Things Strangers Say: Eddie

by Amelia Kanan

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” – HL

This is Eddie.

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

He picked me up from LAX the other day and in the Lyft to my house, we talked.

In 2000, Eddie took in his nephew who had fallen into the foster care system. He enrolled the troubled teen into a boot camp with the LAPD for youth and when he began to see the positive results, he began volunteering there too.

“It’s the real life human being who makes the connections and ultimately makes the change.” That’s the kind of stuff Eddie says.

Due to funding, the program went away but with support from the LAPD and a judge, Eddie opened his own program which quickly eveolved into a security company with over 50 employees who specialized in conflict resolution. Rooted in building relationships, Eddie’s company tremendously decreased crime and improved behavioral issues in multiple LAUSD schools and a section 8 housing complex. Eddie and his crew were held in high regard by their clients, colleagues, students and residents.

Then a charter school moved in and populated the schools where Eddie had been for nearly 10 years. For the next year and a half, Eddie was the victim of workplace bullying and straight out sabotage. One of the charter school’s administrators poached 20 of Eddie’s employees and bad-mouthed Eddie current and potential clients. This led to the demise of Eddie’s success.

In that year and a half, Eddie also accumulated evidence that could prove misconduct but said he will not take legal action. What’s he going to gain other than more money lost, bitter tension, and damaging shame? As hard as Eddie could fight, the for-profit “school” will fight harder to protect their business.

“I’m mature enough to move on, but bullying is bullying and there needs to be more accountability so people are held responsible for their actions.”

Eddie is resilient and it’s his strong belief in his cause that gives him fuel to restart his company at square one.

When I asked him if he was nervous about this happening again, he responded, “There’s problems everywhere. A lot of schools have issues but they hire the wrong people. I’m trained in conflict resolution and have results that show its success with youth.”