More on: reentry
Jan 19, 2011
Did you know that I’m a member of the San Francisco Central Police District Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB)? Well, I am.
I got on the board under the recommendation of the then Captain Dudley who is now a Commander. Since I do violence prevention in the city, especially working with teenagers in Chinatown, I wanted to be a member so I can provide input to create a safer community and provide an alternative view. Also, I’m representing the younger generation.
The CPAB meets monthly to talk about issues that are impacting the jurisdiction of Central Station. There’s other CPAB in other stations as well. Each CPAB meeting is facilitated by the district Captain.
Today CPAB covered ongoing issues on Chinatown safety, Graffiti, Entertainment, Prostitution, Sit Lie Enforcement and Parolees. The Captain also provide the Compstat (crime statistic) of the month.
Can my involvement count as civil engagement?
Jan 13, 2011
» Engagements, Reflections
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
I was invited by the San Francisco Interfaith Council’s (SFIC) Executive Director Michael Pappas as a guest speaker with Reentry Policy Director Jessica Flintoff at its monthly breakfast.
About 80 people from different faith based groups were present at the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Heritage Hall. I shared my poem “Autobiography @ 33” with them as an introduction. I spoke briefly about the importance of all communities coming together to help those who are incarcerated. I drew the parallel on how the prisoners are being treated like lepers in the leper colony of Prison Industrial Complex. Many of the community members reached out to me when I was in prison just as Jesus reach out to the lepers in the leper colony. Without the compassion demonstrated by people from the community, I would not have become who I am.
Members of SFIC are doing many great things helping people who are in need in our community. I want to encourage the interfaith council to play an active role in changing the policy that can steer California away from being number 1 in incarceration and number 50 in education.
Jan 12, 2011
The irritation in my eyes were bothering me so I decided to take a day off. I rarely take time off from work since it seems like I have never ending work to do. I thought time would go by really slow, in the contrary, the day went by way too fast.
I made a list of things I needed to do and start doing it. I washed laundry, organized mail, paid my bills, cancelled my U verse internet service, went to the Post Office to return equipment and brought stamps, went to the bank to check my account balance, cooked a pot of soup and made dinner. I rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes, showered and ate dinner.
I was so caught up in doing all the chores that I forgot to go to the neighborhood town hall meeting. I also had plan to write a poem, but I didn’t get to it.
My eyes felt better after some rest. I still have endless things to do, but I enjoyed my day off.
Jan 05, 2011
“It’s been 29 years. When are going to come visit GuMa? I saw everyone else in the family except you.” GuMa asked me over the phone.
How time flies!? The last time I saw Guma, my Dad older sister, was when I was 12 years old in 1982. We’re at the training station in the city of GuangZhou, China.
“Do you remember the piggy bank of coins you gave me before you left?” GuMa started talking away. “I didn’t use any of it. I put those coins in rolls and saved them. I still have them in the village.” I can’t believe GuMa still remembers everything so vividly. She’s already 85 years old. I was closest with GuMa out of the family. She helped take care of me when I was a kid. I gave her all my savings before I left for USA.
I have to tell GuMa it’s not that I don’t want to go visit her or forgot about her. I don’t have a passport to go anywhere. I told her that whenever I am able to adjust my immigration status and travel abroad, the first person I want to see in China is GuMa.
Yet, the reality is, I don’t know if I will ever see GuMa again. That’s why I wish that she will live to be a hundred years old. That way, hopefully I can fix my status within 15 years and go visit GuMa.
Oct 16, 2010
San Francisco, CA
Presented at Professor Grace Yoo’s Asian American Studies class, “Asian American communities: Changes and Development”, on the Prison Industrial Complex and reentry to approximately 60 students.
Mar 15, 2010
San Francisco, CA
Presented at Professor Donna Willmott’s class on the Prison Industrial Complex and reentry, to approximately 25 students.
Apr 18, 2009
San Francisco, CA
Presented at Donna Willmott’s Health class, “Promoting Wellness for the Formerly Incarcerated” for 12 students
Students will gain an understanding of prison culture and the specific challenges an incarcerated person faces when re-entering society. Ethical considerations along with identifying systemic barriers and rights retained by this population will be explored.
