Participants: Aaron Chancy (Host), Travonne Dillon
Series Code: TNJ
Program Code: TNJ000067A
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:03 Parents are cautioned that some material may be too candid
00:06 for younger children.
00:08 Welcome to the New Journey,
00:09 where we meet real life people with real life testimonies
00:13 and real life working ministries
00:14 for Jesus Christ.
00:15 I'm your host Aaron Chancy.
00:17 Come join us on a New Journey.
00:50 Welcome to the New Journey.
00:52 We have an exciting program and exciting testimony
00:54 of a young man, Tavonne Dillon.
00:56 Tavonne, we want to thank you for being on the program.
00:58 Thank you for having me. All right.
01:00 Just to get the question started
01:02 because it's significant, I want to ask you,
01:04 how old are you and where are you from?
01:06 I'm 20 years old, and I'm from Detroit, Michigan.
01:08 All right. Twenty years old and from Detroit, Michigan.
01:11 Yes, sir.
01:12 Now the reason is significant is because you're 20 years old.
01:15 Many people at 20 years old
01:18 are not thinking about changing their lives,
01:20 not thinking about doing the right thing,
01:22 out there running around,
01:23 but you at 20 years old has changed your life
01:26 and have done some amazing things.
01:28 We're going to get to that through this interview.
01:29 But first, I want to start with
01:31 growing up in Detroit, Michigan,
01:34 what was the environment like growing up for you?
01:37 Man, the environment was crazy.
01:38 It was both, I would say it was challenging.
01:43 It's very strong,
01:44 it builds your character just for the simple fact
01:46 that you could live in one of the bad neighborhoods
01:49 and you can live on like the corner.
01:52 And you could walk down any side street like,
01:54 any of the four surrounding intersections,
01:56 and you can run into a drug dealer,
01:58 a gang banger, prostitute, or all three in one.
02:02 Okay, okay.
02:04 So I would say to rise above that
02:06 is character building.
02:07 It strengthens you
02:09 in different environment and everything.
02:10 You're really not scared,
02:12 you're not afraid of anything else
02:13 just because of what you've been through.
02:14 Yeah, a lot of the things that you see,
02:16 a lot of things that you have gone through.
02:18 Let me ask you this.
02:20 Growing up in Detroit,
02:22 tell us a little bit about your early, your young years
02:25 with your mother and your father,
02:26 talk about that?
02:27 Well, I was a hardheaded when I was young
02:30 like, I'm the oldest of six children so.
02:34 My mother, she's a single mother
02:36 so she raised us all six by herself, of course.
02:38 And something she couldn't teach me,
02:41 it's the father's job to tell a young man, a son,
02:45 tell his son how to be a man, how to raise them to be a man
02:48 so it was just some things my mother couldn't tell me.
02:50 And ultimately I started migrating to the streets more
02:55 just because of the fact that the curriculums in the schools
02:59 or just the people around
03:01 I couldn't have as much as I wanted.
03:03 I didn't need for basic necessities
03:06 but I wanted more than what I had.
03:09 Now you said you grew up in a single parent home
03:11 with your mother, six siblings, a total of six of you all.
03:15 Was your father anywhere in the picture?
03:18 Did you know your father growing up?
03:21 How is your relationship with your father
03:22 at this moment?
03:24 My relationship with my father now is getting better.
03:27 See, he's doing seven years
03:29 in a federal penitentiary right now
03:31 and they have a system set up called CorrLinks,
03:34 and you can basically email your loved ones back home
03:39 through email, of course.
03:41 And we're talking about things now,
03:43 how his childhood was before
03:44 but prior to that, I didn't meet him
03:46 until I was about ten years old.
03:48 Wow. Okay.
03:49 And he's still been in and out of my life since then
03:51 like, I only see to do like twice a year.
03:54 But with my mother actually, she's my queen, you know.
03:57 I treat her as my queen. We've been through so much.
03:59 And like I said, I'm the oldest of six children
04:01 so, you know, how that goes.
