Surprisingly, the guys got really into it and almost every one of them took it seriously. I missed some of it, but I was able to re-join it for the debrief session afterward. The guys were able to talk about why they crossed the line for some reasons, and some of the explanations they gave were disturbing. A sampling of what I learned about some of the young men here:
- One has a 7 year old sister in therapy after trying to commit suicide, and he thinks it's his fault
- One had a best friend take a bullet aimed for him
- One was supposed to go to somewhere with three of his friends but didn't; the three were killed in a drive-by and a fourth bullet was shot in the air, presumably for him
- One was raped by a woman at age 7 and a man at age 10
There wasn't a dry eye in the house by the time the activity finished, and it was really impressive the way some of these guys opened up to a room full of 100+ people, mostly strangers. As one young black man summed it up after saying he felt closer to everyone in the room, "Tonight was hella dope, I feel like I can go eat breakfast with my Hispanic brothers now!"