BY ROBERT HAMPTON Q. Alphonso, we have a lot in common, we are both from the Midwest. I moved to the Northwest from Detroit and you came from St Louis. Do you feel that you brought some of your learned behaviors from back home to the Northwest and if Yes please explain. A. Yes, its funny that you ask that question becuz I always explain to people that I'm Midwest born and Northwest raised. That's why my love is so deep for the Wa-t.u.c.c. (Washington) Talking Under Code Cuz Some of the learned behavior that I brought from back home ( East St Louis) was the Hustle, becuz back home we do anything to make a dollar ie cut grass, shovel snow, crush cans with pebbles in them to get the weight up in recycling aluminum. Q. Now I know you were a drug dealer with some ties to illegal activities. Please share. A. In the late 80's early 90's I got exposed to crack cocaine and seen how lucrative it was and how the drug really sold itself. So I immersed myself into the lifestyle and by my 18th birthday I had my first delivery of controlled substance. The crazy part about selling drugs is I still attended high school, intact I was in my senior year with 19 credits and needing only 21 to graduate, But a prison sentence came before... Q. You also watched and participated in gang life shaping in Washington State. Can you share a little of your earlier experiences? A. We moved to Washington in 1986, Stayed for 1 year on the Hilltop of Tacoma Was. Then came back in 1988. By that time all my childhood friends had been introduced to a gang lifestyle by 2 brothers that where from Los Angeles California. They called themselves the LA Boys. The Brothers had the same Father living in Washington but they grew up on different sides of the track in LA. One was a Blood and the other Crip.... So one of the older of my childhood friends gravitated to the older of the brothers who was Crip. FASTFORWARDING, My friend formed a gang HTC (Hilltop Crips) My experience is I had the best of both worlds in the gang life becuz as a child growing up on the Hill I had friends and once we settled in as a family we moved to the East of Tacoma with mostly Bloods and they were friends also. Q. At what point did you feel you were all in? A. It took years for me to get to and all in point becuz of my own Identity crisis of wanting to fit in and befriend everybody. It was not until I found myself and created my own gang or click, then I was all in. Q. Without a lot of detail could you speak on the early street divisions. A. I believe that division was fresh out the gate because of colors and greed and the need for popularity amongst our own peers. Q. Alphonso I'm going somewhere with my questions but I wanna switch gears. I wanna talk deep. I know you always speak about the fact that you killed someone you loved and I know then REMORSE in your heart for what you've done, but I also know you experimented with drugs at the time so I was wondering if we could go straight into a conversation about the drug (spice) that you were on and the effects of the drug becuz I've seen people in prison do weird things, and people have died in prison using the drug. my feeling is you could speak on that drug and save lives by just speaking to the side effects. A. Yes, like I always explained "I killed someone I loved to find out what love is and what love is not. The drug that I experienced with at the time of my senseless murder was (SPICE). I didn't know that this could have been a factor in my case until 4 yrs into my incarceration when I started reading research of what this (SYNTHETIC DRUG) does, on top of see'n the many episodes of my cellmates and others around the prison was dying. Then I said to myself that must have had something to do with me killing my significant other of 16 years. Q. At what point did God take over your life? A. I believe God took back my life the very night of the murder becuz, I wanted to commit suicide and dive off the Narrows Bridge, but God took the wheel and as soon as I crossed the Bridge I drove into a ditch, then I was able to back out to have someone help me go turn myself in for a senseless and horrible murder. Q. I know when I first met you, you did a lot of Gid talk and I didn't want to be in your presence, but eventually you became a mentor to me. Why were you going after people with the word of God? A. Becuz I wanted people to experience the freedom that I had experienced spiritually from a Divine Encounter. Even while being in a place of captivity. And I knew if he could do it for me being a CHIEF SINNER meaning "q that continues to miss the mark of manhood" he could do it for anybody including you. But as we come to find out, its all in God's timing NOT Alphonso or Roberts. To be honest everyone that awakes to righteousness has that same zeal at first to save the world. Q. Now 1 thing I know about you is: PRISON and YOUR CRIME has cost you not only the opportunity to raise your daughter, but you've lost all contact with her. Now I know one day God will bring you 2 together. Will you be ready, and do you get butterflies thinking of what you would say to her? A. I will not say nothing, but listen to the pain that I have caused and let her vent in whichever way she chooses to vent. But! The reality is, this tragic event affected my oldest Daughter just as much and my son in ways I don't even know. I just Trust God to heal their wounds as he is continuing to heal mines in their absence. Q. This is more of a statement to you. You are a good Man and I would just trust GOD'S PATH. Jesus is a WAY MAKER and just know that Q. Okay so I know from experience that I've committed Domestic Violence against women in my past and so has at least 50% or more of the prison population, but the problem I see is : A guy gets convicted of Domestic Violence, comes to prison and he receives no HELP, or COUNSELING becuz The Department Of Corrections don't wanna touch it. In fact, I've seen 2 guys come back 4 times a piece for beating up women, they serve the time and they're put right back out there to beat up more women. Its important for me to say this becuz our system is flawed. Its not designed to help us, its not designed to help women and I want you to speak to the subject becuz I take murder serious as well as you, but we see people cone and go with zero help so you have to expect Murder to eventually follow. You must speak truth to power so I need you to speak to women from your heart. A. Sister's, first I apolijize for having committed such a horrific crime against one of you, but I want you all to first find LOVE within YOURSELVES. Please know that a man cannot LOVE you whole and complete if he doesn't LOVE HIMSELF and GOD. We men are good at pitching our personality in public and hiding our flawed character in public. No man can complete you if you are not complete with yourself. Relationships are no 50/50 they are 100/100. A whole man and a women. Q. This is more of a statement than a question but the reason why I did that last question is becuz as gang members we perpetuate violence against women all the time. We have women sexed on which means "she has to have sex with the top ranking fellas, women get beat up constantly to prove they're down, some get shot and murdered, we have them strap dope on their bodies and fly it back on airplanes, if we're selling dope and the police pull us over usually the women is asked to put it in her vaginal area or butt, and when buying and transporting dope the women is usually used as the transporter. So I borough this up becuz I feel like for FILTHY RAGS OUTREACH you can still speak to these young ladies who will join gangs. I believe this is a great platform. I wanna tell any lady reading that's wants to join, at the very least you will get pimped out. I had to Sons moms involved in the life and 1 got shot and survived, and the other one is dead and I was the shooter! Q. So what made you decide that the world needed a Filthy Rags Outreach? A. I decided that the world needed an Outreach becuz you must reach people right where they're at before you try to teach or preach the Gospel of Christ to them. Besides being in my mid 40's I never see men from my walk of life on the spiritual journey inside of a church, so we must reach them outside the walks of the building. Q. What's your overall vision for FILTHY RAGS OUTREACH? A. My overall vision for Filthy Rags Outreach is to see men operate in the spiritual gifts that God has given them. Have men mentor one another generationally. Have these Outreaches in every city where there is a heavy Gang Presence so we can prevent our inner-city youth from going down the same paths that ended us in prison. Q. What's holding your vision back?
