REPRESENT JUSTICE X JR: TEHACHAPI
Okay, so, my name is Edgar Gomez. I was 14 years old when I was tried for second-degree murder and discharging a firearm, and they gave me 40 years to life at, 15 years old. What got me into this lifestyle was... my parents, they moved over here from San Jose, California when they were when I was six years old. My father was an alcoholic. My mother all she did was work. Sometimes, at times three jobs to, you know, to be able to provide for us and take care of us. So our father was never really around. So all I had was just me and my two brothers, always alone, you know, taking care of each other.
And that’s how I got into this lifestyle of being involved in gangs and doing destructive things that obviously were in my life. And I started doing that at eight years old. That’s when I started doing that. I was hustling for myself, trying to get… steal things here and there so I could feed me and my brother. And then it went from stealing and robbing people to messing around with gangs. And ultimately it ended up involving myself in a gang, and this murder happened, and I was just there. I’m not saying I’m innocent. I’m not saying I’m an angel, but I feel that had I gotten the proper role models at the time when I was six years old, seven years old, and at eight years old, nine years old perhaps I wouldn’t have ended up this way. I’m going to be 30 years old now. I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Now that I’m older and I know what I did, obviously take responsibility for the actions that I did.
It’s been up and down. It’s been a roller coaster. I haven’t been perfect. Couple years ago you would have asked me if I had hope that I was going to get out, I would have told you “no,” because I was doing stuff that I wasn’t supposed to be doing, and I was still doing it, but that was part of the lifestyle that I had grown up with while in prison. Like I said, I came at 14 years old so all I’ve ever known is this, but obviously now I feel like I’ve been getting my life together. Right now I’m doing college. I have a job and I’m working to getting my degree.
What I want people to get from this is… even though we’re in prison, we’re still human beings. We made mistakes, yeah, but there was a reason why we made those mistakes. There’s something that led us to that. I want people to see that you can actually do change. That we actually do deserve another chance at freedom, and that you can actually feel comfortable, me coming out to society, and you can see me, and I can be your neighbor, and you don’t have to worry about me hurting you or me attempting to rob you of stealing from you, that I’ve learned over all the mistakes that I made all those years as a child.
I want my daughter. I have a daughter. I want my little girl to be proud of me. I want her to know that she… despite the mistakes that I’ve made that she can feel proud of her dad, you know. So. I want her to know that I love her.
But I also want people to see that we’re still humans, we’re not just a number, we’re not just CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) inmates or people that committed crimes, or that we’re evil, or that were people that are cold that we have no feelings. We actually do have feelings, you know, we actually care. We’ve never been given the opportunity to show that. Because all they did was give us all these years, “you’re gonna go to prison for forty years, maybe more, and that’s it, we’re done with you.” So if you’re struggling and trying to find yourself, I think the message that I can give you is that no matter how you’re growing up, no matter what bumps you have down the road, or what’s put in front of you, if you really wish to change you can do it. Now more than ever because now you actually have people that care.
You don’t have to live that lifestyle. You really don’t. Because in today’s society now you actually have a lot of people that are willing to help you, that are willing to take the time and they’re getting interested in the criminal justice system, why are we getting all these harsh sentences for, more time added to on top of the other time that we already have? When you can just give us the actual time do we have to do and serve it? Instead of giving us all these other years into it. And I want people that are still struggling with that, that are maybe not growing up with both their parents or their parents are not around, to know there’s actually hope now. There are actually people that are willing to help you and you should actually take advantage of it because if you don’t and then that’s that and this is going to be your life.
Like I said, I thank you guys for this and I just want to tell my daughter that I love her and that no matter what I’ve done she’s always gonna be my little girl.