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Took over 8 yearz

to step

OUTSIDEthaBOX

after Prison

 

Special Thanks to Scott Budnick and all the members

@ A.R.C. (Anti-Recidivism Coalition)

· Youth Advocacy,Anti-Recidivism,Juvenile Justice

Written By Raymond D'ware Gauntt

Makin' Movez LLC

Photo courtesy of D'ware Photography

Words can't even begin to express how gratifying it was for myself to finally break the barrier and start that climb on the ladder that seems to be an endless one.

The one that has seemed so far out of reach, and usually only climbed successfully by the knowledgeable & determined.

For years since I was released from incarceration I've personally dealt with social anxiety which kept me from ever attending social gatherings and functions, leaving it very hard to network effectively.

So the last minute decision to "GO" on a Friday evening when I received an e mail, only earlier that day, from Scott Budnick, inviting me to tag along with A.R.C. at the Many Rivers To Cross Festival, (Right outside of Atlanta)was quite an overwhelming one to say the least.

Without even so much of a hesitation I responded agreeing to the invitation and that it would take me every bit of 9 hours to drive up, leaving it only plausible that I wouldn't make the festival until the later part of Saturday afternoon.

So that quick...within a matter of minutes I went from being a home body, studying and researching all day everyday never having really gotten my hands involved in Public Activities relating towards helping the Youth.

I had participated in one STOP THE VIOLENCE campaign prior a few

years back, but at the time I wasn't mentally aware that this was the

passion that was my calling, to actually Be a part of the Change.

I've grown tremendously within the last year itself so I was mixed with so many different emotions from Excited, Nervous, Paranoid, Anxious, Happy, Humbled, Frantic, etc. but I prevailed through it and was on the road within two hours.

After an all night drive, with just a single break I arrived in the general area but instead of entering the festival I decided on scouting a hotel that was close.

I would come to regret this decision

I was able to find a motel about 20 mins east of Fairburn which put me almost 40 mins to Atlanta, but by the time I had freshened up and finally made it to the area of the farm it was complete chaos. I ended up not being able to access the gate....

It didn't matter that my access had already been taken care of, that Scott had a booth in there, admittance to will call was a NO GO...

So here I was after driving 9 hours I was forced to go back to the motel before 5 pm....with nothing to do in another state....

Whatever didn't make me pack up and just head back to the island I may never know but I am glad that I didn't.

The following morning I was up bright and early not really knowing what the day was to bring. Decided on riding over to the farm at the edge of daybreak just to make sure I knew the layout and maybe even find a shortcut to bypass all the nonsense that Id likely endure trying to get back to this place.

Fairburn, Georgia was an absolutely gorgeous small country town setting, that laid on the outskirts of western Atlanta.

By the time sun was on its unstoppable journey to the west the morning began to start passing quite quickly considering I had been awake since about 4 a.m.

Scott hit me up about 10:00a.m. and asked if I would like to meet at Mary Mac's Tea Room for breakfast before they headed to the festival. "ut, ooohhh"....

An outing with people I've never met!?! Sheesh...

I couldn't say no, but I almost created an opportunity for myself to escape by trying to consider traffic and that I hadn't stayed at a hotel near the airport district but in Douglas which was about 40 mins away...

Fought with my own self the whole time, it was irrelevant that I had no choice, it is just how my brain is wired...

Some would say I'm mentally challenged, while others would say that I am "Gifted" so all that is really pointless to anything other than giving a small idea of the things I deal with when it comes to "making a decision"

Here I was on my way to Atlanta, to have breakfast with someone I have followed over the last 2 years as he has successfully made such an impact within the justice system over the last 5 years its almost unfathomable if you didn't have statistics to look up.

Not to mention the movies he was responsible for....

The man meant business and people took him serious.

Pulling up to Mary Mac's Tea Room, the infamous Tea House of Atlanta my nerves were through the roof to say the least, but I prevailed.

With sweaty palms the introduction finally happened. I had met Scott Budnick, and James Anderson, one of the many faces of who A.R.C. was and represented by.

There were way to many names and faces to keep up with or remember so I apologize for not being able to give credit where its due.

I'd followed these guys and movement for quite some time now so it was truly an Inspirational moment for myself.

Nerves weren't even a comprehension during the introductions after Scott made it overly known that I had just randomly agreed to drive up 9 hours to show support for the movement.

Needless to say the breakfast and the rest of the day was as if I had been a part of the movement since its launch.

It was great listening to Scott explain everyone's story around the whole table.

Everyone had their own painful story of Inspiration.

Overcoming such tasks, and actually being taken serious by the people they have listened has and will continue to open up so many more positive platforms for our youth and young adults for generations to come.

The festival was definitely an experience, different than anything I had ever personally endured, so it was very much overwhelming at first.

I had made it that far , and was blessed to have even been considered to be a part of any of it let alone with the group I was with.

I wont give away many details of the actual festival because I truly believe there are no words that could justify the experience.

I highly recommend attending the whole festival next year. I am sure the event will only get bigger as the years pass!!!

I look forward to what the future holds for our youth, young adults and war veterans all trying to cope and make their way back into society. We have so many things in order and in the works to become a part of this epidemic that is taking over the justice system in a positive manner.

Many Organizations across the Nation & World-wide are taking a stand and will not back down until proper Justice Reform is met and efficiently acted upon in a proper fashion.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE YOUTH!

Please go out and Help become a part of the change!

For more information pertaining to how you can assist and what bills you can support please visit http://www.antirecidivism.org/

Thank you for your support.

Written by Raymond D'ware

Makin' Movez LLC (OUTSIDEthaBOX)

Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A.

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