A. What I believe is holding my vision back sometimes is Me Personally becuz though I start well sometimes t struggle with finishing. Something I'm working on besides that is having men from the outside to buy into the concept of doing CHURCH different in the 21st century, and getting away from a so traditional spiritual setting since we are all Temples that house the spirit of God within us. Taking LOVE where it has not been.
Q. What kinda help could you use to make Filthy Rags Outreach successful?
A. Creating avenues that we can do documentaries and podcasting.
Q. Okay, I believe these avenues will be available but I wanna go back to a question about your earlier gang involvement. I don't want you to admit you made a mistake, I just want you to tell me what made you pull back becuz clearly you saw something that rattled you soul.
A. What made me DRAW BACK from the gang lifestyle is I realized all the false realities of the life. How it was a false sense of brotherhood and family without any sacrifice.
Q. Okay, so earlier I asked you to speak to the divisions, but now I'm from the inside looking in and Washington State has a serious problem with divisions. Unity is unheard of. When I fell I thought all the Crip rolled together but that's NOT REAL. Its (Gangs) fractured beyond repair, but this is your territory so I want you to speak to it.
A. Washington State is a melting pot and everyone has a renegade mentality, that's why there is so much division, and no unity. Everyone feels that they can make it on there own becuz everything is so open with no real consequences.
Q. What roll could we play to make things better in society? And by that when I say we I'm speaking of Filthy Rags Outreach.
A. The first role we can play is being men of conviction in not shying from our past becuz it is reliable to help others becuz our wisdom is found in our failures. Second, we can hold truth that Gang Life has its own culture which is CANCER to others cultures and needs attention no matter what era we are in becuz its not going anywhere becuz its glorified as the Rhythm of life, labeled Hip Hop.
Thank you for your honesty and I would like to conclude with a small testimonial of my own.
I recently I did an interview of Alphonso and I added my own short testimony about how God has had a stronghold on my life, but also I opened up about my crime. What I didn't get into at the time was the fact that when we commit these crimes we have VICTIMS. When I committed my crime of Murder it was in Vancouver Washington on East 18th street. It scared a whole neighborhood and people got up and moved. I had no idea then, but I VICTIMIZED a whole neighborhood. When we are out doing stupid stuff we tend to forget that somebody's Grandmother, Mother, Sisters, Kids and others are in these neighborhoods and our heinous acts scares the hell out of people. Its usually a lot of people that we don't even know of. We commit these crimes and our VICTIMS have families. So just imagine, your family member goes out and gets murdered, and now the family is stuck grieving, and on top of that you now have to plan a funeral. (Question?) So what if that family is not prepared with the proper insurances, and what if they're not financially stable? SEE! These are the things we need to start thinking about becuz we are hurting lots of people with our actions of ignorance. Just think about how you just set a family backwards with your acts of violence. NOW! Think about what kind of effect your act of violence can have on your family. I brought shame to my mom. She worked all of her life and was established in the community and then they're blasting my face all over the news. She still has to go to work, and everyone knows she's my mother. Its an embarrassment she didn't ask for, PLUS, I gotta think deeper about the fact that she has to live with the fact that she gave birth to a murderer. She is now a VICTIM. But also, I had other kids I was supporting. My kids moms now become VICTIMS becuz now they have to fend for self. I waived all my fatherly responsibilities as far as paying bills and getting kids to schools, hospital check ups, sports and buying groceries. So after awhile another man slides in to take your place, but the fact is, THEY ARE VICTIMS. And we don't think about this but OUR KIDS ARE VICTIMS. My kids played baseball and football and I was never there. I never seen my kids play sports and believe me my kids remind me all the time how I wasn't there. I just wanted to put this out there becuz its real. I spoke to Alphonso weeks ago and I told him that FILTHY RAGS OUTREACH, should offer a voice to VICTIMS OF CRIME. We can start to create a RESTORATIVE JUSTICE if we allow space for VICTIMS to tell their stories. PLEASE! WRITE FILTHY RAGS OUTREACH AND TELL YOUR STORY.