04:04 What kind of impact do you think
04:05 that it had on you as an individual?
04:07 As a young black man, inner city Detroit, Michigan
04:11 growing up without that strong father figure
04:14 in your life?
04:15 Oh, man. It's crazy.
04:16 You don't have anybody to show you the ropes like...
04:20 And I'm the oldest
04:21 so I don't have any big brothers,
04:23 I don't have any older sisters like...
04:24 So I migrated towards anything outside of my home
04:27 because like I said,
04:28 my mother couldn't teach me certain things.
04:30 So I met my best friend like, in high school
04:34 and he had older cousins and stuff.
04:36 I have one older cousin, he's the only guy cousin I have
04:40 besides my other younger cousins,
04:42 but it's not a lot of males in my family
04:45 so it's not like a lot of father figure.
04:47 So when I migrated towards the street,
04:50 so it was just like...
04:52 It was...
04:54 What's the word I'm thinking of?
04:57 It was more a family. Okay, okay.
04:59 And that's understandable
05:00 because a lot of times that's what happens
05:02 where individuals,
05:04 they may not have the father figure,
05:05 the motherly figure, whatever, in the household
05:07 and gravitate more so to friends in the streets.
05:11 Before we get heavy into what you got involved in,
05:15 let's talk about some of the positive influences.
05:17 Now we're going to do it in a two part way.
05:19 I want to know some of your positive influences growing up,
05:22 as well as some of your negative influences growing up?
05:25 Well, some of the positive influences
05:27 growing up, like I said,
05:28 it's a lot of females in my family
05:30 so I have my auntie, my mom, and my grandma
05:33 like, if I wanted to escape home
05:35 like anytime I got in trouble with my mom or something,
05:38 I'll call my grandma like,
05:40 "Yo, mom is stricken like, can I come over there?"
05:43 She bought me anything I want because she's the grandma.
05:45 I come over there.
05:46 When I'm hungry, she feeds me
05:48 or if I'm needing for anything, she'll nurture me.
05:50 But my auntie was just like,
05:53 she didn't have a son as old as I was,
05:57 she only had two children,
05:58 so it's just like I'm her baby.
06:00 Yeah, yeah, definitely.
06:02 And with my mother, of course, like I said, she's my queen,
06:05 I'm her oldest so I have a special place in her heart
06:09 but all the women in my family
06:10 has put me up on a high pedestal
06:13 just because of the position.
06:14 And I mean, in our family like,
06:17 so I could say all the women in my family to be queens.
06:20 They have been my positive influence.
06:22 And now for the flip side of that,
06:23 what are some of the negative influences
06:26 that were in your life growing up?
06:28 I'm sure there was lot of those.
06:30 Well, see, I was born in '95 so we have the internet era,
06:33 we have the information era
06:35 so I would say the internet is a bad influence
06:38 just for the simple fact that it creates AD&D
06:41 and it creates ADD.
06:43 You know what I mean, like for example, Facebook,
06:45 Snapchat, Instagram, all the social medias,
06:48 you can look at 20 different stories
06:50 in two minutes.
06:51 And by that time,
06:53 your brain is not processing everything at once,
06:54 it's skipping this information, "Oh, I like this."
06:57 This skips over to the next thing,
06:58 "Well, I like this."
06:59 Then your brain is just like not concentrating on one thing.
07:03 So internet is one and I would say music.
07:09 And we're going to get more into music in a second,
07:11 but before we get there,
07:14 growing up,
07:15 what was like the religious atmosphere
07:17 in your house
07:18 or did you all go to church weekly?
07:21 What faith were you a part of,
07:23 if any, if a part of faith at all?
07:24 What was the whole Christian background
07:26 like growing up?
07:28 People in my family are Christian,
07:30 they study Christianity
07:32 and they go to church and everything
07:33 but for like the past ten years,
07:36 not many people in my family...
07:37 Because I have a small immediate family,
07:39 like I have three uncles.
