Prison Radio
United Black Family Scholarship Foundation

What inspired you to explore the idea of creating a nonprofit or public service organization while incarcerated? – So for me, aside from the proverbial lack of resources available to our incarcerated communities, and also it’s equally important, in my opinion, is a continued neglect and absence of these very much needed and vital resources for our disadvantaged inner city communities, where a high percentage of us incarcerated individuals literally come from. So I believe that this form of systemic negligence and strategy, designed to purposely deny a class of people equal access to the knowledge of creating these highly beneficial nonprofits only compounds the obstacles that we, as an imprisoned population, face continuously due to what I think is a lack of qualified educators with the expertise in this specific area that are willing to, or even available, to actually come down and teach our most impoverished communities whom have little to no access to these types of resources and trainings, helping us to learn basic vocational skills, further allowing our incarcerated class to now possess the necessary abilities to pursue a successful and sustainable career in this field of organizing nonprofits, benefiting our charitable causes, as well as helping our vulnerable communities.

So as I began to learn more about the vast beneficial aspects in a successful implementation of the nonprofit, through the guidance and direction of Ivan Kilgore, of course, it then became more apparently clear to me that having equal opportunity to the services provided by such nonprofits will allow us to be of maximum and productive service, not only to our incarcerated communities, but more importantly, in my view, reach out and educate our troubled youth who are more susceptible to a life of crime. Primarily, I believe this is true because of the absence of these forms of positive alternative programs, which I know a well experienced, nonprofit organization can certainly provide. For example, through a nonprofit, we can offer a host of viable options for our troubled youths to consider from, such as, how to engage the public services, volunteerism, financial planning, and even exploring possible military recruiting options as an alternative for our more hard gang affiliated youth, basically providing practical job training relevant in today’s job market. This, of course, will allow our incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and disadvantaged younger generations the equal opportunities to pursue a prosperous and legitimate career, which their newly acquired skill set will have duly qualified.

So in closing, my inspiration for exploring this fascinating idea, which was shared with me by Ivan Kilgore, of creating a nonprofit entity of this productive magnitude, was also born out of my hope in being of tremendous service and giving back to my communities with positive purpose, to redeem and enrich our formerly incarcerated individuals lives. Which in turn, will certainly enhance our society as a whole, longevity wise, thank you.

What tools do you currently possess or are required to fully develop a service organization? – In regards to this question, I believe that the tools and skills that I’m humbled and grateful to possess, which I’m confident can be an asset in assisting to fully develop a service organization successfully, at least from my perspective, of course, begins with my experience and literally being one of the co-founders of a revolutionary inmate leisure time activity group, in Pelican Bay State prison, which I played an intricate role in creating, and it was called the Peace Group. So Peace was an acronym for ‘Prisoners Embracing Anti-hostility, Cultural Evolution’, which was a prisoner initiated and administratively approved organization. This revolutionary, forward thinking group of men actually changed the prison culture at one of the most notoriously violent prisons in the state, to now one that’s recognized for its many successful rehabilitation, self-help, and higher educational programs for it’s general population.

The purpose of this group was to study and adopt conflict resolution curriculum such as those developed by certified professional neutrals and/or like minded organizations. In this way, the group’s ultimate aim is to promote the reduction of interracial violence on our level four prisons. The pursuit of these goals were expected to provide for the development of a social environment that is conducive to authentic and lasting rehabilitation for our prisoners society. So the technical skills that I’ve developed, regarding organizational prowess, consisted of drafting up groups constitution and bylaws, which will govern the group’s operations. I was also tasked with organizing the voting procedures for the election of the Executive Board members designated with the responsibilities of presiding over the group’s daily functions, such as creating and facilitating the course curriculum, conducting all group meetings and activities, as well as organize special events.

In addition, I’ve earned an Associate Degree of Liberal Arts and Behavior and Social Science with high honors and a GPA of 3.74 from College of the Redwoods. And lastly, with respect to my higher educational accolades, I received an honorable admission into the Bachelors Program offered by Cal Poly Humboldt, the newest Polytechnic institution, which is the first in Northern California and the third to be implemented in the state. So with that technical resume, I truly believe that I do possess the organizational experience and knowledge to adequately direct the operations of a nonprofit efficiently should the opportunity presented itself. Thank you.

These commentaries are recorded by in Prison Radio.