Find Laron Joyner’s display at Alphagraphics, 814 Penn Avenue.
“Regular citizens do things the right way. I want to be a part of that. But it’s hard, coming from doing it the “fast way” to doing it the way that’s normal in society.”
Over the amount of what the income is and what the rent is? It’s hard. When you’re trying to do the right thing by taking it day by day, you’re making $7.60 an hour. So how do you make $1800 in a month just to get a place? There’s a lot in the struggle that I’m going through. I have three beautiful little girls who I’m raising. I’m a father, too, and I’m not able to raise them. It selfish, doing things in the street that benefited me, and going to jail. Now I’ve got to live for them. I had to find employment. It may not be the greatest employment, but I don’t gotta snag-a-job. They red-flagged me the other day when I tried to go to Wendy’s. They said, “can’t hire him, he’s a convicted felon.” McDonald’s hired me on the spot, so how can I be picky? I had to take what I had and build from that.
You have inner struggles every day. I look outside and see what everyone is wearing and driving and it’s like, man, I want that. It’s time to become a regular citizen. Regular citizens don’t sell drugs or carry guns. Regular citizens do things the right way. They work 9-5 to get what they want. I want to be a part of that. But it’s hard, coming from doing it the “fast way” to doing it the way that’s normal in society.
I was tired of being in jail, of being strip searched, tired of being told when I can shower, when I can eat, when I got to go to bed, how loud my TV can be, how loud my headphones can be, how I couldn’t wear this and that. My freedom was stripped. But I stripped my freedom. In jail I was in the kitchen as a diet cook, getting paid $0.42 an hour. I had to work my way up. I learned a skill, about different diets that people had. No tomato, no onion, means that he couldn’t get no tomatoes or onions. It was inspiring because it gave me something to say. I can take pride in doing this. One of my plans for when I came home was to be a diet cook. I want to help, to give back. Now I’m a cashier at McDonald’s. When I serve people, I still feel that I’m giving back in a way. Like, making sure your order’s right. Is everything okay with your coffee? I can give back that way by being a productive citizen.