07:41 And everybody is pretty much from the Detroit area.
07:43 From the Detroit area. Okay.
07:44 But like I said, we have a small family
07:47 so not everybody went to church.
07:49 And then it's like everybody is kind of like split up now
07:52 throughout the whole city.
07:53 It's just been family issues and everything,
07:55 so nobody really talks to anybody,
07:58 at least not as much as we should,
08:00 as much as a family should, be entitled to be in a family.
08:04 Yeah, yeah. Definitely.
08:05 Church, I would say growing up, it was in and out,
08:08 but my grandma was a Baptist
08:10 and my mom was kind of migrating towards that too
08:13 and her siblings were too,
08:14 but we weren't in the church like we should have been.
08:17 Okay, so it wasn't like a weekly thing.
08:19 I mean, they had three times a week
08:21 or anything like that. Not at all.
08:23 Eventually, you got involved
08:25 with the street gang, The Bloods.
08:27 Talk about how you got involved with The Bloods?
08:30 Talk about that whole instance?
08:32 That's a story right there, man.
08:35 So like I said, when we were growing up,
08:38 me and my mom bumped heads a lot actually.
08:40 And this one particular time
08:43 with the father for the last two children,
08:46 me and her were like getting into arguments
08:48 all the time over him because I was young,
08:51 I was feeling like she chose him over me
08:53 but, of course, that wasn't what was happening
08:55 but I felt like she was taken him over me.
08:58 So me and him got into a fight one day
09:00 and mad people from my family was there.
09:03 And I was like, "This dude is like big, cocky dude."
09:06 And he hit me and I was like, "Yo! What's up with you?"
09:09 So we started fighting and everything.
09:10 And that was days
09:12 and then I started going off on a rant over everybody like,
09:14 "Yo, you all ain't going jump in
09:16 and just do like three times my size.
09:19 So I ended up leaving
09:21 and I stayed with my best friend
09:22 and everything.
09:23 Now his cousins, they're all Bloods,
09:27 like mad people in his family are Bloods,
09:29 so when I started staying with him,
09:34 they were like selling drugs,
09:36 selling weed and all of that so I was just like,
09:39 "Yo, I need money in my pocket too.
09:41 I'm not really going to school like that anymore.
09:43 And I'm kicked out of my mom's house
09:45 so what am I going to do?"
09:47 It's like, "Yo, we can get this money together."
09:49 Me and my best friend have did everything together,
09:51 like anything you can think of,
09:52 we've been together like, I call him my brother actually,
09:55 not even a best friend, he's more family.
09:57 So his cousin was actually my big homey,
10:00 he's The Blood too.
10:04 So he took me under his wing or whatever like,
10:05 "Yo, you could start selling nickels and dimes for me
10:07 and everything."
10:08 Now let me stop you right there.
10:10 I know what nickels and dimes are
10:12 but there are some of the viewers
10:14 that may not know what nickels or nicks and dimes are,
10:18 so if you could give a little insight onto that,
10:21 what nicks and dimes are?
10:23 Nickels and dimes are basically just like,
10:25 a dime, of course, is ten
10:29 and nickel is five dollars worth,
10:31 but it adds up in quantity as much as you sell.
10:35 I wasn't a big time drug dealer but I have money.
10:39 We have money in our pockets all the time.
10:41 And we had a crew too, and it was all Bloods.
10:44 I wouldn't consider myself a Blood
10:45 because it was just like,
10:47 "Well, what's up, five! What's up, five."
10:48 Always trying to do the handshake with me
10:50 and everything.
10:51 I'm like, "No, get that away from me," and all that
10:53 but I was associated with them so.
10:56 Now in Detroit, I've never been to Detroit myself
11:00 but are there a lot of gangs in the Detroit area?
11:03 Oh, yeah.
11:05 It had gangs in Detroit, thousands of them.
11:06 On this one street particularly,
11:08 it's called Seven Mile.
11:09 And it's a neighborhood inside Seven Mile
11:12 called the Red Zone.
