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 “Dreamer” -based on a true story. 
I often reflect back to the place where I grew up, a place people would say had little to no hope, a place that would label me a statistic.

But this place was my home.

There was a few big homies from the neighborhood I looked up to as a kid, but the one that I really wanted to be like was the big homie “Dreamer”. 

Dreamer had the money, the looks, and the attention. Despite the gang affiliation, the time he would spend in prison and the pain he’d put his family through, the man had a good heart, he was bad ass and he was down for his barrio. Everyday he stroll by my apartment, pressed shirts, creased dickies, clean Nike Cortez shoes, looks on the back of his head and a rosary around his neck. He always said whats up, always smirking. For whatever reason I looked up to him like the neighborhood super hero. 
I remember there was a time I didn’t see him for months, I wondered what happened to him, until he finally showed up again. He was wearing his loks, walking with a cane, you can see the deep marks on his face. I asked “Whats up Dreamer, what happened to you, where you been?!” he took his glasses off and his entire face was black and blue, the reason was m.i.a, was because he had been beat and shot. He said that they left him for dead but luckily someone found him and called for help. 
I remember we sat on my steps in front of my house, it was the first time seeing the coolest, toughest guy I looked up to feeling defeater.  He put his hand on my shoulder and asked “is this the life you want? you want to do time in the pin for some stupid shit? You want to be away from your family, your mom, your brothers? This isn’t the life little homie, you need to find a way out of here, you need to believe in your self, be right with God.” Those words stuck with me forever, even if I didn’t understand it then, it stuck to me, and I always tried to be the best version of Dreamer, that kid he maybe once dreamed of becoming and as cheesy as it may sound, it probably saved me. 
The last time I would see Dreamer would be in front of my house in this exact spot where I made this photograph. He was being arrested, “for some stupid shit”.