Let Me Keep Going

2 min

YR Media’s Xochtil Larios has been in and out of Juvenile Hall. Now she’s back, but in an entirely different way and with a sense of purpose.

When I was 13, I wrote an essay looking for my purpose. I asked, “How do I identify my passions, wishes and dreams? Maybe it’s about being remembered as somebody with a purpose and not just anybody.”

This was the year I first tried weed, when I almost got kicked out of school. I had already been arrested once.

I spent the next few years in and out of Juvenile Hall. I was still looking for my purpose. I was trying to pull myself out of this lifestyle, holding down a real job as a lifeguard and swim instructor. Then, I caught another charge.

I’ll be honest with you. I’m still traumatized by this experience. So I don’t want to say what happened exactly. But it led me to being incarcerated for more than 200 days. At the start of my time in Juvenile Hall, I was grieving. But then, I decided, Hell no, that’s the old me. They’re not going to get the best of me.

Sponsored

Two other girls and I became the first young women in several years to graduate high school from inside Juvenile Hall. I completed packet after packet of study guides. It wasn’t easy. For geometry, I wasn’t allowed to have a ruler in my cell, so I used my hair for measurements.

I was an exception to the system. I never thought I’d accomplish these milestones.

I have been out now for a year. I feel extremely lucky. I’m in college. Now, I’m back in Juvenile Hall, but not as an inmate. I’m a youth commissioner. I sit in meetings with probation officers, the D.A., the public defender’s office, and judges. I insist that people working within the system treat incarcerated youth more humanely.

I tell other girls in the system: “Your life is still going. This is not a stop, not a pause.” I didn’t ever say, “Let me restart my life,” because my life was happening in Juvenile Hall.

Instead, I told myself, “Let me keep going.”

With a Perspective, I’m Xochtil Larios.

Sponsored

Xochtil Larios is 19 and goes to college in Oakland. Her Perspective was produced by Youth Radio's new network of journalists and artists, now called YR Media.

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
Log In ToPledge-Free Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.