LBISD TariqKhamisaFoundation

Friday, March 9th


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Good morning and welcome to another edition of living veteran San Diego. Public service presentation of the Africa San Diego radio stations I'm Carrie Lee. The tar Khamese of foundation is local organization that is dedicated to creating safer schools and communities. And teaching and inspiring peace hope and forgiveness. In our youth. They do this through various character building programs that teach children among other things the principles of accountability. And compassion joining us this morning is Tarek and recent foundation founder unseen Khamese. Welcome Ozzie. The morning and thanks for having me. Let's start with a little background information if we could on your organization. I know there's a sad story that goes behind so I sort of. Organization now. 22 and a half years ago. And vision to see use of the organization and as you pointed out it is very tragic. It's named after my son tonic he was a student a Sunday the station Yuba City. Great pride to great photographer. Kind generous groups NC Umar engaged to a beautiful girl. And inspire some new to go awoke on National Geographic. There was a sophomore student. And you worked on Fridays and Saturdays is a piece of the new agreement. Who was lured to a bogus address soon in north parking area of San Diego by a youth can. They give the right apartment building address with the wrong apartment number it was a storm to go deliver the pizza so he jumped in his Volkswagen. I go to he apartment building multimillion Doris trying to find out who'd ordered the pizza schools nobody had. Can back to the car put the pieces in the trunk of his column. Climbed into the driver side seats and as it was about to back his car from the driver of the apartment building he was accosted by for the youth gang members. Three of them a fourteen year old and a leader of the game was an eighteen year old. We ended on nine millimeter handgun to a fourteen year old. And gave him the order bloodstream bones. They were gang initiation. Checking the pizza man. And 51 bullet which came to the driver's side window. And it didn't have my son's body under the left shoulder of lady who actually traveled across simple process his chest. And the board they should be expected from his right competent. But. In his corner explained to me out to a two says the bullet for a vote it perfect out. A perfect. I quit and I thought that was an interest in choice of but he was quick to say music can be so I'm not trying to be insensitive. We do not see apart like this very often. What it means in my lingo. Is indeed destroyed all the vital organs in his son's body. And Tariq who died drowning in his own blood. A couple of minutes sleep so over it lousy pizza. At the age of twenty. So is this a gang initiation. Yes it's. Once you join a gang you have to do things like this to prove yourself with a guy so this was an unfortunate. That it rose. He stormed it would mean with the pizzas and actually called a few other pizza places but they were close. To put him in his switches of Adams avenue. So needless to say here it brought. My Iran. Life to a crashing halt. I don't know what's more complex were appearance than to lose a child. No way through the emotions and imagine now overwhelming grief despair hopelessness and number it was society at one point. But I have. Survived the tragedy and sometimes in deep trauma. That is a spark of amenities of the what I saw. In this tragedy. Is that they were victims at both ends of forgotten. That did not come from mind to elect or my loving heart. It was more for download from the higher power. I practice is a Sufi Muslim. I'm addicted to round today. And what I downloaded in my meditation. Was that there were victims at both ends of that done separately quickly. Because and then go to call from homicide and I was in my kitchen. I young. Postal vote do not believe in the tournament and Tariq had been shortened you know appointment in the state. It was a mistaken identity didn't make any sense. So quickly hung up on him and called his home because he had just gotten engaged to his fiancee Jennifer. Fully expecting him to pick up the phone. Was he didn't shoot it. And she couldn't say anything she was sobbing and I. We'll strengthen both in my measures like collapsed to the floor. Hit my head against the refrigerator calm and humble. And I had little slump aboard an experience of pain was so excruciating. Actually left about it. I don't remember how long that was wrong. I believe in god and believe it went into the loving embrace of like a nuclear bomb that had grown ocean my heart. And he held me in his embrace what a really long time and when the explosion subsided. Send me back. To my embody with the wisdom to their victims at both ends of the spectrum. Not at that point. I really did not know the details. Within an hour and a half led to my best friend was with me and we go to visit from homicide that was some eyewitnesses. And that they told me was you can involved. You know with. With the tragedy. And my my best friend's life and to get Jennifer which was taller ex fiance Christian was by herself you know fathers and dentists in the navy and lived in