11:13 It stretches to another neighborhood
11:16 called Six Mile
11:18 and that's part of the Red Zone too.
11:20 But in that little area,
11:21 it's like 20 to 25 different Blood gangs.
11:25 And they all feud with each other too.
11:27 Then stretching to the west side, to the east,
11:29 it's like so many gangs. Okay.
11:32 Now growing up in Detroit,
11:33 I'm sure you've seen a whole lot of things.
11:36 Talk about some of the things
11:37 that you've seen in your life growing up,
11:39 some of the instances you've been in?
11:41 Okay, when I was younger,
11:45 by this time, it was only four of us not six.
11:47 So we stayed in this one neighborhood called Zender,
11:50 it was off of Mack Ave.
11:52 And that neighborhood,
11:54 it was just like a whole bunch of prostitutes,
11:56 and whole bunch of crackheads,
11:57 it's like you could walk up 20 feet
11:59 and a crackhead would be sitting on a corner
12:00 and knows this little pot infested with them.
12:02 They'll be just passed out over table,
12:05 sleeping in chairs and everything
12:06 and just, it was crazy.
12:08 And that neighborhood now,
12:10 since it was like three schools in that area
12:13 when I was younger,
12:14 all three of the schools are closed now.
12:15 So it's just like a whole bunch of crackheads there
12:18 and prostitutes just living everywhere.
12:21 Now seeing those things as a young man,
12:25 growing up in inner city Detroit,
12:27 what does that do to a person's brain
12:29 as you walk out of your house
12:30 and you see a bunch of crackheads,
12:32 you see a bunch of people on the streets.
12:34 What does that do to your mentality?
12:37 Well, like I'm saying, if you're a little kid,
12:39 you will try to go outside and play,
12:41 and end up stepping over some needles
12:43 or you end up stepping over like,
12:45 condom wrappers in the street and everything,
12:47 you start thinking like, "Yo, what is all this like,
12:50 how can I rise above everything in my environment
12:53 and look for something different,
12:55 something bigger outside
12:56 when all I see is drugs."
12:58 And all I see is drug dealers, gang bangers, prostitutes.
13:01 This is just how life is.
13:04 And majority of people inside Detroit
13:06 really don't have their fathers in their lives.
13:07 And if you are, you're blessed like, more power to you,
13:10 more power to your family.
13:11 But for those who don't have the father in the household,
13:14 they're there to fend for themselves,
13:16 and they're there to learn things on their own,
13:18 so the street is teaching them.
13:20 And the streets couldn't sell crack to your mom,
13:23 can't bother your mother.
13:24 Yeah, not going to bother them.
13:25 Send you to jail for 20 to 60 years.
13:28 Yeah, exactly, exactly.
13:30 How much do you think
13:32 you hit on this a second ago, pertaining to media
13:35 with the internet, music,
13:37 how much of an impact do you think
13:38 secular hip-hop particularly
13:41 has an influence upon the generation of today?
13:45 Well, I would say secular hip-hop has
13:47 one of the biggest influences on youth now.
13:53 Adolescence, in your adolescence age,
13:55 all you want to do is party
13:56 like you don't really want to...
13:58 Don't care about anything else, we're having fun.
13:59 You really wouldn't care about anything but having fun,
14:01 like I said.
14:03 So what the secular hip hop is just like,
14:05 people like Future, Amigos, all of them
14:07 just talking about party,
14:09 you know, want to dab all the time.
14:11 We want to drink, and we want to smoke,
14:13 and we want to get this girl,
14:14 we want to get that girl and all that,
14:16 but that's all that music is talking about in our days
14:19 is partying, drinking, smoking,
14:21 now, let's get this money, let's trap out everything,
14:23 and the thing is those big name rappers
14:26 don't even be doing that anymore.
14:28 If they had to do that, why are they rapping,
14:30 they make more money rapping
14:31 than they would do selling drugs and everything.
14:34 But I really admired Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole
14:37 because they're conscious rappers.
