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Monday, May 7, 2012

Alexander Gibson: Using Words To Fight the Stereotypes

For 25 year old Starkville, MS native Alexander Gibson words are not just something he does to pass the time. They are a way of letting others into his world and sharing what can be possible for anyone, no matter where they are from or what they had done in their past.

It was during his Freshman year in college that he came to the realization that he wanted to write and share it. "I was at a point in my life when I was really soul-searching," Gibson says. Jaded by the progress he had been making in his life, he started to analyze a lot of what people had told him up until that point. "Everyone told me that I had to get an education in order to get a great job. I learned through personal experience that where I was education promised nothing. It was at that point that I started writing."

His feelings about his life and the possibilities for his future were the spark that led him to keep a journal. As it progressed, however, Gibson says that things took a turn. "As I was writing and reading what I had wrote, I began to think that maybe something else could come from this." From there he started to write a book, sharing his thoughts about life in general, not believing everything you were told and the importance of finding your own way. One day after finding himself frustrated and stalled in his own efforts to really make a difference, he threw his work away. "I now see doing that as one of the biggest mistakes of his life," he confesses.

That was in 2006.

For the next couple of years Alexander Gibson didn't write anything. That changed in 2008, though, when he  began to see the need for someone to speak up for those around him that he felt was getting a fair shake. He began putting pen back to paper and decided to start his own organization to fill the gap for those seen as less than. This was the basis for Help For The Helped which was founded in 2009. "I wanted to change the way certain types of people in society were seen," he says. "I know the playing field will never be completely level, but we can do our part to make sure that others are getting their chance. Help For The Helped's mission includes helping individuals find employment, offering scholarships and even aiding in the rehabilitation of convicted felons.

This is something that touches close to home for Gibson, who admits that he hasn't always made the best choices in life. In 2010 he was facing 43 years in prison for selling marijuana. A college student at the time, he spent six months in a county jail with nothing but his thoughts. He admits that it took a lot of faith to believe he could get out of that situation with a favorable response, but he did. "I'm worth more to society in the world making a difference than behind bars," he says. "There are some people that just made mistakes. Not everyone had the support system to do what I have done. Building up Help For The Helped and sharing my story is my way of giving back some of what has been afforded to me."

In 2011 Gibson saw another dream realized with the release of his first book of poetry FIGHTING THE STEREOTYPE (published by Publish America). Through the book he is using his voice to remind individuals young and old that they don't have to be a statistic or just another face in the crowd. "That is the sole basis of what I do," he says. "What has happened to me can happen to anyone. Everyone has been stereotyped at one point or another. The question becomes are you fighting the stereotype or living up to it? Never doubt your potential. You have no reason to hang your head. Make the best of the life in front of you."

Stay abreast of updates by Alexander Gibson on Facebook by visiting www.tinyurl.com/alexandergibson. He can also be reached by email at realpoet0315@gmail.com. You can find out more about his book FIGHTING THE STEREOTYPE on Amazon.com at www.tinyurl.com/alexandergibsonbook .

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