I Wasn't Supposed to Be Here: Finding My Voice, Finding My People, Finding My Way (HC) (2023)

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From the day Jonathan Conyers was born, he has found himself in places where he wasn't wanted or wasn't expected to survive, much less thrive. When Jonathan was 14 years old, he broke into a home to commit robbery when he and his friend were caught by the police. His friend was sent to a juvenile delinquent center and Jonathan avoided charges when he was admitted into the Frederick Douglass Academy, a highschool in Harlem, New York well-known for fostering the hopes of Black inner city youth. As a freshman, the school's infamous Black principal, Dr. Hodges, after hearing of the trouble he'd been in, advised Jonathan to get into an after school activity or "I will follow you around until you do." One day Conyers wandered into a debate room where he met a white teacher who everyone called DiCo, who was transitioning from woman to man. In that classroom, a life-changing friendship began that would go viral in Humans of New York to reach millions, make major headlines in the New York Times, Washington Post, among others, and inspire a $2.5 million donation to the underdog Brooklyn Debate League.

Throughout this unbelievable story, readers will meet the unique and diverse cast of characters who helped Jonathan transform his life into one that has proven to be a great inspiration to others. In addition to joining the debate team, Jonathan went on to win a summer scholarship to the prestigious Philips Academy at Andover and graduate with a 4.0 GPA at Stony Brook University while juggling teen fatherhood. Jonathan's life soared thanks to the people who helped him along the way. His tribe of teachers, mentors and guides were diverse--from his white, transgender high-school debate coach to his little person Latina college counselor. I Wasn't Supposed to Be Here exemplifies the lesson that neither failure nor success is determined by where you come from, what you look like, or who your parents are. Jonathan's story is a testimony of possibility--that you can both be saved by a village of teachers and mentors and go on to impact others searching from the same fulfillment.


Jonathan Conyers
ISBN 10:
Legacy Lit
Publication Date:
September 5, 2023

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