14:39 You don't never see them in their videos nowadays
14:41 wearing big old chains, and gold,
14:43 or flashing out watches and stuff like that.
14:46 They rap about how the media is now
14:48 and they're trying to send the actual message, so.
14:53 Well, the thing about secular hip-hop and rap is
14:56 most of them just talk about
14:58 like, getting a whole bunch of girls,
15:00 selling drugs, using drugs, and partying all the time.
15:04 And all that just gets tiring.
15:06 It just gets tired and after a while,
15:07 you would just want to listen to something different
15:09 but it plays a big part on what people listen to
15:13 because it changes their mood.
15:14 Whatever type of things that you put inside your mind,
15:18 it becomes repetitive
15:19 especially if you listen to the same music over and over,
15:22 you start to believe what you're hearing.
15:23 Yeah, definitely.
15:25 You know, that actually testifies to a biblical fact
15:27 where the Bible says, "By beholding we become changed."
15:30 And interesting thing about that is
15:33 things that we watch, things that we listen to,
15:36 you're going to eventually become like that,
15:38 even friends that you hang around with,
15:41 either they're going to become like you
15:42 or you're going to become like them.
15:44 And so I think it's very important this day and age
15:48 to be mindful what we listen to,
15:50 what we watch,
15:52 because all of these things are shaping us into somebody.
15:56 The messages, and you know,
15:58 a lot of times this music and TV has,
16:01 which calls subliminal messages,
16:02 and these are things that only your subconscious
16:04 is picking up.
16:06 And, you know, with these things,
16:07 there are messages being pumped into young people
16:10 and older folks as well.
16:11 Especially in cartoons. Oh, yeah.
16:13 Definitely, definitely in cartoons.
16:14 And so I think media has a very big,
16:17 very big impact on shaping our young people of today.
16:21 Now, let's move on to the next thing.
16:24 You got involved with drugs, using drugs, selling drugs,
16:27 what were those drugs that you got involved with
16:30 and how old were you
16:31 when you first got involved with drugs?
16:33 Well, the first thing I experimented with was alcohol
16:36 and I was about like 15 years old.
16:39 I mean, some of my boys,
16:40 we were just chilling with whatever,
16:42 calling some females and whatever.
16:44 We actually didn't get a chance to chill with them or whatever.
16:48 So we're just like, "Yo, it's boring.
16:50 Now, let's do something."
16:51 So we ended up drinking.
16:53 And the first time I've ever been drunk
16:54 but after that, later along the lines,
16:57 I started like smoking weed like two years later.
17:00 And I would smoke heavy like four, five blunts a day
17:05 like, you got crazy with 16 years old,
17:08 16 or 17 one of those.
17:11 Yeah, like four, five blunts a day, so
17:15 after so long, that high isn't the same,
17:17 so you seek other substances and stuff,
17:19 so I experimented with prescription drugs too
17:23 like Lean.
17:26 Okay, okay.
17:27 That was real popular, Lean, and coating pills,
17:32 Xanax is the street drug, it's called bars
17:34 but, yeah, stuff like that.
17:36 Now all these things that you have got involved in,
17:38 you were hanging with The Bloods,
17:41 you were selling drugs, you were using drugs.
17:43 How did you see these things affecting your mother?
17:47 Or even since you're the oldest of six,
17:49 how did you see this affecting your younger siblings
17:52 around you?
17:53 Well, when I was doing all this stuff,
17:56 I would never bring it
17:58 around my brothers and sisters and everything.
17:59 Like I said, I was kicked out of my house
18:01 and I stayed away from my house
18:03 for about like three, four years.
18:05 I didn't go back to living with my mom until like a year ago.
18:11 With the drug thing,
18:12 with selling drugs and everything,
18:14 only time I would come back to my mother's house
18:16 is when I wanted to give her some money
18:18 or if I wanted to see
18:20 my brothers and sisters and everything,
18:21 spend some time with them,
18:22 see how school was going for them
18:24 and everything.
