Growing up poor. Never having food or clean clothes to wear. There would be times when I would only be able to eat at school. A lot of the time I would eat berries, plums, watermelons. I started coming home with crawfish. I would steal people's chickens, eggs. I was about 5 or 6 years old when I caught my first animal. One of my mama's boyfriends showed me how to skin and clean it. d. I had to be the man of the house and make sure we ate. I once had to wear a dress to school. Having to grow up without food or nice clothes made me feel embarrassment, anguish, while the other kids made fun of me. I would cry. But then I started getting angry and hitting those I felt was at fault. I stopped showing up to school. If I did show up it would only be to eat. Because of these events, my beliefs became that nobody cared about me so it made me withdraw, antisocial, not trusting of others and believing that I had to do everything on my own.
When I was 6 years old, I found out that the people I thought were my parents were not my parents, it's also when I found out that my name was Ronald and not just Wayne. I remember my mom’s cousin explaining to me who my real mama was and that it was time for me to go back and be with her because she wanted me back. So they began taking me to visit her and me staying for a while and staying every weekend. My cousin would come get me. They used to have to find different ways to trick me to get me to get into the truck.
I was with my real mama until she brought me out to California. I think I was seven or eight, we got out here, had no place to go. I think we were here on the streets, not even a week and she put me up against a fence and tried to kill me by cutting my throat. That was the last time I'd see her. I went into foster care that night, many different foster homes, group homes, placements, Juvenile Hall. The first time I was locked up is when I was 8 years old. I was kicked out of my first foster home and taken to juvenile hall. Placed back into more placements in juvenile camps. My first adult arrest is when I was 18. I came to prison when I was 19 I did 11 years. I was released in 2001, stayed out a days. I was homeless with no place to go and my $200 gate money was gone. Someone I knew selling drugs gave me some so I tried to sell it to get food. I ended up selling to an undercover cop. Because of that I was sent back to prison for three more years. I was released in 2005. I found a bullet on the ground and the cops stopped me. 2006 I went back to prison. I was released in 2009. Stayed out nine months and I'm now I'm doing four life terms plus 17 years.
I believe the Compassion Prison Project is important because it helps to bring things out that a lot of us wouldn't face without the program. It helps you to find yourself as well as teach you to love yourself and others. It teaches you Humanity. It brings relief to ourselves by being able to talk about the things that we may not be able to talk about. It's easier to express yourself when others can relate to the things you've been through. It makes you feel not feel so alone. I feel that because of my life experience, I feel that I can help others by sharing my story and by sharing my wrongs with others, hopefully they can learn from me.