“Edilberto’s Story – Policing on the Inside & Out” Give a Gift To The YJC

Eddie Flores Story De La trinidad YJC Donate

“Edilberto’s Story – Policing on the Inside & Out”

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My school never asked what was going on with me when I started getting into fights. My father was incarcerated and my mom depended on me to help raise my younger brothers and sisters. But instead of counseling, I got suspended, expelled and arrested from school.

I was first detained at Eastlake Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles at the age of 16. The unit I was in was on lock-down most of the time. The only time we had outside our cell was for two hours of recreation. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in our cell. We had some packets thrown at us for school, but most of the time, we didn’t have paper or pencil to write our families. They would take the pencils away from us if we had one. We had no books to read – nothing to distract my mind. I had no one to talk to almost all day long – just a 5’ by 7’ room and a tiny little window to look out of.
 
When I was released from juvenile hall, I was far behind in school, and no longer used to studying. I needed to get into school as soon as possible. But, I was released without a connection to another school, without transcripts and without a birth certificate or California ID. Still, not being enrolled also made me look bad in front of my judge, and the judge and my Probation officer told me I had to enroll fast or I would get violated and sent to Probation camp. But my judge and Probation officer also gave me no help to find a school – not even a list of options.
 
I eventually found out about the Youth Justice Coalition from an intervention worker I met in the community. Ever since then, I have been at the YJC. I found a school that understands me, and they push me to do well, and offer a lot of help to improve my skills. In June, I graduated high school at the Youth Justice Coalition, and am now a college student at LA Trade Tech.
 
At the YJC, I have also been organizing to change things for youth inside lock-ups, in our schools and on the streets – including working over the past year to pass Assembly Bill 953 – to expose and address racial and identity profiling by law enforcement which was signed by Governor Brown, and also to pass a law to reduce the use of solitary confinement in juvenile halls and youth prisons, so other youth won’t experience what I did. (We are still working to pass that bill.)
 
The students struggling to stay in school are the same youth most often targeted and pushed out by aggressive policing and discipline in schools. They are the same students who face discrimination when they come home from being locked up – often illegally blocked from re-enroling. I know, because I was one of those students.
 
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