Chris and I met in Restorative Justice. My first impression was one of those white-boys that thinks he’s tough and has a lot of war stories about how bad he is. Knowing that he had did time I assumed he was a racist especially after looking at his tattoos and he said he was from Orange County. But at the same time I said to myself let me not be judgmental because I don’t want anyone judging me. I learned that me and Chris had a lot in common – he was a former skinhead and I was a former gang member. We both been through a lot and he had been through some things I had never been through as a kid. I really felt bad for him and was hurt by the things he said he been through. At that moment in my heart I felt he was going to be my brother I never had. We started to open up to one another more and more about our kids and family. When he found out his father was sick he came to talk to me about it. That made me know our relationship was one of true brotherly love. So when my aunt’s boyfriend who attacked her while he was on PCP and bit her face so badly to where she had to have plastic surgery came to San Quentin, the first person I went to talk to was Chris for support. Because like I said he’s a brother to me and I trust him. Despite all the hurt and hate we both had in us. We both just wanted to be understood and loved unconditionally and we found that in one another. I could not have asked for a better brother than Chris and our relationship has showed me to never judge a book by its cover. I believe the negative lifestyle we once lived was a cry out for brotherly love and we found that in one another.
Moe and I first met sitting in a restorative justice roundtable circle. My first impression was that he was one of the darkest African American men I’ve ever seen.
I believe our friendship today is one of the best I’ve ever had. He is my brother. I’ve learned many things from Moe but the most important lesson to me is to face life’s challenges, no matter how stressful, as calmly as possible.
The changes I’ve experienced as a result of our friendship are mostly related to my past beliefs as a skinhead with racial views. Additionally I believe I’m a much happier person overall.