Monday, March 29, 2010

Fly… Blackbird Fly

Fly… Blackbird Fly

I have a disease that although I’ve never been diagnosed for, I know exists in the very depths of my DNA. It’s as much a part of my genetic code as the tiniest chromosomes that make me the living, breathing, walking, talking mess of a human being that I am.

And unlike most patients, I can actually pinpoint the exact moment my symptoms began to display themselves to me, since it was the first time I held my oldest daughter, Heaven, in my arms. With the births of my daughters Starr and Anesa some years later, each symptom only became stronger and more acute.

I don’t believe there is any clinical terminology for this disease… But it’s basically one that causes my softest side to reveal itself to the world every time I look in the eyes of a young girl…

I see my daughters in all of them, I immediately want to protect them, shelter them from harm, educate them about loving themselves, believing in themselves and respecting themselves…

In other words, I want to be their fathers, especially to those who don’t have one… or have a poor excuse for one.

If I had to put a name on this disease, I’d call it fatheriticus complexitus. And the definition would read: “A complex disease in which a father wants to save the daughters of the world, even if they’re not biologically his.”

Not the worst disease in the world to have, but a draining one to say the least.

And even though I’m told about twice a week that I’m an inspiration to someone, many probably don’t understand that even the inspiring have to find inspiration where they can to make it through their most difficult days.

The funny thing is you just never know where that inspiration is going to come from. And I had no way of knowing how much I’d find at the Blackbird Fly Conference in Staten Island, New York, this past weekend, organized by community activists NYOIL and Artina Sharpton.

After speaking to the girls bluntly about my own teenage history with domestic abuse, why I was a batterer, why I hurt the young girls I was supposed to love and how I feel about my behavior today as a man, I stayed to listen to NYOIL speak to the young women.

I was immediately called out when NY said, “I’m not here to play nice with you and tell you that you can be anything you want to be…”

Damn, did NY just call me out?

After all, I had just told them they could become whatever they wanted to be, if they worked harder than the person to the left and right of them…

He went on to passionately explain his position when he told the young ladies that many of them would fail in life, that many would get caught up in bad relationships with bad guys, that some would even be murdered out there running around on the streets.

NYOIL was speaking sincerely and straight from the heart when he spoke about how many of them felt like the adults owed it to them to give them whatever it was they wanted in life. As if everything should just be handed to them.

Damn, NYOIL has a bad case of fatheriticus complexitus. Perhaps an even worse case than me…

I could tell he was trying to be brutally honest with these young females who are living in a world where brutal honesty rears itself on a daily basis in their neighborhoods and I truly appreciated his frankness.

He went into a story about how he and his wife had invested so much of their personal money into buying these same teenagers sneakers for the track team, and dresses for dances, that they literally ended up in court fighting to keep their house.

He spoke about the heartbreak of putting his families financial needs second, only to see the kids quit the track team after getting their free sneakers… after being put first in a world that almost never puts them in that order.

And I thought all this time I was the only one spending rent money to help someone seemingly more in need than myself.

His message was an inspirational bullet that stuck me so hard in the head I almost allowed the tears to roll down my face. He talked to them about the fact that they were stealing the next person’s opportunity every time they took advantage of someone’s sincere love and kindness… and I thought everything about the event was genius and timely.

If even one rapper on Jay Z’s, Eminem’s or 50 Cent’s level understood the truest definition of real… I believe they’d all have a case of fatheriticus complexitus. I understand Jay Z doesn’t have children, but what excuse do the other two have?

NYOIL defined “REAL” for those young ladies in attendance in a way that very few men ever will. And I pray that his message was heard in that room because it was certainly one of the most powerful I’d ever heard. It gave me the energy to continue my own mission to alter the mind states of these young adults in need of our help. It gave me a belief that there are people out here who still care. And it came a time when I was contemplating the eradication of “youth advocate” from my resume.

NY and Artina Sharpton managed a grassroots effort to bring in speakers, artists and professionals over several days to show these girls that there are people who still care.

