At 16, I was arrested for robbery and assault. I was facing seven years in an upstate prison. I was sitting in the courtroom wondering where my life was going. I remember the court clerk calling my case number. I remember my public attorney telling me that, “I didn’t belong in prison.” I remember the Judge offering me five years probation or seven years upstate as long as I participated in an alternative to incarceration program, CASES. I didn’t hesitate to take that five years probation. Let me be honest, I thought I was getting off easy. I didn’t have to do time.  
I was assigned to the CityKids Foundation, a not-for-profit youth organization that empowers teens to speak on issues they face using the performing arts. This is where I met my mentor, Moises Roberto Belizario. When I first met him, I thought he was going to be just like every other man in my life—a know it all that wants to push me to be who he wants me to be. I was told that at my job placement interview I didn’t have to talk about what I did wrong, all I had to do was show up, tell them that I know how to answer phones, file papers, and work on the computer. So I was prepared to do just that. The first thing Moises did was ask me what I did wrong. At first, I was nervous. I felt if I told him what I did wrong, he probably wouldn’t want me there. Reluctantly, I told him. I began to tell him everything; how I got involved with the wrong crowd and how I didn’t know how to get out. I told him that I was so far in it that it was easier for me to keep doing wrong than to stop and do right. I remember telling him how I always wanted to be the hero. I never thought I’d turn into the villain.
My six-week internship became therapeutic. I began to find my voice. My shame and guilt transformed into strength and solace.
On December 9, 2014, I was fortunate to perform an excerpt from A Brooklyn Boy my one-man show, co-created and directed by my mentor Moises, for The Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge. They were so moved and taken by my story that Prince Williams walked up to me after the show. He shared how he was touched by my honesty. He offered to help me get my story told. At first, I wasn’t too clear what that meant. Why my story? Why me? Why now?
As a young man of color, I never believed that my voice or my pain mattered. Now I believe that we must not be ashamed of our stories and we must not be afraid to show our feelings. I’ve now dedicated my life to working to bring my show and my platform nationally and globally with the mission that I will inspire personal storytelling for young people, young men of color, young women of color and formally incarcerated youth. Now is the time when we have to reclaim our voices. I feel that healing can only happen if we can only share our truths, if we share our pain and our mistakes. Only then our true healing can occur for us. It’s not just my story but it’s the stories of all my fallen brothers and sisters that need to be heard.
Steven Prescod is an actor and youth activist. He is currently working on his one-man show ‘A Brooklyn Boy’ with co-creator and Director Moises Roberto Belizario, which share the stories of his life in a gripping tale of love, family, the streets, gang violence, and self-acceptance. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by single mother, Katherine Marrast, Steven wishes to take his message to the masses as a GlobeChanger with the Jefferson Awards he will do just that. Steven is working to bring his show nationally and globally with the mission that he will inspire personal story telling for young people, particularly men of color, women of color, transgender, and formally incarcerated youth.
“Whenever I perform A Brooklyn Boy, I only wish that I reach that young person that may be drifting down that path I found myself on and I inspire that person to choose themselves over the streets.” – Steven Prescod