About Author

3 Strikes is written by Ronnie Senegal, who now goes by the name of Yusuf Al Azaeem and his wife Shirin.

I was born as Ronnie Senegal but I have since changed my name to Yusuf Al Zaeem. I was born in Watts California, in 1972 to a single mother who was once a beautiful black women from a good family in Louisiana but lost her way when she became addicted to Crack Cocaine and a father who did not understand his responsibility as a man. Although I have forgiven my mother her murder still haunts me till today. She was murdered in 1999 while living downtown on skid row, homeless and addicted. Her Choices and her rage ended me up in foster care. Foster care was supposed to turn my life around and give me a fair chance at life, but that was not the case. I was abused in the foster care system and I responded by joining a gang and running with the wrong crowd in the hopes of finding family, acceptance and gaining a sense of control over a life I felt was totally out of control.

The Choices I made led to a life off incarceration starting with boy's homes, Juvenile Hall,the California Youth Authority, County Jail and finally Prison. I have been locked up more than I have been free.

In 2001, at the age of 29 while i was waiting in the LA County Jail to be transferred to prison to serve 11 years for a drug case, I was set up by a Sheriff in the LA Men's County Jail. A simple fight with a racist inmate turned into a charge that put me on trial facing 45 years to life because it was my 3rd strike.

From behind prison walls, i fired my attorney who was trying to convince me to take a 25 year deal and the judge on the case and for the first time in my life i fought for my freedom on my own without an attorney.

3 strikes is my story and my truth based on the choices i have made. With the help of my wife, I have written my story in the hopes of reaching those who surrender their lives to their struggle and do not realize their greatness. Making the right choices when you are young and surrounded by gangs, crime and drugs is not easy but it is possible. We often surrender our lives and do not know how to stand up for ourselves but that is where it starts. No one can save you the way you can save yourself.