April 2020 – Monthly Spotlight with Hest Aden

April 2020 – Monthly Spotlight with Hest Aden

By Matt Reschke

Updated 4-27-29 10:26am

1. When did you get involved in activism in your life?

When did I get involved in activism in my life? I was charged with murder in Dec. of ’07, and was allowed to enter a county jail program dorm for self-development and recovery a month later. About a year later the newly voted sheriff chose to close down the program dorm. I took heed to advice to write the County Commissioners, except I went further an actually got 100 signatures from other inmates that I was around after I was moved from the program…to show that we needed this Therapeutic Community Setting to heal and learn to live more productively. It worked! They ordered the sheriff to reopen the program two months later. Thus was birthed my spirit of activism…in spite of the way that most inmates fear taking on the system.

2. What was the first type of activism you got involved with?

What was the first type of activism I got involved with? Well, in 2010 I was sentenced to a Life sentence. Here in the state of Ga. we are mandated to serve at least 30+ years before becoming eligible for a parole date. Upon being shipped to a state prison facility I took part in the nationally recognized Dec. 2010 “Sit-down” where Georgia prisoners refused to work until administrative agencies was reported nationally.

3. How is racial justice, youth justice and being a school teacher relate in your opinion?

Racial Justice, youth justice, & being a school teacher relate by way of responsibilities to humanity. Our children are owed an opportunity to experience and learn justice earlier on in their developmental stages. The concepts of fairness, just, moral rightness, equity, fair treatment, due rewards in accordance with honor, standards, or law are all understandings with which every human in the “Land Of The Free” deserve. Without the Teacher embracing a higher standard of responsibility in these matters our nation’s children are only allowed to know the limited aspects of their parents poor views. Racial Justice is accomplished through empathy, youth justice is accomplished through understanding the children at their most unjustified treatment, and a teacher’s ability to access these youth is enormously paramount to what’s being received by our youth.

4. What is the biggest problem in schools that perpetuate the school to prison pipeline?

The biggest problem in schools that perpetuate the school to prison pipeline, in my humble opinion, is the lack of counseling and self-awareness classes. The size of the classes per teacher leaves little one on one opportunity for cultivation of self. There is also a missing link as it pertains to the empathy & altruistic manner of treating others around our children.