In 1996, at the age of fourteen, Perry J. landed himself in the maximum security unit for serious offenders at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.
Raised in the Caesar Chavez Street projects, Perry witnessed hustling, violence, and crime every day from the confines of his own home. It was a huge part of the environment and community he grew up in.
At the Juvenile Justice Center, Perry found salvation in writing and befriended David Inocencio, director of The Beat Within, a weekly writing group at Juvenile Hall. While at the Juvenile Justice Center, Perry was sentenced to ten years at the California Youth Authority where he continued writing and communicating with The Beat. When he was released, Perry joined with The Beat as an editor of the weekly publication and office assistant.
Once he established stability in his own life, David Inocencio invited Perry to join The Beat as a facilitator in his old haunts, the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center. Perry was soon facilitating the weekly workshops and connecting with incarcerated youth.
Perry’s willingness to listen and reflect, his hunger to learn, desire to improve his own life and his personal mission to give back to the community all make him stand out as a shining example of hope for incarcerated youth.
As David Inocencio remarks, “Perry is a priceless teacher, mentor and leader.”
Perry is living his dream—working in San Francisco as a youth advocate and giving our young people hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Perry J. was the recipient of the 2008 Jesse E. Williams III Scholarship.