no way. So she went to get Jennifer I'm alone in my best friend and looks it means is who it would this kid's that killed Tariq I hope if Ryan now. That looked attendance this I don't feel that way I see that the victims at both ends of Africa. So he broke down and cry and he said doesn't I don't know where you get this trend. If somebody had killed Adam which was his son or only would I want the killer I'd want the old man. So mindlessly to. And onto a lot of money gang violence on what is an international investment bankers speak confidence in language is a group in Kenya was educated in England and actually left Kenya. To escape the violence of medium in in neighboring Uganda has really ironic given much and we see if they right. So. I out go to two scenes of the youth violence is a huge problem in our country. That is go to cities and or Bono suburbia and this is not playing with youth violence. We news but kid every hour and a half the economist of the study that to 25 forceful countries in the world. Let Canada Australia Japan and England Germany France and edit all the kids who dined with ten different countries they took that total. And multiply that by eleven that is on the news in the United States aren't. Slow. I do think we were doing enough. To make sure that we don't lose so many councils and we just see what happened in Florida I'm coming to school shootings that we can. So I recognize that it's easy to see my son was a victim of fourteen Euro a bit more complicated to see that before two mineral it was a victim of American society. And that begs the question was who is some hard and society. Where as you and me. And all of them. People that are listening to this interview Americans was I don't believe society just happenstance. I believe we have all reflected in the society we have created and children killing children. He's not a democracy with society. So I'm a first generation American I love my country that you are good in here when it comes to violence and really plural model. So as an American citizen I felt that I must take my share of the responsibility. For the bullet that took my son's life why. Because it was fired by an American child. He could take the position they can loan and only son he should be hung from the highest poll. A lot of people would feel that way yeah but how does it improve society and so who's in need me here is that the fourteen Euro. Or is it the societal forces. That forced many young man especially young women of color before with a cracked. And choose lives of gangs crime drugs alcohol and weapons I thought that was enemy. So mindless laughter calorie diet and to all new him. And to have my fan in me deal with this in a positive manner I founded Atari a foundation with a mandate to stopping kids from killing kids. I'm breaking the cycle of youth violence and essentially a tremendous enforcement entities who save lives of kids. So important to do and if you lose so many. A second man that is simply the right choices so they don't fall with the crime. And our third. Minded used to teach them principles of nonviolence. Of empathy of compassion and forgiveness. Peace thinking. And I saw that simple premise that violence is a learned behavior. Which I was born violent. Tony was in one mind. But if you accept that is it true as soon nonviolence can also be annoying behavior. Which you have to teach it because kids are Nagano learn the principles of nonviolence responses. The slow enough there are a side of the foundation. I Austin district attorney called freaks was understood determined at that time. To introduce me to the ground funded and guardian of my son's killer. And imagine the public defender's office Hendrick Coker who is now head of the public defenders in San Diego County. And I thought the conversation with the wrongful analysts say among peers screaming attribution or revenge or I'm not here in anger. Or resentment because of grunts and killed my son rather than here. In this bitter tone. Empathy compassion and forgiveness. Regret really see you as you book most so. Mice and site and you lost your grandson popular vote yeah he was a plus fourteen Euro. To be tried as an adults who read he lost you lost into the adult criminal justice system right. That's and that outside of this foundation with a video loft commission. Of stopping kids from killing kids I can't bring my son back from the dead he's gone. And you can't do anything to get Tony. Criminal justice system stuck in your hands anymore. So the real reason I mean irresponsibly because I can't do this alone. Would you help me and it behooves us to look to do that because of the grunts to the left homeless on you know me. Now I would never meant to him he's African American or black kid in my that's an unarmed African American in this group and you look at those born in Africa. His Christian and Muslim. And his gun salute to my Sloan and we've been together now what 22 and a fierce. I mean he's as close to me as my own brother. Doing the work overtime Khamese foundation. In on and that's something that. I commend you. To be able to do that because I know that at. Could have been easy to add to meet with him at a of course over over time things have changed and and like you say you know