Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Missouri.
What is your occupation?
President of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory was my 12th birthday. It was a fun filled day. My mom took me to see the Blue Angels Air Show at Richards Gebaur Airforce Base. I was a big fan of the Blue Angels at the time, and that really made my day. I thought the day was over, as we arrived home. However, when I walked through the front door, all my closes friends and family were there for my "surprise" birthday party. By far, that was one of my favorite childhood memories.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History month helps remind me of the many accomplishments my people have achieved, especially in the face of enormous adversity, racism, and oppression. Black History month also serves as an annual check-up on the progress America has made to realize its promise of equality.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
The black community isn't monolithic. Therefore, every issue that reduces progress towards racial equity are of the most importance. However, the ability to accumulate generational wealth, should be of great concern to all blacks in America.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
I've known that I was Black as far back as I can remember. There were people and experiences that helped me realize that race matters. I learned from my mother that as a black man in America, I would have to be mindful of my behavior, my appearance and the company I keep. And to take action that is just and rooted in faith. She also reminded me to walk and speak with confidence and take pride in who I am.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My inspirations are rooted in my faith and my outlook for addressing the much needed change in our community, is colored by the lack of equity and justice, primarily in the black communities. I'm also motivated by all those who have faced the harsh reality of burying a loved one taken senselessly to violence.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
For over 20 years I've served my community. From mentoring, working on social justice issues as a community organizer, to serving as the President of AdHoc Group Against Crime. Violence intervention and treating trauma and grief due to violence are two focal points of AdHoc Group Against Crime mental health services. Sadly, violence is highly prevalent in our communities, primarily Kansas City, urban neighborhoods where most residents are people of color and there are high rates of poverty and unemployment. We actively and directly encourage access by individuals and families to our comprehensive array of intervention and violence reduction services.