Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, former David Rice, died March 2016 serving a life without parole sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for a crime he says he did not commit. During his life Mondo was a prolific writer and over time shared much wisdom.
“We are living in a society in which people are commonly judged on the basis of how much stuff they have. For an African who may already be operating under the burden of “racial” self-hatred, the added burden of lacking money and the things it buys shakes his sense of self-worth. If one lacks a feeling that he is worth something, his life loses its value. A person who sees life as being worthless is willing to risk that life over practically nothing and may be willing to put the lives of others who look like him at risk as well.”
“When we, as a community, do not help instill knowledge, healthy pride, and wisdom in our children, we are setting them on paths by which they may not live long enough to become men and women.”
“Today, too many of our young people—in particular, males—are slaves to guns, slaves to violence, slaves to the idea that their African lives aren’t worth anything, slaves to the idea that their lives aren’t worth living.”
“Today, we should be reflecting on what to do to counter the messages being delivered to our children and youth by school curricula, television, movies, video games, the music industry, and other institutions that are making slaves of our youth to violence, materialism, etc. Today, we should be reflecting on what to do to free ourselves from the invisible chains that bind our heads and spirit.”
“When you have a sense that you do have a worth and that the things you need for value do not come from material things, then you are going out of your house every day to do positive and constructive things for people you love and getting that love back in return, you don’t care whether or not you have good shoes. You are getting your nutrition from the spiritual stuff that is happening. You don’t have that sense of self-worth when material things are eating you up.”
“There is a lot things about life we don’t understand, not only life in general but our own lives and I guess maybe what it comes down to is you. On the one hand, you have to have a sense of your own importance, but at the same time you have to have a sense of your own insignificance. There is a balance there….But at the same time, I believe in the traditional African idea in this regard, that I don’t get my meaning from me, but that I get my meaning from my community.”
Mondo’s prison wisdom is excerpted from my new book, FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may also be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.com. FRAMED is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.