18:25 But the toll that it was taking her,
18:26 I could tell that she wasn't...
18:29 Of course, no mother would approve of you
18:31 doing any of those things,
18:33 and she knew what I was doing, of course,
18:34 but, like I said, I didn't have my father in my life
18:38 and she couldn't tell me anything
18:39 because I was hardheaded dude.
18:43 So it was lot of stress on her.
18:44 And I actually went to jail before,
18:47 so I was locked up for like a week,
18:49 me and my brother but...
18:53 What was the whole incident that led you to jail?
18:56 Led me to jail?
18:57 Yo, that's crazy.
18:59 It was actually messed up situations.
19:03 See, I got kicked out of three high school
19:06 for fighting so much.
19:07 And me and my best friend, of course,
19:09 we went all through the same high schools
19:11 but people wouldn't like us just because we were different.
19:15 We hung around a whole bunch of girls.
19:17 So naturally, guys are just be like,
19:19 "Yo, why are you hanging out with my girl?"
19:20 Yeah, naturally jealous, yeah.
19:21 Yeah, naturally jealous like that.
19:23 So we get into fights with them,
19:24 there was never about anything else but female fights,
19:27 now that I think about it, I got tripping so much.
19:29 But this one time, this dude has said something to my girl,
19:33 and I didn't like what he said.
19:35 He was like, "Yo!"
19:38 He said something like, "Come here moss,"
19:39 trying to talk to her or whatever
19:41 because she's trying to get her friend
19:42 from stop trying to talk to them or whatever
19:44 but I came over crossing the street.
19:45 I'm like, "Yo, what's up with you?
19:47 Stop talking to my girl."
19:48 He's like, "What up, Blood? What's up with you?"
19:50 I'm like, "What, I got what you talking about."
19:52 My brother was packing and I'm like...
19:54 He had a gun or whatever.
19:56 He's like, "Oh, yeah. That's how you all doing."
19:57 I'm like, "No, we could throw things right now, whatever."
19:59 But I guess his home
20:01 where we have whispered something to his ear.
20:02 So a day later, we are always in this alternative school.
20:05 It's a school for knuckleheads, school for knuckleheads.
20:11 But we're all in this alternative school
20:14 and they have set us up so good
20:15 like, I'm clapping them off today
20:17 like, they set us off something good
20:19 because I didn't even see it coming
20:21 but how it is,
20:22 is two different parts of this school.
20:24 See, we got on a bus to go to a different facility,
20:26 do some school work on the computers
20:28 but on this facility it's different.
20:32 We actually do it in writing, so today we went to...
20:35 On that day, we went to the one with the computers
20:38 but, mind you, my brother has never been there,
20:40 and some of the dudes was just like,
20:42 "Oh, you should come with us," or whatever.
20:43 So we're just like, "Oh, okay."
20:45 So soon as we got to that facility
20:46 like the dude that invited us had just disappeared.
20:49 And we started getting on the computers
20:51 and doing our work and everything.
20:53 And we had headphones in our ears
20:55 so these dudes have walked up to me,
20:56 tap me on the shoulder, and he was like,
20:58 "Yo, you want to hear these dudes
20:59 talking smack behind you."
21:01 So I'm just like, "Yo, what's up?"
21:02 So I stood up or whatever,
21:03 and it was only one dude standing up.
21:05 So I just stood up,
21:06 took off my shirt and everything.
21:08 Another dude had rushed up
21:09 and then another dude have rushed up.
21:10 And I was like, "Yo, they set us up."
21:12 So I'm like, "Oh, I'm too deep right now."
21:14 So I just started bombing on them.
21:15 Next thing I know, me and my brother
21:17 back to back fighting about like seven different dudes,
21:19 we jumped or whatever.
21:20 So the next day, we came back up there
21:23 to talk to the administration,
21:25 but we saw that the dudes that set us up
21:27 and jumped us was still there.
21:28 So we're just like, "Yo, why are they still here?"
