Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Today is a wonderful day. I started it with family early this morning. Watching my nephew and nieces open their gifts was a reminder of the joy I felt when I was a child opening my gifts. I can remember the excitement.
So many children and families will not feel that way this Christmas. Let us think of them and how important it is to give in this holiday season. I am not talking about monetary or physical gifts. I am referring to the kind of gifts that impress upon someone else’s heart. The gift of love and compassion are great gifts this holiday season and beyond.
First though, I want to thank Jason Robinson again for his interview. What courage. What resolve and resilience to be able to tell his story. He is to be commended. Thank you Jason and Happy Holidays.
Our family is remembering my mother – Jacqueline Kellibrew, brother - Anthony Cephas, grandfathers – Jack Mitchell and George Short, stepfather - Michael Ray, cousin - Jason Ford (cousin who died on the battle field at 21), Aunt Bernice, Margaret and a host of others. My heart goes out to Jason Robinson’s family for the loss of his sister.
These days are tough. They are even tougher ahead of us, but we are given the awesome power of strength. That strength is truly in the struggle of survival. What would life be like without struggle? We would not appreciate our successes. Success is more enjoyable when you have earned it. The struggle offers memories.
Today, I am definitely struggling with our losses. It’s hard. It’s tough. My heart aches, but I know that there is a better day. I know that if I hold on to my faith and belief in the goodness that lies before me, every single moment of every single day will be an easier step for me.
Two days ago I saw this man reach into a garbage can and pull out a cup. He looked in the cup and saw that there wasn’t anything in it, so he threw it back. He was moving rather briskly, but I was able to get out of the car and yell for him to come back. I realized he was probably hungry and at the least thirsty. It bothered me.
I asked him did he want something to eat, he was very much obliged. I took him into the carry out at 14th and P Streets NW and told him to get whatever he wanted. He ordered a burger, fries and a soda. It was quite an awkward moment for both of us, but we were in this together.
I decided to take the first leap and ask him how difficult it was for him on the streets and were the streets his permament home? He said that he was just out of federal prison for serving a life-sentence of thirty years. I asked him was he going to check into a shelter or something like that.
He told me that he did not trust those places and that he was better off on the street. He said that 14th Street offered him a better variety of food and clothes in the trash cans rather than Southeast D.C. He said that everything he had on was from the trash cans, even the DC cap he had on his head that looked like he just bought it from an athletic store or shop. He felt safer. He was amazed at how much 14th Street had changed since being in prison. Our conversation continued.
I asked him what he thought about violent criminals being on a registry. He had been in prison for murder and to my amazement, he said that violent criminals definitely need to be on a registry because violent criminals could loose control at anytime. Well, he thought that their safety was an issue in the community. I guess he was talking about himself. He was talking from experience, I thought.
I gave him my number and twenty dollars and told him to call me if anything happened to him. Now, I know giving your number out can be dangerous, but my intention is to be a resource for him – a hotline. If he calls me I will be able to direct him to more appropriate resources. I would not suggest meeting him in a particular place or anything of the sort. That is dangerous. I am hoping he calls actually. I want to direct him to some special places.
Victims are directly impacted by their offenders, but offenders often times are the victim. I know that we separate them in our society, but sometimes there is a fine line between them both. I could be victim, which I am, and could be so disrupted mentally that I might commit a crime against another person. I then become the offender. This supports my position that we need to rehabilitate and educate offenders and victims. We must work to get everyone on the same page in our society where we all care about each other and safety of one another. Yeah, it seems like a remarkable and unattainable task, but who ever said we could not work toward it.
That’s the goodness I am talking about. We must think in the affirmative and be very positive about the change that we can influence. Let’s work together this holiday season to not only remember our loved ones, but prevent the tragic loss of those who are around us.
The website of my foundation, the William Kellibrew Foundation will be up soon. I am eager to help provide direct services to victims and offenders. My compassion leads me to help both. My heart and soul leads me to help both.
You see, I have a thirty year old brother, DaVone Kellibrew, who is serving 97 years in prison – convicted of 18 felony counts. He was convicted of all but, murder. The offense so heinous that it had me questioning his sanity. I know how he grew up. We grew up in the house with him, I know him. I know his circumstances and they were difficult. It was simply hard for him to break the cycle of violence. He did not understand how he was affected and he acted out. Now, I was not there during his crimes. I only know that he was convicted of them. I also know that he is appealing his sentence. I stand beside him. But my heart goes out to the young lady and her family for such a heinous crime against her. No one should ever have to suffer such a tragedy. We must work to prevent this from happening and we must also work with the victims to cope.
Victims often become Offenders.
Til next time…