All Articles: OG’s Perspective

Freedom Is a Relationship, Not a Thing

By Watani Stiner SQ News Columnist By the time this article goes to print in April, I will have been out of prison for 90 days. If you’ll notice, I did not say that I have been “free” for 90 days. Freedom is perhaps one of the most difficult subjects one could write about. It […]

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Undisputed True Champions

By Larry Stiner, Jr. Contributing Columnist The man who fathered me said I was his champ. He told me I deserved that title because I had stood strong in the boxing ring of life. I had gone toe-to-toe with a challenge that not many others would have willingly accepted. He praised me for becoming the […]

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Remembering Dr. King, Ferguson and Moving Forward

By Watani Stiner Thanks to a positive decision in Sacramento, this is my final article while incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Subsequent articles will be from me on parole. Because of the length of this article and the limited space available, the second part will appear in the February edition (Black History Month). My […]

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View Life Through the Windshield

By Larry Stiner Jr. Driving north on Interstate 5 heading from Los Angeles to San Quentin State Prison, the anticipation of visiting my father pushed my thoughts to a quote I had recently heard: Live life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror. I found momentary comfort in those words as I focused on the […]

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Raising Compassionate Young Boys to Adulthood

By Watani Stiner “The language of marriage is often the language of ownership, rather than the language of partnership. We use the word ‘respect’ to mean something a woman shows a man, but not often something a man shows a woman.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian author and feminist. There exists inside every young boy […]

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A Story I Knew All Too Well

By Larry Stiner Jr. Recently, I ran into a childhood friend and asked what he’d been up to. “Just came back from another funeral,” he answered. I shook my head, wondering what violent act had cursed our community this time. You see, for many in South Los Angeles, it is more common to hear about […]

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Capitalism and the Value of Humanity

By Watani Stiner Is everything in life to be measured by its dollar value? That’s a question that arose in the following conversation I had recently with a young man on the Lower Yard. One morning he walked over to me, shook his head and shared his story. Following is the gist of what was […]

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People Who Cross Borders

By Watani Stiner There’s a great deal of concern, confusion and controversy over the issue of immigration — whether legal or otherwise. The recent influx of more than 50,000 undocumented children has left Democrats and Republicans at odds over what to do about the situation. Some define it as a refugee crisis while others claim […]

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A Celebration In My Imagination

The following guest column is by Larry Stiner Jr., the eldest son of Watani Stiner, the author of the O.G. column. There’s a celebration going on in my imagination. The house is filled with the sound of good soul music and the aroma of good soul food. Conversation among the many family members and friends […]

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Is There Such a Thing As a Good Prison?

By Watani Stiner Going to prison and getting “educated” and becoming “rehabilitated” is a commendable achievement. However, what we as a society must focus on is confronting those social causes that make prison and its rehabilitative programs necessary in the first place. Society’s goal should not be on making prisons better. It should be about […]

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