21:30 And then they called the cops on us,
21:32 and one thing led to another.
21:34 We got into another fight
21:35 and we ended up getting arrested.
21:41 So we're about to get let out that night
21:42 out of the prison cell,
21:44 I mean, out of jail cell or whatever
21:46 but it was like, "No.
21:47 They've got to hold on.
21:48 A homicide wants to talk to them."
21:50 We look at each other like,
21:51 "Homicide, why do they want to talk to?
21:52 We didn't kill anybody."
21:54 So the next morning,
21:55 they came and talked to us and everything.
21:56 And it ended up happening that the dude that set us up,
22:00 that guy shot in the head for trying to rob the dope house.
22:02 Wow, wow.
22:03 So then he got shot
22:05 like an hour after we got arrested.
22:06 So I would count that as a blessing too.
22:08 If we're still out in the street,
22:09 they would have pinned the murder on us
22:11 because we got into a fight with them last.
22:13 But, yeah, the case was expunged
22:15 so we just ended up getting misdemeanors on our case
22:18 for assault and battery.
22:20 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
22:22 Now, I definitely don't want to run out of time
22:24 before we talk about how you came
22:26 into the Seventh-day Adventist church.
22:28 So if you could go ahead and shed some light
22:30 on the whole incident surrounding you,
22:32 get involved in the Seventh-day Adventist church,
22:34 and eventually going to Oakwood University,
22:36 talk about that?
22:37 Well, this time last year,
22:39 I didn't even know that SDA was even a religion.
22:41 All I knew was Baptist, Methodist, Buddhism,
22:44 all that other stuff
22:46 but how it happened was,
22:49 it was actually this past summer,
22:50 I met a dude named Antoine Tossa Nigh,
22:54 and he was the USM president of Oakwood University
22:57 back in 2012, and he had graduated then.
23:01 So when he came back to Detroit
23:02 because he's actually from Detroit
23:04 but when he came back there,
23:06 he got a job in the Mayor's office
23:07 as the East Side district manager,
23:09 and he handles all the reports just of the east side
23:12 and everything like anything you could think of.
23:15 But he kept getting reports in our neighborhood
23:17 because like I say, it's a bunch of knuckleheads,
23:20 bunch of adolescents doing whole bunch of stuff,
23:22 we're just like,
23:23 either we were shooting dice, playing basketball,
23:26 or just gambling on anything just to make some money.
23:28 So he had ended up calling the cops on us,
23:31 trying to disperse us or whatever.
23:34 We started calling them snitch or whatever.
23:37 I guess he had felt bad about it
23:39 so every time he will see me
23:40 like walking up the street or whatever,
23:42 he would stop and talk to us and just be like.
23:44 "Yo, yo, yo, yo. y'all need to stop doing this.
23:46 y'all need to stop doing that."
23:48 But he struck me as different
23:50 just because he was repetitive with this stuff.
23:53 Other people like cops
23:54 or just old people in general in our neighborhood,
23:57 they just call the cops on us and be like,
23:59 "Oh, you all up to no good.
24:00 You all doing this, you all doing that."
24:02 But he actually want to see us do better.
24:04 See, that's all, it's a mentoring thing
24:07 because in his life, he grew up
24:09 and his best friend had ended up
24:10 getting shot and killed.
24:12 So it's like he'd do anything for the young people
24:14 to get out of streets and do better with their lives.
24:17 So this past summer,
24:19 me and some of the boys in the neighborhood
24:21 ended up getting into a fight
24:22 because my sister had been one of their girlfriends,
24:25 and they ended up trying to jump my sister and my brother.
24:28 So me and my boys had rolled up on them,
24:31 we started fighting or whatever.
24:32 And this happened like throughout the course
24:34 of all three of the months of the summer time.
24:37 So how it all ended was, one of the dude said...
24:44 and that was like six of them.
24:46 Me and my brother was walking up the street like,
24:48 "The Dude that I get into everything with."
24:50 Me and him was walking up the street.
