RAP - RESPECT ALL PEOPLE - WHAKAMANA TANGATA (10/7/09)
Lua Maynard, Tia Suemai, George Malifa-Puleaga, and Ian Katoa who belong to the New Zealand Organization Respect All People (RAP) have been our guest for some days, now. It has been a pleasure learning from these bright young men that have been on a MISSION to save the lives of youth in New Zealand and what is more bring sunshine to the world:
Brother Sulieman and I have been taking the Brothers from New Zealand around the City and County of San Francisco and have exposed them to many people and many places. We visited the San Francisco Juvenile Center and were given a personal tour by Mr. William Sifferman, the Director of the Facility. We also a meeting at the San Francisco Port Authority met with Director, Monique Mayer and gave the youth an opportunity to see and meet near the Bay Bridge.
In the course of our conversation Mr. Sifferman stated New Zealand was far ahead of the methods and systems that San Francisco has in place linked to the incarceration of youth. We hope that after reading and evaluating the methods used by Respect All People (RAP), Mr. Sifferman, the Mayor of San Francisco, and the other pertinent Policy Makers - will help the youth of San Francisco.
Lua, Tia, George, and Ina have grown close to us and now fully understand to some extent the type of work we do in the cuts, the streets, in the hood, and the general neighborhood. The have seen Rudy Corpuz in action, inter-acting with his group, United Playz and the Brothers from New Zealand have a deep affection for Rudy's work.
We visited Twin Peaks and took some great photographs. We visited the Presidio to give the Brothers a sense of what the Presidio looks like. I worked many years at the Presidio and could share the history with the Brothers from RAP - representing New Zealand and the youth Down Under.
The leader of RAP visiting the Bay Area is an astute man named Lua Maynard. He has lived in Southern California and been in college in California. What is more he has a keen sense of some of the gangs in California, especially Southern California and has been able to use the collective experience and history to make good things happen in New Zealand and lead RAP to a better place.
Tia Suemai is a great guy who speaks from this heart and has the ability to listen to the youth and make a difference in their lives. The youth in RAP love him and respect him and that is all you need to turn the lives of the youth and make progress in their lives. One of the youth that Tia Suemai helped was Ian Katoa. At one of our meeting Ian Katoa gave his testimony that brought tears in the eyes of all those in the room.
Ian Katoa is a great man and has grown closer to me and has even visited my office and taken some photographs. He has seen our work and the exposure given to our youth work in San Francisco by Brother JT the Bigger Figga in his magazine aptly called Mandatory Business. Ian Katoa has shared with me some of his experiences and promised me that he will be the best leader he can be. I am very proud of Ian and wish him all the very best in his work and shared life.
George Malifa-Puleaga is the youngest of the group and has been making strides improving himself and documenting the tour to California which is an over 14 hour trip by plane. George has seen crime and other adverse impacts in his neighborhood in New Zealand and has dedicated himself as a young man and one that can relate to the youth back home - to change the lives of other youth for the better.
Days fly by quickly when one is occupied doing good work and that is how Brother Sulieman and I feel. We have been able to give the Brothers from RAP a tour of some of the important places and allowed them to talk in a setting where they met some local Polynesians. One is particular the organization led by Pastor Alex from the Soul'd Out Organization. As I said Lua Maynard and his young men have also toured the San Francisco Youth Facility and met with Mr. Sifferman.
In giving a short tour of the various neighborhoods the Brothers from New Zealand have been able to observe how people live in Public Housing and how people live outside Public Housing. They have been able to listen to us and ask us questions about rehabilitation, crime, and other related issues. We have been very interested in the way they handle rehabilitation and crime in New Zealand and the unique tools that they use.
In New Zealand as you can learn from the website I have posted above they have a unique system and prefer less incarceration in jails and more inter-action with the community and bringing some decency and change by deep community participation. RAP has done the Nation of New Zealand much good and has given us the opportunity to learn a lot.
Here in San Francisco we are light years behind the system used in New Zealand to rehabilitate the youth and bring progress and good in the lives. We, in San Francisco can try that is if some of our corrupt politicians will listen. We do have the facilities and the will but some one must take the lead. Too many people just talk the talk but do not walk the walk. One of them is Mayor Gavin Newsom from San Francisco a good for nothing jack ass who will not stand up and act. Too many youth are suffering because he is busy pussyfooting around not doing his job.
I wish Lua Maynard, Tia Suemai, George Malifa-Puleaga and Ina Katoa all the best. Soon, I will visit Australia and take a Kangaroo Jump and be in New Zealand and hopefully meet the Commando Group that I call - Brothers.
Enjoy the photographs:
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