While Sonny was on our side of the walls for a few years, he decided to bring his story to young, at risk, juveniles. It was his hope to convince them that a life of crime and trouble was not the way to be living , that they could turn things around and make something of themselves.
The following are some letters that he received from some of those young people. Hopefully many, if not all, heeded his advice and stayed true to their resolve to change their ways.
Being scanned into the computer, some of the letters are hard to read, so I have typed up a copy of each one, exactly as it was written by each child and placed it after the handwritten one.
Dear Sonny –
Just wanted to thank you for coming to speak to our school on the struggle of your life. I was deeply moved.
The main point I took away from your talk is never to give up, even though at times you feel there is nothing to live for. In my own life as an adult I am working towards a goal that to others may seem unattainable. I’m 30 years old and trying to make it as a punter in the NFL. I’ve been battling the odds since I started at this last January. I plan to never give up no matter the cost.
Your talk re-lit my fire inside to keep going even though the pace seems slow. I thank you for that.
These kids I work with really benefitted from your talk. I think some of them were scared straight. You are an assett to our society.
Shawn Sanchez (I think that is the name)
What I learn about sunny was when he was in prison. When he was in prison I really fet what he was saying about his life. I also feel him on the way when the 2 guys try to rape hem. I would of kill them to and also because I have a aunt in chochilla prison.
Mack Sharp (?)
Sunny The Speaker
I felt my patna sunny was cool because he kept it real because he told the story like it was like he was molested or something and he was in jail for 40 yrs. And he was like he killed two people that’s not right but he has turned his life around and is goin the right way and I think thats the only thing that matters and I’ll pray that he keeps his life right.
Dre Lunatic BB (?)
I really apreciate when you came and talked to us it really gave me a chance to think about how my life was going and you really inspired me to do something other than what I was doing So thank you for giving me your attention.
Well my thought about you is that you’re a strong person, cause you been throught so many shit and you could feel us young people going throught pain. And I know you been more pain then us so you could teach us young people for what you went throught and in my opinion you are a good help. You could advise us and help us to keep on going and in I could see us a rore model cause I don’t really want to go in you same shoe’s so that is why I’m saying thanks for coming and talk to us, and share your problems and thanx for carrying about us, when you don’t really know us.
From: Dejchan G-1 Trucha (spelling??)
Dear, Dwight Abbot
My name is Brian Smith from Y.G.C. What you have been through I can’t explain, but, I am happy for you and Im glad your doing fine and I just want to congradulate you on staying out of jail. (Nice tatts)
(I guess this young man thought so much of Sonny's talk that he was compelled o write a second letter)
Dear Dwight Abot
My name is Brian Smih from YGC: what happened to you I cant explain because what you said tk my breath away. I feel so so sorry for you but at the same time I dont because you re oing well as a civilized citien of San Francisc. I really like your tatts and the bling-bling.
I want to tell you thanks for sharing your story with us. I think that you’re a very strong person how you actually did 40 years in the pen, including 5 years in the hole in complete darkness with nothing but a whole in the floor. Now you have your own business. Not everybody can go through all that and still be here to tell there story. And you also tought me that I can still make it even though Im in the system.
I think you had a hard life after your teens. I feel sorry for you going to the penn. It really bad that you killed so many people. You really touched me and I don’t want to go to prison and be like you (No offence)
Hey Sunny, wassup. Just wanna say best of luck to you and all the people you love. I think what you did was really great and you should keep giving these kinds of speehes. I know you went through hell in the past but I’m glad to hear you changed all that. I know you left all that bad stuff behinid and moved on with your life. I know your words to other youth will get them to think to change. I still can’t imagine all the stuff you been through and still be alright. Good luck form now the rest of your life.
I think it was good you got your life together and also that you got them to change there mind 13 min before it was your time to go, you are a tough guy and it is good you ar still here.
When you told us abou the Penitentiary it made me relize that do I want to change my life our befor I end up on my way there.
It was a good story that you told us I think it touched us all like made us visualize and it made me really think hard. I hope you do good with the movie, hopefully I will read your book.
Sincerely, Young Derell
Dear: Sonny I really felt all the stuff you were talking. And I ain’t got nothing but respect for you. And when I get out I’m going to take your abvice and stay out.
Send this to his house
Dear Dwight abbott this is Melvin Sims in B-2 you came in talked to my class in I want to thank you for coming in talking to us in you inspired me to stop doing the bad things I was doing because you was telling us about how you did forty year’s in the pen in 5 year’s in the hole In how you were a good child in you went to jail in you became a killer in then you was good in your life in I think if you went threw all that in still changed your life I think I could change in I haven’t did half the shit you did in I want to thank you again in I would appreciate if you wrote me back in gave me some advice about how I can (the last sentence is too light and blurry for me to make out)
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING LETTER CONTAINS PROFANITY THAT MAY OFFEND. I have left out th "bad" words and replaced them with ***** in the typed version :-)
My thoughts about (Dwight Abbit)
I think that he was a real man back in the days going in and out of jail because when he got rapped by the guard he didn’t even go gay he stayed his own way (straight) Then he used toilet paper to write out his feelings (Diary). If I was in prison and a woman rapped me when I was young I find that lady and try to kill her for taking my verginity at a young age especially a lady. I don’t think no women would ever make go gay to want p**** because I feel p**** would never make me bust on ass fast or good as d*** would I bless hm for not letting that guard make him go for d*** and he still know like I know that d** will satisfy your needs for him p**** will.
THE FOLLOWING IS A POEM THAT SONNY RECEIVED FROM ONE OF THE YOUNG BOYS HE HELPED OUT.
“I’ve got you Dad”
I sit inside this jailhouse cell,
Going through a bitter hell.
I’m not real big and not real strong,
And my patience is not long.
My life’s been rough & it’s been bad,
Because I’ve never really had
Someone to talk to happy or sad,
Not no more, “I’ve got you Dad”.
To hold something inside your heart,
Will almost surely tear you apart.
Find someone that you can trust,
And open up to them you must.
I guess what I’m trying to say,
Is I never thought there’d come a day
That I would feel so happy and glad
Because now I can say “I’ve got you Dad”.