know that I would not be incarcerated. More than likely, I would be pursuing my higher learning at this point in time. If I would have had faith in the school system, then maybe I would have actually gone to school. During my 9th grade year of high school, I only had four full days of attendance that were accounted for because at the time, I didn’t care. School was just so boring, and I didn’t understand why I would possibly be doing this school stuff when I could go hang out with the guys in the neighborhood.
Now, I am not justifying the way I felt, but I am saying that even when the youth doesn’t have the understanding to care about these things, it is our jobs to care for them. But there’s only so much we can tell them at that age, we are no longer able to watch over them and tell them what to do, as they will make their own decisions whether we like it or not.
Being that it is our job to care, we must find a way to make school interesting to the younger demographic. I know that you’re probably saying “I heard this before”, and I’m pretty sure that you have, because I have heard this before. But somehow no matter what we try, we still get the same results… or maybe that’s not true. Maybe the truth is that no matter how hard we say that we try, in all actuality we don’t try hard enough. Because I know that this idea that I’m stating right now that everybody has heard before was definetly an idea when I was that kid in 9th grade, yet somehow, no matter what they said they were doing it still doesn’t account for why I only had four full days of attendance and nobody cared.
It’s the school system that failed me and the system period, for allowing the school system to fail me. Nobody cared, and this can not be a continuing cycle or we will continue to lose our brown and black children to incarceration and/or street violence. So it’s time for change to happen, and change starts with us starting with our youth. Thank you for your time.
– Brandon C. L. Hope, From Hampton, VA