Steven Johnson

As Interviewed by Landon C., March 17, 2018

Steven Johnson: In His Own Words

I am from California, born and raised in Santa Monica. Went to high school and middle school in Santa Monica, and I went to college in Colorado.

I work at HEB in produce and I managed Trader Joes for about 10 years of my life before moving here. I have owned a number of my own businesses.

Where I grew up in Santa Monica, the police are pretty strict over there. And I used to hear stories -- because Iím actually half-Mexican -- and I used to hear stories about when my uncle would come to visit us in Santa Monica that the cops would always stop him for no reason. So that was a huge part of my life just realizing that no matter what, itís pretty much how you look, and that is how youíre going to be treated.

A big one is also like when you go shopping you seem to always be followed. I grew up with money, but I guess how I chose to dress and look made me seem like maybe I didnít have money or privilege -- and so I would go shopping often, and I remember catching people like literally following me.

Iíve had friends pulled over for no reason and taken out of their car and handcuffed and put in police cars just because they supposedly fit a profile of someone they are looking for.

Run ins with cops when theyíre not necessary is a big part of my life. Iíve had to learn to kind of bite my tongue, respect cops in whole other way, just because of the color of my skin.

So I played travel basketball and I used to travel all around the United States, and it was really interesting to see how different states were so different. We would travel to Oakland and you would see the poverty there, and we would come to Texas and we would see, we would just see that people are very different no matter where you travel.

I remember one time we were eating at a restaurant and we were eating, having a good time, and then the waitress brought us our check, and then she just stood there. And usually when, everybody knows when a waitress brings a check, they bring the check and then they leave. Well this waitress brought the check and stood there because she didnít think we could pay for our meal, so she wanted to make sure we werenít going to walk out on our meal.