Every day somebody gets arrested and is judged on what crime they committed and not who they are.
Everyday somebody gets arrested and is judged on what crime they committed and not who they are. Unheard stories and silent cries behind those inmate ID numbers we’re given. A menace and a danger to the community is what they label us by. But not one person takes the time to actually get to know us. But when somebody who’s in prison decides to voice their knowledge and show that they are more than just a number, that’s when people are eager to ask, Who are you? Me? My name is Jakeith Anderson and I’m from the Southside of Chicago and I will be glad to tell, who I am!
Before my incarceration I attended Sara E Goode STEM Academy. I played varsity football all four years and started at corner back. I worked at Blaze Pizza from the age of sixteen all the way until two months before my arrest. Also I ran track my junior and sophomore year of high school. I took summer Geometry class to push me ahead and to help me stay out of trouble. While in high school I was [page 2] somebody everybody knew but not for the wrong reason. I was never on honor roll and I didn’t have perfect attendance. But I still had reams of being somebody who was able to finish what they started. After I graduated I was going to attend The University of Iowa in ???, and major in psychology. I used to love writing and playing football, but as time went on the love I had for certain things faded. I wasn’t always on track though. I had a few bumps in my road a few times, but nothing that led to serious charges like now. I had friends that were in the streets and of course I wanted to see what that side was like. But before I got too deep my older brother Stormy told me, “I have a chance to be different and play football, don’t waste it.” That same night he signed me up from football camps that summer. I did nothing but go to work and focus on my craft.
I’ve always dreamed big as I coming up. I wanted my first trip out of the [page 3] county to be to Dubai. Also I wanted to be a part of a cause to cure cancer. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer and my aunt passed away because of cancer. By me being incarcerated that didn’t stop me from being productive. Before I got arrested my school allowed me to finish early as long as I got my last two credits at a school called pathways. But I couldn’t finish because I was locked up before I got one of those last two credits. While I was fighting my case I was stressed out. Just got locked up a week before my birthday, bond denied, missed prom. So I said to myself “forget it” and acted out of character. I was constantly fighting and I caught a jail house case. Sitting in segregation didn’t really hit me until I got a paper one day saying I was being charged with another case on top of the drama I was fighting. Right then I knew something has to change. After that opportunities came to me back [page 4] to back. I had gotten a food handlers certificate and my high school diploma. Of course I’ve gotten side tracked after that, cause when there’s too much free time it enough time for some bs to happen. But it’s only temporarily. I also got a drug education certificate right before covid hit and shut everything down. Now I’m a MSU worker, and working my way to become a peer educator.
I used to love writing and playing football. But as time went on the love I had for a lot of things faded when my brother Stormy died. I never told anyone but I use to mix drugs and et high and hope I wouldn’t wake up. But then a thought came to me one day I was high on drugs and it was “you still have a younger brother who looks up to you and needs you. You have a mother and a father that cannot take seeing their oldest son in a casket. So how do you think they would take your death? Stop being selfish.” After [page 5] that I tried to keep the momentum going by staying focused. It was hard for me because I was battling back and forth with myself. So even as those things I still planned on going away to college. I was a part time athlete and part time heartless thug, but I just never picked a side. Broken Together has helped me to understand certain things from a broken perspective. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% put together because I still battle with my worst enemy/best friend, myself. But as time goes by I notice my response to situations are different and my plan for the future. I plan on going back to school for my associates just to have a higher education under my belt. I have three brothers and two sisters. My younger brother looks up to me and listens to my advice because he knows I want him to succeed. He’s never been to prison and is working towards becoming a building engineer. My other brother is deceased. My other older [page 6] brother is certified as a CDL truck driver and has his own trucking company named after our brother who passed. My youngest sister is only three and is smart and beautiful. My older sister works at a hospital. My father is a plant engineer at a university. My mother is self employed with a successful business that is expanding. I didn’t have the best life but I’m grateful. But as a human we all make mistakes and what only matters is how we recover from those mistakes.
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