he's like a brother two yes. Facility intent was was the intention when you started you started this organization and prior to meeting him yes I am and ask father yoga positions on it. Donny died in January. And I had division the stock to the organization in April. And put two and on about four months of money and who's just don't start something without having a plan. And brought some people that are consuming. And then I finally launched into an October. So nine months after Don. And after I launched I it's enough I reached out to him so we've been together pretty much from the onset. And Tony of course this is grant someone who killed your son. Are you in touch with him at all only I know my funding continued to an. Now five years off of the tragedy I met him gone for the nine months off from the tragedy so now president of the foundation. It took a good five years for me to develop enough courage and made it to 2000 and hours to move his and Tony but I recognize that at some point for me to complete my journey. Or forgiveness I had to come liable to libeled me Tony. And that. Wasn't really transform which you've experienced both for me and for him. And I also grandfather do go with me because I know in my group for now she just for a moment Tony but I also told reminded them on time and Tony. Who's he was the last person to see myself. And there was some holes in the story that only he could complete. The gunfire that was gracious we sought to together talking about how Tony's life was in prison enough about fifteen minutes. He left Tony and me alone and Tony and I talked man to man for non. And he was able to complete some of the holes in the story but at one point we looked eyeballs I'm looking in these guys in his opinion minds. And we held that guns were really long time. I'm looking in his eyes trying to find a movie ever imagine I was able to climb through resigns. And took to humanity that I got spike in hand was doing different. And despite kill me or you. Or anybody else was listening to this entry. Wasn't expecting. He was. Well mannered he was articulate. He was most open he was remorseful he didn't portray. Any healthy attitudes. Often in nineteen year old announcement. And likable kid and I wasn't expecting that so at that point I told them Tony you did you know I've forgiven him because I've been working with has gone. Clemens' attorney in the mausoleum have forgiven geologist and knowing you come out of Princeton. You were jobless qatari can be so foundation and you come work with the ground prominently. So I left an hour and a half couple I was from the terror and I remember distinctly when that was a long time ago. That my stride was bound senior leaving than the one that walked in and there was like a big weight had been. This is my shoulder was forgiveness is very ready for anything. The next you're gonna quote from the ground for the single meet you and with Sony has to do totally transformed him. I should know what it was true for me to envision equity redundant or earlier this is as you are leaving. He tells me daddy do which is gone for the so called his grandfather daddy did this a special men acted as one and only song known to only has he forgiven me. His offered me a job I'm not Wu's view. His job offer an output of forgiveness from neutron and the confidence of them said that to me before he always said daddy I'm not gonna make it in prison. I want to die in prison because as a young charismatic good looking young boy in an adult prison I mean you're going up prisoners alive. Slow fast forward he's 37. Years old. These two twelve minutes away from his degree in Chaucer college it is five books a month. And he's extremely well read the Smart intelligent. And the good news is that a re trying to do too much for twelve years the good news is he goes in front of the Parole Board. In October of 2018 so not much longer trial. And and we feel strongly and confident in that the Parole Board would grant him the rules going in my heart soapbox I know that. And Tony we've saved Tony when you save thousands and tens of thousands of Israelis on stage because my father and me until as the kids when I was eleven I. Joined a gang in sixth grade when I was fourteen and murder of mr. Khamese us on in eighth grade a spent the last on two years in prison. I wish I could turn the clock and a. It's a great story. And in I love stores like that noted that end on such a positive note dance you know that he's able to turn his life around and now come to work for you and this out that's great. That this is in. Using donations will be off the person. That actually pulled the trigger and I do know if you would love to turn the clock but I think. So he's going to be real effective in making sure to reach the kids that are considering. To follow in his form of what's gotten a lot of kids join gang in fifth and sixth grade social stuff nothing that demonstrates. The power of forgiveness. Let's talk about some youth programs shown that you have. And again it's all about helping these kids to deal with maybe ideas of violence gun violence that kind of thing that you have. Assemblies you do peacemaker assemblies of local schools tell us about that. But actually what you've created as a safe school model and