Help Jacoby get a second chance at being a Big Brother, Father, & positive member in his c

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My name is Jacoby Felix. I am serving life without parole for murder/robbery, of which I have served 24 years. If you have a few moments, I would like to share my thoughts and feelings with the hope that they may allow you to see the man I’ve become and not the lost, destructive child I was.

I see a teen riding home from his high school football game, shot in the head, Killed. I see a Father and infant murdered. I see my own Family member crying on the news over a white sheet covering my cousin. I see a little girl asleep in her bed, Killed by a stray bullet. I see a beautiful little 5-year-old boy full of life, murdered in a drive-by shooting. I see two teenage gang members, gunned down walking to the store.

I see vigils held for the dead. I see the inconsolable pain and anguish on the faces of Mothers and Fathers trying to make sense of a senseless destructive act. I see in their faces no answers, as there are none, only pain and loss. I acutely feel their pain and suffering. I silently wonder when will the violence end? I mourn with them. I am outraged.

Then I see myself… I am the shooter, I am the gang member, I am the finger on the trigger in the drive-by, I am the shooter of the stray bullet. I have visited pain, anguish, and loss on those families and given no answers. I feel a kinship with these people, an intimate knowledge of this destruction. I feel their pain, yet I am set apart from them. I am an intruder in their suffering.

I carry the burden of being the cause of the same hurt and pain. I live with the shame, I wish, I wish, I wish that I could erase my signature from this pain, but I cannot.    I must try to answer the questions on the faces of those Families; I owe this to Richard’s Family and Friends. I must set right my actions, I need to atone and heal my community.

Over the course of my journey through life and into myself, I’ve found Richard and both of our sons (they are less than a year apart in age) on many occasions. I can’t think of one without the thought of the other. When I think of my son reaching a milestone, I think of Chris (Richard’s son) and pray that he is well. If I find myself smiling with pride because of something my son achieved, I think of Richard in relation to what I took from him and Chris.

When as a child my son with sincere wanting and hurt in his heart, pleads with a Correctional Officer to allow me to come home, my heart is broken and I know Chris must long for his Father in the same way. I realize the four of us are inextricably linked; by my callous actions. I carry these burdens and must atone for them. I carry these burdens daily, I no longer deny or try to escape them.

When I began to search for reasons and change, I once again found Richard and realized the loss to a community in great need. He is the Big Brother, the Father, the example to follow. I can imagine him taking the fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy from a child that would lead him to join a gang. He’s the brother that could stop a teenager from looking for acceptance, power, and strength in harming people.

I have tried to step into the void I have created. I’ve tried to become the Big Brother, the Father, the example to follow. I understand that I’ve harmed my own Brother, my Friend, my Neighbor. I need to atone for the damage I’ve caused, for what I took away from my community.

Those are the reasons why it is so important to me. Many years ago, I started to rehabilitate and reform myself. I began to tend to my garden (mind) my motivation was to become the Man and the Father that the son I was leaving behind deserved. It was important that I understand what led me to this point and how I could be of use to my son.

Therefore, I started to pull the weeds, remove the stones, turn the ground, and plant seeds. I discovered that many of the principles that I held dear are skewed, backwards, and destructive. They were things that had been crafted; by young boys and held on to by young men out of a sense of tradition, lack of knowledge of themselves, and those that had come before them.

The seeds that I planted were wisdom, understanding, thirst for knowledge and insight. As the years passed, I have tended to my garden, watering and fertilizing it through education, deep introspection, reading, and conversing with men from many backgrounds and cultures gaining from their lives and experiences.

As these things nurtured the seeds, my garden began to produce, I began putting into practice the things that I learned, though it hasn’t always been easy, the struggle has been positive and life giving as I continue to move forward.

I have had several seasons of planting and with each harvest; the fruit has been sweeter and bountiful. With the new understandings I started to put together a picture, like a puzzle, with each new piece, things became clearer. This process helped me develop a sense of manhood, what my responsibility is to my Fiancee, Family, Mom, Friends, Siblings, Nieces, Son, Grandchildren, and my community. All from whom I have enormous support.

I have earned an AA degree in Social Science,  participated in the Nurturing Parenting Program,  Denial Management, and trained to facilitate relapse prevention,  Creative Conflict Resolution,  Advanced Creative Conflict Resolution,  Lifers with Optimistic Progress (LWOP),  helped create Life Line where we mentor youth offenders. As I lived, I have come to realize  that progress is hard and many things can prevent growth. You must be diligent in caring for and protecting your garden.

In closing, I’d like to thank you for your time, and ask for your signature in the hopes that I may be given the opportunity at freedom, to join my family and contribute to society.



                                                  Jacoby Felix


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