LOVE: THE KEY TO ALL THINGS

Message from Artwan, freshman year
New Mexico State University 2012

Hey Stephen,

College is definitely a wake-up call. I was not mentally nor emotionally ready for it, however, I am doing the best I can. It has truly been a journey since my last trip to the mountain and I have had one hell of a college experience, so far.

As your read this letter to our brothers I want each and every one of them to think of their past, their childhood. Imagine everything being different; come on guys challenge yourself, what would you change?

Sacred Path storyteller STRONG BEAR

Personally I would not change anything. I have been through so much and my past experiences have shaped my philosophy on life. Many of us were not as privileged as others but does that mean the underprivileged do not deserve a shot at success. Success is determined by the decisions you make and though most of you may believe that at risk kids place themselves in the flames that they spark; it's more complex than that. I have learned so much about myself and can say since our last encounter I have developed as a young man. This retreat means so much to me. This retreat was our safe haven, our heaven away from hell, not a piece but a whole chocolate cake.

TIMOTHY WHISPERING EAGLE

The memories I created are forever implanted in my mind and on my heart. Strong Bear, Stephen, and our dear beloved Timothy whose obituary is hanging on my wall as I type this letter, are real role models and men. They listened to us and understood us as misunderstood. The majority of us were crying for a way out, and most of us have gotten lost on our journey to freedom. My twin brother has been my biggest concern for years now. At the age of 20, he has already had two kids, been to prison, released on parole and now he's back there facing two attempted murder cases with young Myron as well who is only 17. All I can say is pray.

When I speak to my best friends, Darren and Nijal, we always reminisce on the retreat and most times state that we wish we never left the mountain because we’d rather die to the mountain than at the hands of ignorance. That retreat was our home away from home. It was the first step to different lives. It started to build leaders, instead of followers. It helped mold men instead of cowards. The type of ethical values it taught were teamwork, responsibility, humility, endurance, and to simply enjoy life. Something memorable was the Call to Adventure, we will never forget the challenges and how we were supported and able to complete those tasks. I miss that place more than home . . .

Stand-up comedian/TV/film star KEVIN HART was a special featured guest along with Meta World Peace at the MCLA poker tournament fundraiser produced by Richie Biren that raised $25k for the Call to Adventure program.

I attend New Mexico State University where I am a part of so many organizations and I'm the spokesperson for BSA (Black Student Association). I am planning on becoming a Doctor, pediatrician to be exact. There have been so many challenges during my college experience, but nothing tougher than my past. There is so much that needs to be said that won't, but I'm going to wait for those nights where you hear the beat of the drum and the voice of Strong Bear telling those stories. Those are the night's expression flows from our hearts.

I look forward to seeing you guys soon and, Kevin Hart, it would definitely be a pleasure to meet you one day sir. Keep up the good work. You are doing a wonderful job and I'm happy to see you supporting a cause that will benefit teens that have nowhere to go nor hide. So for them I want to say thank you. Thanks to all of you because you help create a life-changing experience for young men that might not see the end of next week. These young men are confused and feel like no one is there for them. From experience even parents turn their backs and lack support. So join the cause, the movement, it's worth it I promise.

In brotherhood,

Artwan Green

 

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Message from Artwan, 
New Mexico State University Graduate 2017

 

LOVE: The Key To All Things

Love! The key to all things. My journey began years ago, when I was a child filled with rage and disappointment towards life itself. The oldest of five siblings in the house with no solid father figure present. Forced to take on responsibility that made me feel less than a child and more like a slave to my household. My community was infected with gang activity and I felt trapped in my mind. A boy far away from his dreams. A boy in the shadow of the peers in his community. A boy unaware of his destiny.­

ARTWAN and CHRISTINA, close friends and brand new New Mexico State University graduates

I have been a member of The Sacred Path community since I was eleven years of age. That’s approximately fourteen years of exposure and dedication to a community filled with inspiring men. I have had the opportunity to be surrounded by men who are not afraid to say that they are broken. Men who look past the color of my skin and promote strength through my pain. Men who are chasing after serenity and peace. These men have been fuel to my flame. These men have inspired me to seek humility and grace. These men have shared their most intimate memories. These men helped me develop character. These men are spiritual warriors.

Throughout my college journey I have experienced a great deal of loss and adversity. I was homeless for a whole year living in a small single occupancy dorm room with a friend. I lost my Grandmother to Parkinson’s, my best friend to gang violence, and two cousins to cancer. I also was sick for about 8 months during my senior year. In and out of the hospital experiencing multiple procedures.  All this while working two jobs. 

Front row L to R: CHRIS (Artwan’s older brother by father Arto), ARTWAY, DEREK (oldest brother by Stephen) Back row: MEAGAN (Arto’s current wife), ARTO (Artwan’s father), FRAN aka “Mom”, DR. J aka “Dad," AISHA (Artwan’s aunt) KATHY (Artwan’s mother), PETE (Artwan’s uncle)

Through all this adversity I was constantly reminded by Dr. Stephen Johnson, my mentor and father, that I was not alone. That I was not going to be easily defeated. I have many great accomplishments and have been awarded and honored by my university on multiple occasions. Robert Frost wrote a piece titled “The Road Not Taken.” I constantly read through this poem as a reminder that I took a road many guys with similar circumstances have avoided.  As I approached the finish line I began to weep. I wept because the support and memory of my spiritual tribe and family on that mountain was present. This leads me to the purpose of this note.

THANK YOU SACRED PATH. Thank you for seeing a warrior in a young boy from the streets on Los Angeles. Thank you for molding me into the man I am today. Thank you for all your support mentally, physically and especially FINANCIALLY. A lot of men have contributed to my cause and I have not forgotten about that. I appreciate every single prayer, every single donation, and, most importantly, the relationship we have shared. You men have changed my perspective on life and have given me a real understanding on what it means to be a man of honor, a man of responsibility, a man who walks with purpose, a man who loves without borders, a man unafraid to express himself, a man who has always been a brother!

With all my relations.

Artwan Green

 

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Click here for Dr. Johnson's reflections of MCLA's Sacred Path role with Artwan