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Boys with Guns (Music Video Version)

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**Every penny of purchased audio downloads from this video will be going to Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Youth UpRising, Planting Justice's Education Program, and the Youth Impact Hub Oakland. **

On April 8th of last year, I was robbed at gunpoint outside of my (then) home alongside Scott and our friend Marc. The three young men had us lying face down on the rain-soaked sidewalk as they took our stuff and drove off in my car. While part of me was frozen in terror, the other part was thinking, "I'm no different than those boys. Had I been born into their lives, I very well may be doing exactly what they're doing." My heart welled with sadness and compassion.

We all have choices. Some of us are dealt a shitty hand and defy all odds. But most of us stay pretty close to where we started. The circumstances of our birth have an enormous impact on what's available to us during our formative years, and onward. Socioeconomic status--which runs along racial lines--impacts the quality of education available to us, our exposure to violence, our general resources, and so many other facets of our lives that I could write this post for the next year and would still miss some. For now, I'll say:

Race and early life experience have a stronger correlation with criminal activity than any other factor except gender. Sit with that for a moment.

I'm no different than those boys. I don't know where they've been, what they've seen, or what they've been through, but I do know that I've never felt desperation that would have me risk my freedom in return for money or acceptance.

I regularly ask myself, "what can I do with the privilege I was born into?" This video--and the related fundraiser--is at least part of my answer to that question.