My good friend Lynx Garcia ran a workshop with another good friend Patricia “Lady Picasso” Perez who came from Chicago. The workshop titled, “Be Your Vision,” was a hit in helping the girls discover who they want to be and how to get there.

On Sunday, the girls dressed in the most beautiful dresses and became real life princesses and queens for a night – complete with crowns – as they attended a beautiful gala dinner to introduce them to their inner royalty.

I truly respect what was done in Staten Island this past weekend and I ask you all to use this as an example of what a few concerned residents of a community can do to make this world a better place for our future mothers.

There is a saying by Friedrich Nietzsche that states, “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”

If we don’t teach our young how to fly right into their dreams… how are they ever going to make it?

Fly… Blackbird Fly!

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Someone Please Tell God to Punch Back In

Someone Please Tell God to Punch Back In

Does anyone, and I do mean anyone, have an open line of communication with God these days?

Is it possible that a priest or a nun, perhaps an elderly bible toting church going woman or someone who’s just been saved recently have a direct line of communication to the Lord?

And I don’t want to speak to any middlemen – no apostles – I’m looking to speak directly to the supernatural man himself, the one who’s supposed to be looking down over us and making sure we don’t get “too” far out of hand…

Um, hello… God… we’re way the hell out of hand down here!

Ladies, it’s true… God has to be a man… I can’t possibly imagine a female God allowing life to become so damn unnaturally screwed
up down here on Earth… I mean come on… am I lying? Things are really, really out of hand.

If there is anyone out there that has the supernatural ability or maybe the 1-800 number, please call G
od immediately and pass this message on to him for me… Tell him Ivan Sanchez said it’s time to get back to work. His lunch break, coffee break, naptime or whatever it is he’s been doing since 30 AD should be over by now…

Tell him I said we need him to come down from the Heaven’s and straighten a few things out for us.

What an understatement huh?

If he gives you any trouble, if he says anything like, “The nerve of that Ivan Sanchez…
” or “Who the hell does he think he is…” Tell him I’m just as pissed at him as he is at me.

Tell him I’m still very upset about all the Wo
rld Wars…

Tell him I’m tired that soldiers are still dying in wars all over the world.

Tell him I’m upset he never answered my prayers for world peace – I spent 10 years in Catholic School, that’s a lot of unanswered prayers… A lot of Hail Mary’s, a lot of Our Father

You better believe I’m upset.

Tell him I still don’t understand the Holocaust. Why were 12 million innocent men, women and children persecuted and gassed, tortured, shot to death and just plain slaughtered like cattle?

Couldn’t you have thrown a lightning bolt directly at Hitler’s ass
without leaving the comfort of Heaven’s kitchen?

Don’t you read the newspapers or watch the evening news? We’re getting massacred down here…

Speaking of mass genocide, couldn’t you have thrown l
ighting bolts at Mao Ze-Dong and put a stop to the Chinese Revolution which killed upwards of 30 million? What about Stalin and the 17 million

Russians who died of hunger and war? Or Hideki Tojo, who had 5 million civilians slaughtered during WWII.

They can’t possibly go to hell… So please tell me you welcome them all in to Heaven…

What about all this modern day genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur?

What about the 20 million AIDS deaths in Africa… and those all over the world for that matter?

Or let’s talk about the 1 billion people who go to sleep hungry every night… and the 16,000 children who die of hunger-related causes every day. That’s one child every five seconds Lord… One Innocent child dying every five seconds…

Are you simply too busy to address any of these horrific acts against humanity… huh God?

You have to talk to me here… I have all these people saying, “God bless…” But I’m not interested in being blessed while the rest of humanity is suffering.

So tell me… Is it

Is that when you’re going to come back down here and straighten out this mess we’ve made?

If you’re waiting on an invitation Lord… here it is…. “Dear God… Please send help now!!!”

And don’t forget to bring Jesus, Jehovah, Buddha, and Allah with you. I have a funny feeling it’s going to take a team to turn this thing around.

