How death of George Floyd is impacting Houston's youth

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
How death of George Floyd is impacting Houston's youth
Jordan Guidry is 16 and said he's seen a lot. Eyewitness News wanted to take a walk in his shoes to see and understand his journey, his coming of age and becoming the man of his home at 13. He told ABC13 anchor Chauncy Glover a big change came after the death of George Floyd.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The death of George Floyd changed the world and forced law enforcement departments all across the country to take a closer at policing in America.

It also had a profound impact on youth, especially young Black boys.

On most days, tucked in Houston's Fifth Ward, 16-year-old Jordan Guidry can be found dribbling his basketball through the neighborhood.

"I'll come to the park, shoot hoops or I'll come here and read," he said.

The teen said he's determined to stay out of trouble.

READ ALSO: Friends in Houston's 3rd Ward reflect on year that followed George Floyd's murder

A year after the killing of George Floyd, ABC13 Photojournalist Francisco Barragan takes us to Cuney Homes in Houston's Third Ward, where George Floyd grew up and attended Yates High School.

"The hood isn't a place, it's a mindset," said Guidry. "It's the way you look at it. I learned a lot of things living in certain areas that I've lived."

The last time we saw Guidry, it was for ABC's "Our America: Living While Black" series after Floyd's death in 2020.

Guidry was among a group of young men from The Chauncy Glover Project, a nonprofit mentoring organization who was selected to have a candid conversation about policing with former HPD Police Chief Art Acevedo.

"In my environment I used to live in was very ruthless," Guidry told the chief at the time. "Police would come around a lot."

Almost a year later, the teen said he's grown a lot. He's also seen a lot.

"I was just waking up and having faith and just believing there's a better day," said Guidry.

But better days didn't come easy.

Guidry and his family lived in Emerald Bay near Trinity and Cashmere Gardens for most of his childhood. He said he found himself at a crossroad - a young boy growing up without father.

"Every day you go outside, like everyone, like you'll see people, their fathers and stuff, and then like, you'll just be by yourself and you just be like, 'Why doesn't he want me?" the teen explained.

His mother was doing the best she could while raising two kids on her own.

At 14, Guidry found himself being the man of the house. He said there's one particular dark night he just can't forget and called it a turning point.

"When the lights were off, I was about to, you know, start doing certain things just to turn the lights on," said Guidry, referring to possible illegal activity.

Guidry almost chose the easy money, but he didn't give into the streets.

Two of his friends made a different choice, got caught up in some trouble, and ended up in jail.

"It's extremely hard to not become a product of your environment," Guidry said.

We met with Guidry in his new neighborhood.

He said he and his family made it out of that ruthless, crime-ridden environment he spoke of earlier.

"I still have friends over there, so I'm not going to judge anyone," Guidry said. "Some people just can't control where they live."

Guidry said growing up, he's always had a big fear of police.

"Police would be coming around and antagonizing everyone and mess with people for no apparent reason," he recalled.

But seeing the death of Floyd on the national spotlight, something inside Guidry changed.

"It definitely gave me a different outlook on police, once again," he said. "It's like, 'Is this what I'm going to go through when I encounter police? What's going to happen to me when I see police?' So, it pushes you further and further away from them."

Guidry said the verdict in the case against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of Floyd's murder, gave him a feeling of vindication. The teen said when it comes to police, there is still trauma there, but he doesn't judge them, and he hopes they don't judge him.

"Just be neutral and respectful, even if they get disrespectful," said Guidry. "As for police, treat us like you how you want your family to be treated."

He hopes that new mentality toward police will help him make it back home to his mom alive.

Plus, there are many other teens just like Guidry walking along the same journey - facing the odds and fighting to stay on the right path.

"We all go through things. We all start somewhere. Every big thing starts out small and if you're starting off hard in that rocky environment, know you can go to something even bigger and better," said Guidry.

Guidry is now a junior at Sterling High School and plans to go to college to major in business.

Follow Chauncy Glover on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.