Stanly Tookie Williams III was born on December 29, 1953 in New Orleans, Louisiana. “Tookie” Williams was a misguided high school student from South Central California. Gang bangers had taken over his neighborhood, and terrorized those who feared them. This territorial authority included more than neighborhoods; it also included territory over women and young children. Tookie, along with his friend Raymond Lee Washington, founded a gang in 1971, known as the Crips.
Initially, Tookie and Raymond had the intention only of protecting their neighborhood. However, the Crips eventually developed into the same gang bangers they once feared. Their reign of terror was short lived – Raymond was shot and killed in 1979 by a rival gang member, and Tookie was imprisoned later that year. Tookie was charged with the murder of four people, and put on death row.
During prison, Tookie stayed in solitary confinement for six and a half years because of behavior violations His prison life started out rocky — he continued his gang affiliation and was continually involved in violent fights. Eventually, Tookie began to repent. His sole purpose was to make up for the wrongdoing he caused from the gangs co-founding. After two years in confinement, he renounced his membership with the Crips and wrote a letter of apology for starting the gang, which was posted on his website. He began to realize the pain and terror he caused. From then on he spent the rest of his life devoted to promoting anti-violence. He co-authored eight children’s books about raising youth awareness of gangs and drugs. His goal was an attempt to undo the bad he began with the Crips. The gang had since spread to at least forty other states and an area in Africa, where there were reported Crip copycats. His message to kids, “Don’t join a gang, you won’t find what you’re looking for. All you will find is trouble, pain, and sadness. I know. I did.”
Williams appealed his death sentence before the...