I became a victim of Gang Violence
I SPEAK LIFE BECAUSE IT HAS TAUGHT ME MANY WORDS
Listen to 24 year old Anthony 'Vokal' Richards
Who am I? Countless times I would be found staring into the mirror asking my reflection, just who are you? then finally after years of silence I became a voice, I became Anthony Vokal Richards. I am an ambitious, generous and passionate individual. I believe in its entirety that God should be at the forefront of my thoughts, plan and actions.
I am a dub poet, chef, song writer /singer motivated by my love for capturing life in the essence of words and music. This is because as a child poetry and music were my only sources of comfort when my closest companions were loneliness and poverty. I was forced to adapt to my conditions by making my past someone's hope!. To reassure persons that I have made it despite not having a dad who cared , with a mom who worked tirelessly so I could survive. Despite my struggles I did not resort to violence even when I was caught in the middle of a cross fire. I became a victim of gang violence when I was shot in my community at age twenty one (21), having a bullet lodged inside of me for six months. Having to watch all that I invested in pass me by because I was hospitalized. I then became a beacon for my community to stop violence and promote peace as I could have been but a memory rather than leaving a legacy.
Talk up yout gave me a platform to stand, to echo my voice with my talent, to be bold and speak life, the lessons and defeats it has taught me. Even though I was born in a life where education was my only way out and even after achieving the education needed to function, Talk Up Yout allowed me to market myself in a environment where finding space was a challenge for established individuals yet alone a new comer. It gave me a new found confidence and opportunity to bring added purpose to my life.
I have a vision for Jamaica! Where a child does not have to wonder if he/ she has to sit down years before finding a job when they are qualified. A Jamaica where children who can't find or have lost their biological parents will know and feel the warmth of a country who cares for them. A country where a man will be a man and stand by his call of duty, his responsibilities as a father and his calling as a human being. A Jamaica where we cherish our past while pushing for the future. A country where address does not define you or determine what job is available to you or the tone or your skin. A country where violence will no longer make monsters of our youths, a place where we remember we all may look different but are one. We are Jamaicans first and all else come after.
I am Shinelle Surph and I am the second and last child for my mother and father ( so I thought). I was recently introduced to my sister on my father’s side almost 3 years ago and as to where my brother was concerned, it was an on and off type of relationship.
I have made a lot of self conscious decisions in all my 27 years and it has been a rocky road. I have always felt worthless regardless of what my mother drives in me. I continuously struggled with overcoming my abuse, many times I would relapse and fall into depression thinking what could have been if I had not made it happen, if it was all my fault. I have struggled with suicide for years but I can say now that my mind set is neither here or there where suicide is concerned since I have had my daughter.
My passion is volunteering and providing customer service. I love to see the smile on others when I have done something good. I am apart of various youth groups, one being ‘Youth for Change’, which has opened up a lot of doors for me. I have overcome a lot through being apart of them. ‘Police Youth Club’ is also one of these organizations that I can truly say has shone a bright light on my life and various situations happening in Jamaica; National Integrity Action teaching me how to have an open mind, speaking up and speaking out.
My youth mission is just to get more youth involved in volunteering and assist to the best of my ability in helping people with various situations and problems Jamaica has been facing.
Talk Up Yout definitely gives Jamaica’s youth a voice for it has helped many youth in Jamaica, although it might not have been highlighted. However from hearing others stories, I can say it has helped me personally. When I was down and cutting myself, on the verge of throwing in the towel, I saw Talk Up Yout' when it was just interviews by Emprezz and I cried like a baby because I could relate.
Talk Up Yout is a medium that has helped me and for that I’m thankful.
Published by : Talk Up Yout- The Voice of Jamaican Youth!
20 years old, Media & Communications Major at Northern Caribbean University.
"There is one thing I have learnt about myself - I am a warrior. No not just that, I am a survivor. No, I am a risen hero.
Growing up, I was one of the happiest children you could ever find. I had everything I needed; I had everything I wanted. The world was my playground, and I had persons willing to buy me all the toys I wanted for it. When I was 9, tragedy struck. The happy child with the bright laugh and the shiny eyes became damaged. My life was turned over by someone who was supposed to protect me, and my innocence was taken away way too early.
It took a toll on me, my shine began to rust, and I became bitter. I did not know who I was. I created imaginary people to help me get through my crisis, because I decided I could tell no one. I created people and I began to feel they were real. I talked to them and they were not there. I was going crazy. I began to turn to men for attention, losing pieces of myself that I could not get back. I was trying to find myself, but I lost it even more. I thought I was done for.
When I was 18, my grandmother died. She was one of the most important persons to me in the world, and I thought I could never have lived without her, but I did. I lived even more after her death. It did not ruin me; it fixed me. It made me realize that she died fighting for me to live, and it hit me, I have to mend the broken pieces, and just like that I did. Her memories became my fuel, and I became someone I never knew I could be. I found myself in all the chaos, and I loved the person that I found, she is pretty amazing.
I want to make a change. I want to become a legend. I want to help as much persons as I can. I want to make a difference, and bit by bit I am. I want to help the Jamaican youts' find themselves, and find their paths in this life. I am on a mission to make not only Jamaica better but the whole word, and I can because I no longer limit myself. I try to volunteer in every thing, because I care, sincerely and wholeheartedly.
I am on a mission to succeed, to shine like a diamond and kill the darkness in this world, well at least some of it. I have such big dreams that if I put them on paper they will tear the pages, and if I say them, they will deafen the ears of the small minded. I don't want to be just another person that lived. I want to be the person that helped other persons to live.
I am thankful for my scars because now nothing can bring me down. I am blessed and highly favoured, and now I am happy. God and myself got me through something that would have destroyed many others. I am a warrior. No, I am a risen hero."
"I am Naggai Powell, and I am out to make history."
Youth, ages 14 - 26, from all over the world, talking up. #TalkUpYout