Message from Albemarle prison: Take back your kids

By: Timothy Richardson - Guest columnist

I am a subscriber of the weekly Anson Record and I’m very proud of the work that you guys do to spread the news to what’s going on in the communities, whether it be good or bad. However, I am very saddened by how many young adults who’ve already committed crimes and not fully understanding what they are getting into. I was once that same young man that I am always reading about. I really didn’t think much of Anson County, when I was out there, but it’s a very beautiful environment that needs help being adjusted to a change for positivity. I have a 14-year sentence where I am constantly thinking of what can I do to help the communities of Anson County.

A little bit about me: I am a 29 year-old black male from Morven, North Carolina. Growing up, I had everything I needed, but not what I wanted. My mother drove for the Anson County Public Schools as a bus driver. I remember how she worked two jobs to support me and my brother. My mother passed away in ‘05, but the things I witnessed her go through made me bitter towards certain people, isolate myself from certain people, and search for love from a place that turned me into someone else. My mother was a single parent who did her best to raise two boys. By making excuses, I have gotten exactly what I deserve: enough time to sit down and think about my future. In 2009, I committed a robbery that led to a homicide. I fell victim to drugs and overly abused it. I was lost without hope or care, the love I had had started fading away. There are a few things I will relate to in this letter:

1) Drug addict parents

2) Domestic violence in the home

3) Hustling to support own needs and wants

4) Becoming an addict to money, females and drugs

Why am I bothering writing to you guys? I am concerned about the well-being of the youth in our communities. I know that some of the parents are unfortunate because the child’s father wasn’t a good father figure and didn’t want to make time for their children when the kids need them the most. We must show love to our kids and let them know that we’ll support them every step of the way for positivity. My father was a drug addict, but that didn’t stop him from coming to get me to spend time with him and his side of the family. My thoughts were confused as I watched my father put himself through things that he could have prevented. Some of the fathers never have the chance to know their kids because of being incarcerated. When they do come home, the children don’t care to know their fathers and are bitter, stubborn and angry at the world. “Our kids needs our attention.” We must love, trust, understand and be honest with our kids. Be a role model to your kids, so they won’t have to go to the streets to get what they’re missing at home. I’ve also witnessed the ex-gang life, which is in fact what a lot of young adults consider to be their role models. Take back your kids! Build a relationship with your child before the streets do, because the streets don’t love nobody at all.

When I was growing up, my mother was physically abused and that left me depressed, unable to focus at school, afraid to tell anyone about what was happening at home. Most people don’t know, but domestic violence can take a lot away from a child; because they can/will become abusers theirselves once they’ve reached adulthood relationships. To tell the truth, though, it’s not the child’s fault at all. Most of the time when the mother tries to get away, she somehow runs into another abusive relationship. So much anger, bitterness can be pinned up inside a child for a long time after witnessing domestic violence. That’s why it’s important to talk to your child about what you are going through or what you went through. I would like to acknowledge the parents — single, who do what they can to support their kids. See, wanting the latest fashions, shoes, clothes and having a large amount of money leads to some kids turning to hustle drugs on the street corner. I’ve been there before and was very disturbed by what I saw in myself. I didn’t have everything that I wanted growing up, but I did have what I needed to get me through to the next payday. But it was still something that I wanted and tried my hand by selling marijuana, but unfortunately I got expelled from school because I got caught. Some of us make it big in the game, but we fall short when the investigations come. I’m here to tell you that it’s more to life than selling drugs to own a “reputation name.” Please don’t harm yourself by harming others. Your family, friends need you out there in the world with them instead of in prison. Just don’t give up on life! It’s tough and hard at times, but if you stay positive, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish. I hurt my family by doing the same thing, and now with my incarceration, I want to build my relationship back with them. There is so much potential in all of you young men and women out there, so please make something of it.

Don’t listen to what these music artists are saying in their songs, because they get paid to entertain you. They talk about degrading females, selling drugs, using drugs and riding big rims on luxury cars. I used to go to clubs listening to all that music that got me hyped, and I would start a fight with anybody. That was childish and wrong. But they were my role models. It’s crazy because I never met them. That takes a major effect on us as a people. I just want you guys to wake up from that state of mind. You guys have so much life ahead of you, so enjoy it and make your family happy! Nothing that is being done is new, but it’s getting worse with the generations to come. When I read the newspaper and see all the young people with mugshots, it touches me very deeply. We must take a stand to make our communities better, but we have to throw away using excuses. Even today, as I am serving time in prison, there are so many young adults with life sentences, or 20-30 years. Really, that hurts me to the core, because there is something that can be done, but who’s willing? I made my mistakes and am responsible and held accountable for my actions. I hope to build Anson County in a positive way in the future. Tell Ms. Vancine Sturdivant that I really appreciate what she’s doing for our community.

Thank you, and peace and blessings.

Timothy M. Richardson is serving a term of 14 years, two months to 17 years, nine months in prison for committing second-degree murder in 2009, according to state records. He was convicted in 2011 and is being held at Albemarle Correctional Institution. He has not committed any infractions since fighting in February 2015 and has a projected release date of Feb. 24, 2024.

Timothy Richardson

Guest columnist