To all those who read this blog and believe I’m headed straight to hell… Please don’t pray for me, don’t worry about me… Pray for all those who see hell right here on earth.

I’ve already se
en the fiery pits of hell in the eyes of children… and in the eyes of the elderly… a pain that can’t be duplicated no matter how hot the molt and lava are… I’ll either adjust to the heat or I’ll find a way to put the fire out… I’ll be OK.

Just do me this one little favor and tell God to punch back in and get back to work already…
I don’t know about any of you… But I’ve seen enough to lose my faith in the unseen.

The only faith I have left is in humanity. I know we’re still capable of beautiful things when we come together as one.

The only question is… Will we ever come together as one?

Ivan Sanchez is the author of
Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Singing the NYPD Blues

Singing the NYPD Blues

I’ll tell you one thing… The New York City Police Department is as good at breaking the law as they are at breaking records.

Last year for example they broke the record for the most stop and frisk encounters with the public ever recorded, stopping a staggering 575,000 citizens.

You can use your imagination in regards to how many of those stopped were actually blacks and Latinos who simply happened to “Fit the profile.”

It’s something I’m unfortunately all too familiar with.

Several weeks ago I picked up my good friend Luis Antonio Ramos from the set of Derek Velez Partridge’s upcoming film, The Miracle of Spanish Harlem, only to discover there were no miracles in Harlem when the boys in blue set their sights on you.

Several blocks away from the film set I was pulled over by an unmarked police car.

I know my rights. I’ve watched a lot of movies… so in my best Huey Newton, Black Panther voice I asked, “Officer, can you tell me what I did wrong… I’d like to know why I’m being stopped.”

The reply came back, “I’ll tell you in a minute when you give me you
r license and registration.”

e later explained to me that not only did my vehicle match the description, but that I personally matched the description of a hit and run driver.

The only problem with his story was the fact that he couldn’t have possibly seen
what I looked like at night with the heavy rain falling, the windows fogged up and my skull cap pulled down over my eyebrows.

He might as well have said, “I’m stopping you because you’re a SPIC with Virginia plates in Harlem…”

And after taking his time to enter my information into his database he came back and handed me my paperwork without ever uttering one word… Not an, “I apologize for the mix-up…” Not a, “Thanks for your cooperation…” and definitely not a, “Have a good night sir…”

I drove off joking with Luis saying, “I always match the damn description!”

But deep inside I wasn’t laughing because I knew I was just the victim of an illegal stop and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

Apparently I’m in very good company though because according to the New York Times “Big Brother in Blue” article, “From 2004 through 2009, according to Police Department statistics, an astounding 2,798,461 stops were made. In 2,467,150 of those encounters — 88.2 percent — the people were completely innocent of any wrongdoing.”

That means almost 90% of the people being stopped and harassed by the NYPD are completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

Within the same week of my stop, my co-host on Rebel Radio (Urban Latino Radio), Steve “Trig One” Cancino was stopped in Brooklyn after our radio show.

Trig was made to exit his vehicle along with politically conscious rapper North of the Hip Hop group Division X.

They were forced to place their hands on the hood of a freezing vehicle in the dead of winter
while they were searched for weapons. And they were also made to stand outside while the entire vehicle was searched illegally.

When Trig asked the two detectives, also in an unmarked car, for their badge numbers, they both proceeded to turn their badges around and ignore the request.

Just another example of how professional these rogue officers are and how blatantly disrespectful they are when they themselves break the law on a daily basis.

Later that week I watched officers from the 41st Precinct in the South Bronx, pull up to the corner bodega and rip the pockets right off the pants of a young black teenager – who as you might’ve already guessed – probably fit the description of being black in the South Bronx.

When the officers didn’t find what they were looking for… they jumped back in their black Impala and drove off as if they were never there.

I wonder if those types of stops are documented in the NYPD database.

