Kevin Gray was interviewed by DC Organization OneNation, as apart of a Positive outreach Program that connects At Risk Youth, with Incarcerated Males to Give “Real Talk” to Youth. The Goal is to educate youth of the dangers of the Streets, Prison, and dialogue on alternatives routes to become Positive examples of overcoming adversity, Against all Odds!
- Let start from the beginning. What was the Atmosphere like growing up in Washington DC as a Youth?
The Atmosphere growing up in DC back in the 80’s and 90s was Toxic! Everybody I knew was in the streets, and drugs saturated the streets of D.C. It was like you was in the matrix. Because everything is fast paced but to you it seems like you are in slow motion. It was out of control.
- What effects in your opinion does poverty play on one decision making skills?
Poverty was the motivating factor for some. You were either in the streets out of survival or, you were simply drawn in by the glamour.
- What was your Formative years like as a Teen?
My formative years was a blur! One day I’m riding a big wheel and the next I’m knee deep in the streets. I was indoctrinated young, and was a fast learner. I was the wide-eyed kid growing up.
- At one point DC was considered the Murder Capital, in late 80s early 90s, In your opinion how did the Crack Epidemic Play a role in the increase Violence in the City?
The Crack Era has been considered the sole reason for all the murders in the 80s or 90s connected to the Drug Game. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think it definitely played a part and was a motivating factor for a lot of the murders no matter what drug you were selling. I think crack gets a lot of the blame because it was the popular drug of that era. But if you go back 20 years, the last spike in homicides can be contributed to Heron, because that was the Drug of Choice.
- At what age did you get involved in the Streets, and what was the motivating factors back then for youth being in the Game.
I started Dabbling in the streets at age 14. Like most teens – I was just out to make a fast buck and keep some clothes on my back. My condition at the time was Strife, at times, I was destitute. When it was all said, and done I was 28 when the indictment came down.
- What advice would you have for a youth thinking about “Jumping off the Porch” getting into the Game
If you are seriously “Thinking of Jumping off the Porch”. In this day and age, I would say do your research. Do your research just like you were planning to go to college or looking for a profession. I guarantee you; you wont choose the Streets! What you will discover is that the end result will land you in 2 places; in Jail or a Plot in Harmony Cemetery. But only the Lucky ones make it to Jail. The Unlucky Ones get a Plot! Picture that – Lucky to be in Jail!
- Without going to much into your Case, could you briefly describe when you were indicted, and thoughts on Case.
When I first got arrested on this Indictment, I was only on one count but the Gov’t was just using that to get me off the street. What they were doing was going out making deals, and building a case against me that they felt comfortable I couldn’t win. My Trial was never Guilt or Innocence, it was about Winning or Losing. Lady Justice Took her Blindfold off and saw that I was a young Male from the inner City. The Burden of Proof is a Travesty because the proof is often Lies.
- What is your Greatest Trial and Tribulation since being Incarcerated.
My main Gripe with being locked-up is being separated from my family and having to watch my kids grow up from a Jail Cell. It hurts and it’s a pain that lingers in your heart and never goes away. Everything else is pretty much obsolete because your so consumed with the things that matters most.
- In your Opinion, what links does Mass Incarceration have with Minorities being the Majority within the Prison Industrial Complex.
The Concept of “Prison Industry” began many years ago, Then it was up to Admin to begin “Creating Criminals” to fill the prisons. Minorities filling prisons are more the subject of Classism Than Racism. This is Big Business – Mass Incarceration serves Industrialist agendas.
- Poverty can often have major ill effects on Youth and Families living in impoverish conditions. What’s lacking in our communities that may improve the Quality of Life.
The Constraints of Poverty require our full attention. I believe we can use more “Outreach Programs” in the communities to help families as a whole. If we can get the youth involved. Before they get involved in the streets, we have a better chance at succeeding.
- In today’s music scene, it seems that some promote the Allure of Money, Streets, and A Fast Life Style, oppose to Social Commentary Messages of the Good, Bad and In between of what come with Being in the Streets. How important is it for youth to understand All of what they see On TV, Often Times aren’t Real/True.
It’s all Entertainment: Another Industry which has it’s primary interest in “Financial Aptitude”. .. Substance is only considered within the constraints of political correctness. It’s been well established that entertainers compromise integrity for ratings. Most are not Idealist. They’re Entertainers. I Tip my hat to the few that keep it Real.
- How important is Knowledge of Self and understanding and Learning your History.
It’s Imperative above all else, the Fundamental basis of identity cannot be realized without This. I try to engross myself with History as much as I can. With no concept of Who we are, where we’ve been, or where we are, Our destiny is lost as a Species. This is also part of the Problem – a lot of our youth don’t know their History. I would urge them to watch “Hidden Colors”
- What’s your thoughts on Drug Laws? And the Mass Incarceration/Overpopulation of minority Non-Violent Offenders
I can write a book about this subject. But the Bureaucracy has been out of control for a long time and now Congress is trying to do something about it. The Just-Us Department declared War on Drugs which is how Crack vs Powder disparity was created. If you believe they are shooting us in the Street, you don’t think they will frame you in the Courts!
- Concluding, What message would you like to leave with Youth in Washington DC.
Get involved with your community. Don’t be afraid to walk away from Trouble. Be a Leader. Never Settle. And Never take Life for granted, it’s the most precious thing you own and you only get One…