that saves who mono has four different programs the. Arsenal and is alive assembly. I'm I'm doing like nine assemblies this week while the world reacting in schools so this light assembly tools and grandfather and me. And that interviews this man grandson. Of this man's son and his dad together. And the spirit of compassion and forgiveness. Whose kids have never seen it. So that's how this and it starts in this and drops. And there's no fidgeting and remember we focus on the middle years between great five and great nine. Which okay which is tough area for kids. So often this and really do a little debrief about if you're going through some anger and resentment and no new unit where Leo feelings on how do you deal with those feelings we do that as we open up that costs by sharing a story. And then no we have an in classroom curriculum foot ten weeks when we teach. Restorative practices we have classes on empathy and compassion and forgiveness on choice make it in all of this stuff. This caves of trying to deal with and give them the tools known irons and then they create a peaceful of one campus. Which is essentially a leadership program you know fifty different titles in the peace flow off how you become a bit and on mine and Pete. And all the skins need to be a good leader. And then what we weren't. Typically a thousand to 12100 kids in middle schools and signed even counted the between 81012%. Of his kids. By the challenging parts have. Potentially at risk to join the lives of gangs and crime and drugs and uncle so we take those eight to 12% and Kokomo. With fifty KF sorry a foundation mentor works comment does well with the challenging case not only in school or some their homes in that community. And to hear us we can increasing SAT scores of the schools were reacted. Given the gangs and what only. Teach this important nonviolence values because it explosions and suspensions for 70%. In which he success rate at which is used as an expert and a kid and suspend a kid that's what happens. And on the street that's right. Then again in the jointly created. A viable and affordable solution to curb youth violence because. The math is also very compelling and really cost us 101000 dollars a year to relate free public education. That's what the text press calls progress. Public education is free in America. It cost a 140000. Dollars a year to incarcerate one youth and even after spending that money. The recidivism rate is TT 5%. In California 18% matched. So paying them anywhere Hillary and the cost of unsafe school program is fifty bucks Padilla. So my goal some days to get used to convince the Department of Education to spend 101015. And save them and in 40000 on the other side right. But of course they're trying to do that is like trying to. In a change and act of congress but I haven't given up a bit of the price I'm not going Noah and so I spent as much time now. Raising donations from the foundations because some of the schools we go to. Unknown to able to afford a program that was a message to schools and sometimes they don't mind even for the basic needs of them get free lunches and all. But so we've been doing different trajectory or send with the grace of god the foundation continues to grow every year and I hope that. That someday they do opponents actually dug it shouldn't have been getting some money in now from school districts. Not before coastal front program would have seen. The viability of the would quit doing. And the importance of how many schools are you win right now so right now we Europe who openly varies because our mentors. All I don't exactly you know but I think over the years we've been probably two. Most or work couple hundred schools. And in some schools we just do this and release the some schools would do the peace club. We also have a pulse state son Carlos who are doing we were two schools where we have this at school program and with two schools but the control group. And that is reporter. In school history. And we are doing it to your study which eventually would be published. Because of it showed efficacy off what we're doing so currently I normally attend schools. But an over the years and that we've done. And I'm doing like this this this week I'm doing nine programs nine assembly's. So we are very active. And I'm very excited about this the longitudinal study. That is being done by cost it's on Carlos because that's when I put this in to a best practice while promising practice. Which would open up more state and federal. What kind of reaction but kind of feedback you get from from the kids. And the staff at these schools very closely chairman and I'm I'm even now with house I actually speak to a 100 Cisco maglis incentive account. When I go speak on nonviolence or log in 2000 presentations. Now the words were spoken like to a million kids. Or rather than 50000 letters though. As soon return to me so the feedback is has been it's been really brilliant and we also get the same. Feedback you know from and from teachers and so mentally recently gave a talk at San Diego state university in this kid came up to me and said mr. Khamese. I just graduated from signing the statesman. In the degree in finance. And you in my role model and that's it would tell me more than he