My name is John Wright*. I was born in Miami, Florida. In 1961, in the month of February, my mother and father and I grew up in a town called Colored Town, better known as Overtown. While growing up in Overtown, my parents separated. I never had any contact with my father until I was a teenager. So, I was in the street trying to hustle as a little boy to help my mother. My mother had 10 kids to provide for at this time. I was the youngest of ten siblings. I started standing on the corners being a watch-out man for the drug dealers, and I started to climb the ladder, and I started selling crack cocaine. I never had a regular job. I hustled all my life. Getting busted one day. In addition, I ended up going to prison leaving my family behind. Every time I went to jail and every time I was released from jail, I asked the Lord to get me out of this lifestyle and “I promise I will serve you”. I was brought up in the church but I chose a pathway that I thought I needed to do to help support my mother and my siblings. My mother used to tell me, “John stop playing with the Lord. Every time you go to jail you become so religious and when you get out you don’t know the Lord, and you go back to the street to the lifestyle that is not pleasing to the Lord. You forget all about him”. I knew I had a gift, but I was running. I knew I could sing, but I was being rebellious. But, when I caught some time with the feds and received 20 years I cried out to the Lord and God truly was there with me blessing me in so many ways. I started to sing in the choir at the prison and I’m not ashamed no more. I know where He brought me from. I have seen death, but I know the plans God has for me. I lost everything – I had my mother, father, three sisters, one brother, all my uncles, aunties, and grandparents. I am currently homeless, but I know God will supply my needs everything is in his hands and I am ok with that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
John Wright is now a client here at Riverside House. Through our programs, we guide men and women convicted of crime into becoming productive citizens through a nondenominational, faith-based approach. If you are in need of support, please call 305-326-9799.
*Name changed to protect his identity