Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Junction City, Kansas and raised in Los Angeles, California.
What is your occupation?
Social Entrepreneur-SWAGG INC (non-profit) Small Business Owner-Personal Legends LLC (retail).
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is waiting in the lunch line in elementary school. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around and my mom was standing behind me smiling! This was awesome because I had not seen my mom and was probably wondering that at that very moment.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month to me is a reminder to invest my knowledge, skill-sets, abilities, talents, resources, acumen, relationships into the people who are closer to the problem and can provide a better solution through pro-social outcomes while not fleeing out of the black community to assimilate into white America investing in that infrastructure while our community suffers from black flight.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
To me the most important issue facing the black community is an education into how systems and processes work and play out in the form of relationships. Life is a continuum of care not a wrap around service. The second issue facing the black community are black leaders who usurp their communities to finance oppression. I wrote a poem Black Leadership: You got to break it down for the people; They don't know and the ones supposed to be cultured, controlling the flow....You got to break it down for the people; They don't know and the ones supposed to be cultured, controlling the flow....Away from those they allegedly rose, exit in droves and reverse the flow...Now you know why the hood don't love you no mo...Took your education, leased a condo could of bought multiple homes and created rent to own for your hood to own with equity; but you preferred assimilation in perpetuity.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
I realized I was black in America when I was arrested at 8 years old for robbery. I was never spoken to by a social worker or counselor. I was just silently processed. As a result of me moving from JC, KS to LA, CA via foster care and so that the gang that controlled the block knew I was "good" I would have to pull a lick (commit robbery)
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My biggest inspiration to push for change is the legacy that Grammy nominated recording artist Nipsey Hussle has left under the The Marathon Brand. Nipsey told me that it was about ownership, creating your own destiny, patience and doing whats right for yourself and family while taking care of those around you.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
I was released from prison March 2, 2018 after serving a 60 month prison sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine a situation where I did not turn states evidence and the target was released and I was sent to prison. I wrote my businesses plans while incarcerated. I was hired at UPS on April, 4, 2018 as a package handler. I was promoted to Human Resources as a employment supervisor on Oct. 7, 2018. At that time I submitted my business plan to the C-Suite for corporate engagement for a non profit that promotes ownership for those impacted by mass incarceration by employment opportunities while incarcerated and develop a partnership with probation and parole for opportunities to justice involved citizens. With support from UPS I was able to conduct autonomous hiring fairs with on the spot hiring. I took this into KCPS and Probation and Parole 4th District and The Full Employment Council Inc as well as the community at large through community events such as Convoy of Hope , Aim For Peace and Determination Inc. a organization that helps formerly incarcerated citizens become entrepreneurs. SWAGG INC also holds a weekly zoom youth session virtually every Saturday 9-10 p.m. and a family support group for family members impacted by mass incarceration at Equal Minded Cafe and Event Center 4327 Troost Ave KCMO 64110 Sunday's from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. beginning Jan. 31, 2021.