The only satisfaction I received out of all of this was a week later, when one honorable and brave officer finally broke the blue wall of silence and spoke to ABC news about the fact that the 41st Precinct is getting orders from One Police Plaza to write more summonses and make more arrests. (Video here)

Officer Adil Polanco is quoted in the video as saying, “Our primary job is not to assist anybody. Our primary job is to get those numbers and come back with them.”

Ah, now it’s all starting to make sense. But I thought the NYPD has always gone on record as
saying there are no quotas???

Later in the video a secretly recorded audio tape is played in which an NYPD supervisor at roll call clearly states, “If you think 1 and 20 is breaking your balls, guess what you are going to be doing? You’re going to be doing a lot more, a lot more than what you think.”

He’s referring to the 1 arrest and 20 summonses all officers are expected to comply with.

And in yet another audio recording a different supervisor states, “Next week you could be 25 and 1, you could be 35 and 1. And guess what? Until you decide to quit this job and become a Pizza Hut delivery man, this is what you’re going to be doing until then… Do we understand each other?”

Yes, we’ve f
inally caught these bastards red-handed on tape… Justice is coming their way… Or is it?

Like with anything the NYPD does in New York City, the story was dead and buried before it became a story.

As for the only honorable police officer at the 41st Precinct, Office Polanco was suspended shortly after blowing the whistle on charges that he pushed his supervisor.

Something tells me he’ll be delivering my pizza the next time I place an order at Pizza Hut.

If you ask me he probably would’ve felt more satisfied had he at least punched his supervisor dead in the face.

The moral of the story is they’re really proving that they’re not here to serve and protect… So their new motto really should read… “The NYPD… Here to harass and disrespect!”

In the NYPD it simply doesn’t pay to be honest – that’s why they got me singing these NYPD Blues…

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.

Monday, March 8, 2010

When I grow up… I want to join a gang

When I grow up…

I want to join a gang

This is a public service announcement to all millionaire gang members – “Stop brainwashing our youth you ignorant bastards!”

This goes out to Baby from Cash Money Records with your big red star tattoo on your head, talking about, “keeping it blood all day,” while your son (Lil Wayne) is locked up on Rikers Island for gun charges.

You better hope no REAL Bloods decide to pull Lil Weezy’s card on the island for flying a false flag… Better yet, you better hope no Crips decide to take his little 105 pound frame for a test drive for claiming Bloods.

Baby… How does it feel to join a gang in your 30’s? I thought that was something we did in our preteens to find acceptance, protection, camaraderie, family, etc.?

Yet you’ve joined after becoming a successful business man…

You mean to tell me with your tens of millions of dollars in houses, cash, cars and jewelry you haven’t found the acceptance you were looking for?

Because you damn sure weren’t a Blood three or four years ago. And neither was Weezy when he was flying a Crip flag in his early music videos… Did he just get tired of the color blue and decide he liked red more?

And by the way, how much did you guys have to pay for your initiation or affiliation into the Bloods? Because something tells me you weren’t jumped in or sexed in… at least I’m hoping not the latter.

This letter also goes out to the Dipset, specifically Jim Jones and Juelz Santana for introducing the Bloods to Harlem in much the same way Nicky Barnes introduced heroin to the community in the 60’s and 70’s.

Your lies and deception are killing our youth on a daily basis you ignorant bastards!

Honestly, please explain to me how you live with yourselves each day knowing your glorification of a violent lifestyle kills

teens every single day?

Teens that look up to your level of success only to find you wearing “white face” and modern day woolly wigs, gloves and tailcoats… dancing for your masters at the record labels.

You keep dancing for the destruction of Black and Latino youths you silly bastards. Just keep shucking and jiving all the way to the nearest bank.

And I’ll keep going to the community centers to try to grief counsel the teens actually experiencing the pain of living this gang lifestyle.

I’ll keep jumping out of my truck in the South Bronx, breaking up violent fistfights like the one I saw this afternoon. A fight in which six girls were beating one girls head into the concrete pavement until blood began gushing from her head.