Jan 02, 2009
The year of 2008 breezed by like a sparrow riding with the wind of a tornado. Sometimes I don’t even remember all the things that have had happened in my life.
I’ve been in the “Free World” for 22 months. However, I feel like I’ve been here all along. Who would’ve thought that I am still in the United States? My immigration status remains the same – deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still waiting to secure my travel document from the Chinese government so it can process my deportation. I’m still under ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program. I have to check in with ICE three times a month. My appeal in the ninth circuit court of appeal has been pending for over two years. I have no idea when the court will issue a decision.
Therefore, my status in the US is still uncertain. Fortunately, with the support and dedication of my friend Ben Wang, we were able to secure the commitment from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congressman Mike Honda to express their support to sponsor a private bill on my behalf to stop my deportation in the 2009 congress. With Obama as the president, hopefully my chance of getting the private bill passed increases. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I continued to work full time in the Community Youth Center (CYC) of San Francisco. Since my 20 months of employment in CYC, I was promoted three times. Currently, I’m the Senior Project Coordinator responsible for two components that work on decreasing the violence in the schools and the community – the Community Response Network – Asian Pacific Islander (CRN-API) and Intervention.
The stigma of being a formerly incarcerated person has worked for me and against me. There are those who will continue to doubt me. That’s fine. As the saying goes, “You can lead a cow to water, but you cannot force it to drink.” One thing remains unchanged for me is my dedication to service the youth and community to the best of my ability. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to utilize my experiences to provide services to the often under-funded and under-served API population. Therefore, it is humbling to be accepted and validated by most of my peers and community for what I do. Because when you give me a chance, you give thousands of other an opportunity to change their lives.
I have attached a chronology of some of the things that I’ve done this year. They are the direct results of your support and faith in me.
In my reflection of this year, I realize that sometimes I’m disconnected with society. There’re so many things that I did not learn or understand as a result of my incarceration. Therefore, sometimes I unknowingly hurt the people I care about, myself included. At times, I find myself thinking that being in prison is better than being in the so called “Free World.” I feel like I am living in a lie and that my life is one big lie.
I know that I have much to reflect on and take direct actions to make changes. That’s why I ask all of you to keep me humble and continue to guide me in this finite journey of life.
Thank you for being there for me and being my mentors. Your presence in my life reminds me of how rich and lucky I am.
As we embrace the year of 2009, let’s continue to be kind and loving to ourselves so we can pass the same loving kindness to others.
May you and your families be happy and healthy.
My heart bows to you,
Your humble servant,
Jan 02, 2008
Happy new year!
It’s a blessing to be able to type this message to you. Where as in the past, I have to rely on others to do so.
It’s been ten months since my release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Life is good.
After being in prison for 21 years, one would think that my transition to society would be a difficult one. But not so in my case. Since the day I returned to the free world, I just keep on moving forward.
As you can imagine, everything is new to me. I’ve experienced many first times. That’s why every day of my life is full of excitement.
However, what I find most rewarding and satisfying is doing work that I love. I’m working full time for the Community Youth Center (CYC) of San Francisco as a Project Coordinator for the Community Response Network – Asian Pacific Islander(CRN-API). I get to service the youth, family and community of San Francisco. Also, I’m privileged to be given opportunities to share my experiences in schools, colleges and community based organizations. It is like a dream come true.
As for my immigration status, not much has changed. My deportation order is still active. I do have an appeal in the ninth circuit appeal court. I don’t know what’s going to happen. What I do know is I am not going to worry about the things that I have no control of. I am just going with the flow and stay busy.
I have attached a chronology of some of the things that I’ve done since my release in February. Please take the time to read it because you’ve played an important part in all my accomplishments.
As always, I can never accomplish any of these without the continual support from all of you and the community. I am grateful for your presence in my life.
Please continue to keep me humble because you sustain me, because without you there is no me and because you are beautiful.
2008 is going to be another awesome year. Let’s keep on shining… living… loving…