Stay Focused, Stay Free Tip No. 16

You Never Know Who You’ll Inspire

When I was named “Peer Mentor” in August, I established a curriculum in hopes to encourage 70+ men to live a better life. One of my rituals is I write a weekly quote on my dorm’s blackboard. On a Friday afternoon after I wrote a quote. Tomas, who is Muslim, approached me with tears forming in his eyes. “…In all my years – and I’m 43 years old – I never been inspired by anyone’s words until now, and I just want to say, ‘thank you, bruh!’…” were the words I remember Tomas said.

My heart sunk into my chest, and I released a warm smile. “You’re welcome, bro! Anytime you want to build, this is why I’m here,” was my response as we shook hands.

Stay Focused, Stay Free Tip No. 15

“I didn’t know that … you’ve put me on to something new,” was the response I got from a guy when I told him that he can be the next council member, mayor, delegate, senator, or governor in his state.

“Generally, if you’re a U.S. citizen and you’re eligible to vote, then you can apply to be a politico candidate,” was what I explained to him.

In my experience living in an underserved neighborhood, most of the residents don’t know that they – even as a convicted felon – may run for a public-electoral seat. For some odd reason, they (minorities) think that politicians are distinguished individuals from wealthy backgrounds. As unbelievable as it sounds, this is very true – most Black and Brown people who live in poor communities don’t know that he/she could become America’s next president.

Stay Focused Stay Free Tip #14

Hated by Many, Loved by God.

Hatred and negativity is heavily present where I live. To be honest, I feel trapped inside a dark place, surrounded by wounded individuals that have my worse interest at heart. Describing it as a bucket of crabs would be a deep understatement. For an environment full of hate is more lethal than little, sharp hands – it’s more dangerous because the gossiping haters would rather see me dead with a frown than alive with a smile.

Everyday many men prey on my downfall instead of my up rise. It seems as though their evil, sinful ways make every effort to take my head out of the game. Yesterday I was booed for being myself; today I’m getting booed for chasing my dreams. The old Latif would’ve gave them two middle fingers. The new Latif forgives and loves them, despite their ignorant thoughts.

The Uncut Truth, Volume 5

As a former drug trafficker, I’ve faced many challenges incarcerated. I had a cell partner, for example, who sold narcotics throughout the prison compound. He was anti-government with a rap sheet that screamed “career criminal.” No matter how discrete or respectful he “thought” he was, there was no way he could hide all of his business from me.

Everyday he brought bags of canteen into our assigned cell. His customers would pay him a visit just to say, “It’s done!” – which meant the Cash app was sent. With the prison administration denying my request for a cell change, I had to put my fate in God’s hands.

Stay Focused Stay Free Tip #13

How to Handle Loved Ones Who Are Unsafe

“Your brother tried to have sex with me,” my girlfriend said. During a jail call years ago, my then girlfriend explained to me how she endured my brother’s unwanted sexual advances. She was uncomfortable and conflicted.

My brother knew that we (my girlfriend and I) loved each other, yet he selfishly tried to sleep with his baby brother’s lover. His actions were like, “Screw y’all boundaries!” I was equally shocked as I was heartbroken.

But like I always did, I forgave my brother and continued to deal with him despite his narcissistic sense of morality.

Makings of a Classic Man

closeup man’s hands making notes. writing hands daylight working indoor

Written by: An anonymous Classic Man
Edited by: Latif Torres-Robinson

Class isn’t just a glass of champagne. It’s more about taste and discretion than it is wearing a 3-piece tuxedo.

When we (society) say a man is classy, it’s because he carries himself with good dignity and integrity. Whether rich or poor, he espouses the elegance of an honest, hard working man. The pride he takes in his labor is rooted in the love he has for himself and his livelihood.

What a Mother!

Your love and strength are your greatest powers,
You are a Supermom with a “S” on your chest,
If your child hasn’t told you, then I speak for all sons and daughters,
Mom, you are the best,
You’ve even inspired me to be the best I can be,
No other woman on this planet can offer me what you gave me,
Passionate and nurturing with everything you do,
Your human nature is the G.O.A.T; no other being will ever replace you,
You question a lie and you answer the truth,
You wholeheartedly put motherhood before diamonds and pearls,
So believe me when I say, “I will give you the world,”

Stay Focused Stay Free Tip #12

Finding Comfort in Time of War

Ever since Covid-19 became a part of everyday life, a contest of violence has erupted. In February, Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. “Ukraine is a part of Russia,” Putin believes. Ukraine’s President Zelenksky and his defense team’s courage has been admiring, for it’s literately David vs. Goliath.

However, people around the world have been watching news reports with mixed emotions. As human beings, it’s in our nature to sympathize for others. In one or more ways, the war has affected us.

The Uncut Truth, Volume 4

Have you ever smoked weed on your way to church?

For some odd reason, I thought it would be cool to be intoxicated in the body of Christ. When I was 16-years old, I smoked a joint before I went to church with my mother. What a mistake! As soon as I breached the premises of St. Paul, shame cultivated my soul like a demon possession. It was the beginning of a long beat down.

Because I always hid in the balcony of the church’s sanctuary, I was able to avoid suspicion from my mother – and other members of the congregation. As I sat on the bench stoned with two red eyes, I suddenly thought everybody knew I was under the influence. “They know I’m high,” I thought out of paranoia.

What if Your Opinions Aren’t Your Own?

Guest writer: David Butts

We cannot harness the true power of life. We can’t experience the true beauty of life until we are freed from control.

What if you thought you were free, but realized you aren’t?! What if you realized your thoughts and ideologies were specifically curated by people whose interests you intend to unwittingly serve?!

Everyone else might be controlled, or most people but not you, right?!!! What if you and everybody else were controlled and it was only a few who actually own their opinions?!!!! What if your dreams weren’t truly yours, and that is why you can’t find purpose, understanding or even love?!!!!!