It took a bus driver, myself and two other grown men two minutes to stop the attack. And it’s scenes like these playing out in cities across the US that make my blood boil at the glorification of gangs and street violence.

We made it so cool to behave like this… until we’re staring at all that blood… listening to all that screaming… then it’s not so cool anymore.

Honestly, the least any of you can do since you profit off the death of your own is send flowers to the funeral homes… and while you’re at it send a card that reads… “I’m sorry I killed you kid… but I got a nice new Bentley out of it…’

Correct me if I’m wrong… but I’m a firm believer that if you actually lived through the street wars of the 80’s and 90’s you’d have a certain respect for the realities inflicted upon our communities due to this type of lifestyle.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t a lot of the real gangsters who did fifteen to twenty years and are now coming home, now trying to help the youth avoid those pitfalls, not live up to them.

I don’t respect anyone who glorifies the gang life as if it’s a badge of honor that should be represented to the fullest…

I don’t believe any of you have ever sincerely stood over the coffin of a teenager lost well before his time. And if you did stand over the coffin, you might as well have spit on the cold body with the behavior you’re all exemplifying these days and passing off as real.

Because that’s exactly what you’re all doing… spitting on the graves of all those killed in gang violence due to their circumstance.

And the only thing real about it… is how really damn pathetic it is that anyone who considers themselves a real man would pass this off as the right way to live your life.

The sad thing is you all do it with big smiles on your faces and even bigger chains dangling around your necks.

Funny that this new form of slavery comes in diamond and platinum… although much more appealing to the eye, they are still chains of slavery… this time mental slavery!

Tell me fellas (millionaire gangbangers) when will enough be enough with this type of sick ignorance. An ignorance that has us killing ourselves in a never-ending cycle, all in the name of financial success for a very select few?

The fact that Dipset, Cash Money and so many others have so heavily pushed gangs into our streets, schools and homes is one of the greatest mocharys of Hip Hop’s storied history.

It’s nothing less than a crime against humanity… and a crime against ones own race.

And I personally – yet again – am at a loss as to why it hasn’t been addressed by the elders of Hip Hop and those respected in our communities.

Of course Bill Cosby has tried by presenting The Cosnarati: State of Emergency featuring Supa Nova Slom, Jace the Great and Brother Hahz. But it cost him a war of words with Russell Simmons and many others.

Underground rap phenomenon NY OIL has made some of the most controversial records of our time dealing with the death of our community at the hands of these rappers. Most notably “Ya’ll Should All Get Lynched…

Of course, the song and video is too truthful to ever get mainstream attention… the truth hurts way too much.

This open letter is addressed to all those men over 21 who have now grown up and decided to join gangs.

I don’t respect you… you’re all clowns to me… thank you for making this world a circus of death.

They’re not laughing with us… they’re laughing at us!

***Special thanks to my brother Trig One for bringing this ridiculous phenomenon of grown men and some of Hip Hop’s elite joining gangs well after they should’ve actually grown up.***

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My mom doesn’t care if I walk like this…

My mom doesn’t care if I walk like this…

Growing up in the Bronx meant you had to have a mean walk, the meaner the walk, the least likely you were to be set upon as a target.

And keeping that bull’s-eye off your back meant the avoidance of becoming labeled a statistic, a victim, a casualty of some other young tough whose walk was meaner than yours.

These were the unwritten rules of the streets. Rules learned more though observation than conversation.

And no one in my life had a meaner walk than my cousin Herman. His ditty bop was so hard that he must’ve appeared to have one leg shorter than the other to the casual outside onlooker.

I remember the first time I decided to adopt my older cousin’s mean walk. I spent the entire weekend sleeping over his house, practicing in his shadow.

If he noticed me, he didn’t say anything. As I walked directly behind him attempting to get the dip of my leg coordinated with my shoulder. I was trying to figure out the proper height of the bop with the sway of my body and get them all in a synchronized dance of toughness.

Damn, this walk was much tougher than it looked.

I was about nine-years-old and it was time to unveil my walk to the world.

