Growing up, Stockton was like my home away from home. Just about every weekend was spent here, summers I would be here months at a time. Sierra Vista & the entire Southeast were a sharp contrast to the suburbia that is Marin. It was like stepping into a different world where everything was real out on the pavement. The homelessness, the drugs, and the violence; it all hit me like a brick wall. Despite these things I have much love for this city, being that it taught me a lot about life. Many of the beliefs I hold today can find their roots in things I experienced here.
I remember how one of my best cousins Daniel would take me for a cruise through the neighborhood & educate me on the problems a people faced, on why one should avoid it all & stay focused on the “come up”. As we passed by, the local gangs threw their sets up high, yet at the same time, we could count the candle vigils laid out for those that died. I remember when he got shot in the head, by a bullet that wasn’t even meant for him. I spent that night in a lot of pain because, in my mind he was dead. Luckily the bullet missed the vital point by a few millimeters & he made it.
During high school, I stopped coming out here due to hard times in my life, but I pulled through stronger than ever. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be; back in that lovely Mudville a year & counting. Stockton opened my eyes to the reality of the problems a people face. It hammered out of me any hint of racism & taught me to see colorblind. More importantly, it established a firm foundation in my loyalty to the people. Always for the people.