24:51 And two of their boys have walked up in front of us like,
24:55 "Yo, what's up with all this?
24:58 You taken my brother phone," or whatever.
25:00 We were like, "Yo, this ain't about no phone.
25:02 You all just mad
25:03 because neither one of our side has taken losses
25:05 and we live on the same block or whatever."
25:08 So we ended getting to another argument.
25:11 And we're like, why don't you all scrap it out right now
25:13 and just end all this, just get it now.
25:16 So they get to scrappiness stuff.
25:19 And all four of these dudes start walking to us.
25:22 So I'm just like, "Yo, yo, yo. No.
25:24 This one on one right here which I don't."
25:26 He's like, "No, ain't no one's around here.
25:28 What are you talking about? You see what's on my hip?"
25:29 And he started flashing a gun to me.
25:31 I'm like, "Yo, you're bringing a gun to a fist fight?
25:33 We're already outnumbered. What's up with you?"
25:35 So he's like, "No, I want to hear nothing.
25:36 I'm loony. I'm loony in the head."
25:38 So he pulled out his gun in front of my mom
25:40 and in front of my little brothers and sisters
25:42 and just started shooting at me.
25:43 I was just like, "Yo.
25:44 What's up with you?"
25:46 But, yeah.
25:47 After that, cops came and everything,
25:50 they want to know what happened.
25:51 And I'm not the type of dude to snitch on anybody
25:55 regardless of what you did to me,
25:56 I'm not going to snitch on you.
25:59 Cops came, they just busted, they said,
26:01 "Next time, we get a call from your neighborhood,
26:03 we're arresting everybody and we're charging all you all
26:06 with all types of stuff.
26:07 You are going to jail.
26:09 So next time we get a call,
26:10 it better not be about you all."
26:13 So we all just squashed the beef and everything.
26:17 And after that, Antoine came up to me,
26:18 he's like, "Yo, you're getting in too much.
26:21 Five years from now,
26:22 you either going to be dead or in jail."
26:24 I was just like, "Yeah, you're right.
26:26 You're right, but what else am I supposed to do?"
26:30 So he's like, "You ever think about college?"
26:33 I'm just like, "No, I never thought about college before.
26:35 It was out of my mind."
26:36 I'm like, I'm a ghetto boy.
26:41 He's like, "No, you can actually go to college
26:43 like, I'm so serious with you.
26:44 You can fill out financial aid,
26:46 we can do all the necessary preparations."
26:48 So two weeks before I had to be down here,
26:51 filled out the FAFSA and financial aid,
26:55 and did the placement test to see how I would do.
26:57 I ended up doing good in everything,
26:59 so two days before I had to be at Oakwood, I got accepted.
27:03 So he's like, "Yo, we're going down there."
27:05 So he ended up driving me down there
27:07 and by the grace of God, two semesters later, I'm here.
27:10 Amen, amen.
27:12 Now there's a lot of young people
27:14 who are in your situation, who have been in your situation
27:17 that it is very difficult for them to say,
27:21 "You know what, I want to go to college."
27:22 For the simple fact that all they can see is,
27:25 "What I'm involved in right now.
27:27 And either by the time I'm 25,
27:29 I'm going to be locked up or I'm going to be dead."
27:31 So as a young person that is seeing all these things,
27:35 what do you think it takes for them
27:37 to come to the realization,
27:38 "You know what, I need to do better.
27:40 School might be the way
27:41 that I can get out of this instance."
27:43 Well, the thing I would say to my peers,
27:46 to anybody in adolescence
27:48 is just to never give up on your goals.
27:50 If you're good at anything like, practice that
27:53 like, there's no amount of time where you should be idle.
27:56 There you go, there you go.
27:58 Well, Tavonne, we appreciate having you on the program.
28:00 I know you'll be an inspiration to many young people
28:04 who have gone through or going through
28:06 so many things that you've gone through.
28:08 Thank you for tuning in once again.
28:09 Join us next time on the New Journey.