My siblings and I were walking up the Grand Concourse with our mother on the way to school. I’d been doing my ditty bop for about two blocks when my mother finally noticed my new tough guy walk.


I felt the crash of her hand against the back of my head and coupled with my off balance walk – I think I was on the down strut of my bop – the force sent me flying into the concrete sidewalk…

I’m not raising no titere here… so you better straighten up that walk mister.”

It was my mom taking a stand against me turning into everything wrong our community was becoming.

Of course this was before the anti beat-your-kids-ass laws went into affect. It was still a time when parents could be parents and lay a respectable smack down on their children for misbehaving, disrespecting and just plain getting out-of-line.

In today’s society many children keep ACS (Administration for Children’s Services) on speed dial on their iPhones – just incase mom and dad even think about disciplining them.

Over the last few years I’ve had a lot of back and forth dialogue with people about the fact that it’s the parent’s responsibility to raise their children.

But the question still remains, “What happens when the parents are children themselves?”

Or better yet, “What happens when the parents don’t care to be parents?”

Or when the parents believe that raising overly aggressive kids who are quick to fight and curse is the right way to go, for the sake of their children’s survival on these same mean streets Piri Thomas wrote about over 40 years ago?

Never have I personally had to analyze so closely these questions. Not until last week when I received a call from a school in the South Bronx in need of assistance.

And what shook me to the core of my foundation was that it wasn’t a High School and it wasn’t even a Middle School…

I won’t name the school here because they’ve taken a bold, drastic and just plain desperate step in contacting me to come in and assist them with the problems they’re experiencing with their children.

And when I say children I’m speaking about first and second graders.

Yes, you heard me right… 1st and 2nd Graders!!!

When I sat down to meet with the Principal she shared with me that they’ve reached out to many organizations and many politicians to no avail.

I was most disappointed to hear that a letter to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. went completely ignored.

Ruben, you have to do better than that brother. You simply can’t ignore a schools cry for help, especially when you’re the President of said Borough!

I sat there listening to stories of how the children fight with each other, the things they say to each other, the things their parents say to them, what parents say to each other and on and on.

It scarred my heart that children this young were already cursing and talking about drugs, violence and sex. And it took me back to being in a sneaker store a few months earlier when I heard a mother say to the most gorgeous little girl, “If you keep walking away from me, I’m gonna beat your stupid ignorant ass so bad when I get you home…”

Did she just call that little doll STUPID and IGNORANT???

I shook my head and gave the mother the meanest look I could muster up, meaner than my Cousin Herman’s walk. But I still felt like I failed the little girl when I failed to tell her mother verbally that the way she’d spoken to her daughter was beyond disgusting.

While I was sitting in the Principal’s office – this time an invited guest - it became apparent to me that what the youth in a lot of these communities are missing are mentors to replace the parents they don’t have.

What they’re missing is a professional adult in their life who will be honest with them about the difficulties of life, while at the same time mentoring them about all the possibilities that await them if they can survive the dire circumstance they were born into.

So I’m asking all of my readers to reach down deep inside and come up with alternative solutions for these children whose lives are just beginning and who are already destined to fail due to their upbringing.

This is exactly what I’ve been talking about when I say if the parents fail their children in the homes… it’s up to the community at large to pick up that responsibility and save these children from a lifetime of failure.

And now it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is and be the community leader I’ve set out to be.

Now it’s time for all of us to find a viable, measurable solution for combating the brainwashing their parents are doing to them.

I don’t want any of these kids saying, “My mom doesn’t care if I walk this way… if I talk this way…”

But even if they do say this, I want them to follow up that sentence with, “But my mentor does care if I walk this way… talk this way…”

I want to smack these kids with a dose of love the likes of which they’ve never seen.

I’m about to adopt this school for the next few years… But I can’t do it alone… So I need to know who’s with me.

Mentors needed immediately!

If you’re interested in helping me with your ideas, your talent, your skill set or your mentorship abilities, please contact me immediately at

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.