so when I was in sixth grader came and spoke at my school. And I also impress refute and you are I was wolf is an investment banker and your banker so I decided. The following your footsteps and not all of which have so my older brother and my father. And my grandfather who are old gang members he was like lord before generation gang. Again this and vote now that the mentors. The mentor program you have what's their back on the the university kids. Two in the twenty's or early twenty's. Lot of them. To use one of from a defending his rule CO. She was beaten badly. By a rival gang when she was in seventh grade if we happen to have an assembly for a school that day after. And she was so moved. With my story of forgiveness that she ended up for giving the people that had B turnaround. Finished her grade school. When descended the state voted degree in social work and now works for the foundation and shoot a bit when although a good mentor so although this mentors. Our our college age in college. And they get special points and credits by being part of the foundation. And are they ones that that have been in in gangs themselves have gone yes some of them have also been street kids or be influenced by gags. Or being beaten up like rose who was auctioned again which was beaten up again right. Come now we're just about out of time where do you get your funding you mentioned that at this takes money to do what you write Joseph would actually do we have three different sources. A four sources you create the seeds of. Oops society. Which is funded by individuals that we reach out to India speak and we shopped or individuals that. If you want to join those seeds of hope society because of trying to give hope to his kids if you spent a thousand dollars a year and it was a thousand that your. What to upper class room in the second not to today. If won't help a school he was 5000 dollars a year. Fatigue and a kid who lives if you won't help a community. He was 101000 here. That taken akin to dinner and give us an aunt and commit to give us for three to five years so that brings in about a third of our own budget. And and I have a lot of people that are part of the seeds of hope society grow them come from my speaking. As we get money from private foundations. That a targeting youth from violence than there are some here in this some across the country. And that they've taken on non youth violence I mean can you from endowment is wanted to leave and wellness is one. And then located youth violence as a as a health issue Grossman an epidemic. And Al Thornton put social money comes from public foundations are getting some money. From you know when JJ DP which is office of juvenile justice delinquency program. Part of the department justice and someone from school districts so we come makes it all up so you know what. But we don't have enough I will be a forty schools waiting for my program right now exactly. Now and the reason I conduit is because. We can we need more staff. And we have to decide how many schools to go to obviously go to the ones in need this amounts socialization. Monies that is a big part of the challenge. So if somebody wants to help you with your mission. Can make a donation website TKF Dolan told. And they can donate right on line. And it tonic and Lisa foundation and would obviously. Left you have them donate to you can get two more schools. Say you you need more staff to be able to continue doing much you know like most schools in waiting of the glistening mentor ex we need more men Bluetooth of the stuff. And there's so right now we're doing. A tremendous amount to. With I believe. For five full time and some part time people. But we could really use you know more funds that we can actually I am Mormon towards him. And had any given time I know this from the get go to school switching programs. Socially wants to become a mentor how they go about doing that. They can go to T can't go to work. And they can send us an email with a bio. And we can definitely. Me questioning and we'll constantly looking at the right to kids to comment and join us. And and Richard because he picked them around that age you know around the College Station arm again the web site. Teekay half dot org genius in tong gays and came at this in front door all RG and are you on social media. I am to cast his own social media. And you guys do fund raiser students throughout the and only do yes absolutely secure audiences San Diego based that can help from joined with our fundraising as well. And we also do a newsletter so they can go sign up with the news that the very robust. Website Sonia. Please come and join us hard. As team thanks for being on Saturday. Thanks for all you do for our kids through the tar can be so foundation. It's appreciated keep doing what to do a welcome and thank you for having me. It includes another edition of living veteran San Diego the opinions expressed on the better San Diego did not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the staff and management. Of the an account San Diego radio stations episodes of living veteran San Diego are available on the station's website. Johnny next week when my guests will be from the answer for Rachel foundation until then. I'm Gary Lee have a great week.