Santa Clara County COVID Spedal Edition

Most Thursdays my friend and I would meet at Blue Mango, a cozy Thai restaurant just five minutes away from Santa Clara Juvenile Hall where we ran writing workshops for The Beat Within each week at 6:30 p.m. This particular Thursday evening was March 5, 2020. As we slurped up our noodles, my phone buzzed with a text. Another volunteer had decided not to facilitate due to the reported dangers of Covid. I must admit to being slightly frazzled. I respected her decision, but it gave us a problem for the evening. We would be short of facilitators and that

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NICJR partners with The Beat Within for a Special Visions of Reform Issue!

Welcome, Beat readers and writers, far and wide! This special issue comes at a truly remarkable time for our community. Amidst the global pandemic and shelter-in-place orders that have been defining the social and economic aspects of our lives, we’re also experiencing an incredible political moment, inescapable on every front. Right now, our country, states, cities, and schools deeply consider what it means to live in an anti-racist society, one that each of us feels just and equitable being a part of.  Since January 2020, we’ve been working to compile and publish the outstanding submissions we’ve received in response to

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Dear Beat Community

June 2020 The Beat goes on, even during California’s Shelter-In-Place order! The Beat Within continues to ensure that incarcerated youth & adults across the country receive this one-of-a-kind publication every other week. The Beat has responded to the COVID-19  Shelter-In-Place order, by holding space in our pages for folks to voice how this pandemic continues to impact them, their loved ones, and their world at large.  We are also providing more magazines than ever as the demand for reading material increases in every location! Our writers – young and old, alumni and supporters alike – were able to share updates,

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Ed Note 28.07/08

Greetings Here we are, late February 2023. It is very hard to believe how fast time is already flying by… Where does the time go?  One minute we’re preparing for the holidays, completing our year-end issue, and winter break, and the next minute we are embracing the early days of 2023, and now the month of February, with March around the corner.  Wow! Hard to believe this amazing double issue, 28.07/08, is completed and ready for your eyes.  Usually, you get to hear from our friend, OT, in this editorial note, who is always amazing with his stories and updates,

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Turning It Into Something

by ARJ, San Mateo The thing I am most proud of isn’t anything I did on the outs. The thing I’m most proud of is being able to take this hard time in my life and turning it into something rather than just being mad that I got caught.  I know it might sound dumb, but I am happy that I got caught because I was on a path that would have ended with me either dead or locked up for way longer than I am going to be right now.  When I first came down I was very angry

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I’m Very Proud

by Gabriel, Sonoma I’m proud of not only myself but my girlfriend. I am proud of both of us because we met about six months ago and at that time, I was not my best self. I was going through a rough time where I was homeless and not in my best mental mindset. What I mean by that is I was always a mad person – maybe mostly not mad but sad because I never had a family. I never was never told or showed by someone that they loved me.  Instead of being able to express my feeling

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Heartbreak

by Elijah, San Francisco I got my heart broken a few times. I broke my own heart by being in here. As a kid, I never thought I would be here. It is hard for me to be in here. This is one of the places that I thought I would never come to but I made the wrong choice, being with the wrong people. I am a leader but I was following somebody and that is what got me in here.  It was peer pressure and he got in my head about it. I spoke to my mom about

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Bad Habits

by Jaimi Roberts, Central California Women’s Facility I’d like to think I have the bad habit of all bad habits!!! Lack of thought control…and misplacing them with my feelings. Without a healthy strong belief system this is where everything gets hairy! Yikes! This bad habit of entertaining random or ruminating thoughts has been my ultimate set up: I’ve lost family over it, engaged in both criminal, homicidal and addictive activities. I had never given myself the chance to live presently, being all consumed with a cumulation of unresolved past baggage, a lot of it was not even my own, but

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I Love You for the First Time

by Jon D. Goldberg, San Quentin State Prison, CA The first time I told a non-family member I love you was to my first girlfriend that I thought was serious. Young love in the sixth grade. Her name was the Tina Foss. I will never forget her.  Now that I am grown I realize I didn’t know love outside my family until I met my ex-wife. It was truly love at first sight. To find love is exhilarating, life changing and awesome. When you feel compelled to say it, it comes easy.  When I first said it I was young

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Ed Note 28.05/06

Greetings friends! Welcome to our latest issue, 28.05/06, of The Beat Within.  We are thrilled to bring you our latest issue of writing and art from the inside and beyond.  This week OT, has plenty to share and with space being a premium,  let’s cut to the chase and pass the keyboard to our dear colleague. “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” -Drake Before I get into my message, I would like to let y’all know that this editorial note is dedicated to the great writers and colleagues inside San Quentin that contribute, write

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How To Cope

by Adriana, San Mateo I used to think dope was the only thing worth living for, but now I see myself getting out, going to program, and living my best life clean and sober. Becoming and staying sober has been a complete lifestyle change that I will have to continue in order to save my life. Yeah, it may have not been my choice to get clean. On the streets I would have never found the strength to do so, let alone maintain sobriety. Going down and staying down helped me reevaluate my life and rethink some of the lifestyle

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