(Editorial note: Growing up in Chicago’s south side, Sakhee Hardy-Johnson endured poverty and was surrounded by gangs. This unfortunately resulted in him joining gang himself. Currently serving a 60 year sentence for murder, Mr. Hardy-Johnson is now a top advocate against gang violence in the Black community. He regularly publishes writings and gives speeches educating young Black men against falling into the traps of the streets. Mr. Hardy Johnson earned his GED in prison and is also a student of Islamic knowledge with the Tayba Foundation.)
Malcolm x influenced me a lot especially through his speeches and teachings. I like how he was in the streets as Detroit red & went to prison and became a Muslim. I like how he changed his whole life around. He also utilized his time in prison and educated himself to the fullest capacity. When I became a Muslim it opened my eyes to something more than the streets. It gave me something to stand for, cherish, and value. Islam brought me out of a very dark place and casted a bright light upon me. It showed me a better way of living. It showed me the truth. I now have a totally different perspective on life and how ones should live their life accordingly. It also helped me humble myself & become a much better me.
Since becoming a Muslim, I realize I stand for something greater. Something worth living & dying for. My belief as a Muslim means everything to me. I now want to be great and I now see things clearly. Before I became Muslim I was oblivious to a lot of the things going on around me. I now see I have the potential to be great and reach those heights that I am destined to reach. I also found peace within myself a type of peace I never thought I could reach.
To those of who are still in the streets and involved in gang activity, I want to tell you its not worth it at all. You stand for more. Become something. Work towards greatness. If I can encourage one person to do something better I would feel 100% better knowing I helped change someone’s life. Its more to life than the streets of Chicago or the streets period. There are 7 different continents out there go out & explore new things broaden your horizon. The street life is not worth your precious life as being a black men in America we should not be at odds with each other. We should not be fighting each other. This system of white supremacy is our real opp. We should unite and inspire each other to be great in life instead of falling for the trap the government set for us young black men. Dont fall for the willie lynch syndrome. I hope my words & actions can really inspire you to take a different route in life & become the men we need to be for our families peace & blessings.