Eddy and his family immigrated to Oakland from China when he was 12 years old in 1982. As immigrants with no English skills, his parents took low-wage jobs to support their family; his father worked at the local Burger King, and his mother worked as a live-in babysitter for another family. When he was 16 years old, Eddy and his friends participated in a robbery; he was arrested and pled guilty to all counts. Charged as an adult, Eddy was sentenced to seven-years-to-life in 1986.
While in prison, Eddy learned English, completed his GED, and earned a college degree. He worked with at-risk youth, developed a curriculum for youth organizations, and received several job offers from youth organizations to work with at-risk youth upon his release. He has written and published articles on his experience as an Asian American inmate, the importance of Ethnic Studies classes, and Buddhism. He has also published his poems, and he even organized the first poetry slam at San Quentin State Prison.
Even though he was sentenced to seven years-to-life, Eddy Zheng served more than 19 years before he was finally granted parole in March 2005, at the age of 35. With the support of over a dozen state legislators and other political and community leaders, Eddy was recommended for parole in November 2004. The governor approved his released from state prison in March 2005, after Eddy (then 35) had served 19 years. Instead of being released then, the federal government placed Eddy in deportation proceedings and he was transferred to immigration detention at Yuba County Jail in Marysville, CA.
Despite widespread community support and overwhelming evidence of his rehabilitation, the immigration judge ruled against Eddy and issued a deportation order, which was upheld in November 2006. On February 27, 2007, Eddy was released from immigration custody, although the government is continuing to carry out his deportation order. He has finally returned to his family and the community after 21 years. Eddy currently works as a Project Coordinator at the Community Youth Center in San Francisco.
Full list of authors: Marc Ching, Damonoa Kukisi, Ryan Hem, K.D. Huynh, Hyung-Rae, Hemnauth Mohabir, Viet Mike Ngo, Dat Nguyen, Peaches, P.I.R., Xuliyah Potong, Ou Chiew Saeturn, Fernando Sumagit, Ricky Thor, Be Trung, Teng Vang, Ramonchito Velasquez, and Eddy Zheng.