Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Steve Harvey Show with Mike Epps

Stay Tuned for Exclusive Steve Harvey Analysis by Anthony W. Brown

Contact Us

Recent videos

More
  • Anthony W. Brown Interview by Keeping it Real Talk-show.
  • The Abstracts of Justice | Saad Soliman | TEDxWilmington

Most recent articles

Every Sinner has a Future!

Posted by on Dec 21, 2016 in Activism | 0 comments

The issue of background checks came in my purview because I am an ex-offender (returned citizen). Matter of fact, a criminologist would coin me as a career criminal. That would be an inaccurate label, for I do not practice criminal acts anymore. The story about this change is in a little booklet I wrote entitled “A Changed Man” by Tony Brown. What caused the change after a life of crime? I met Jesus in a confinement cell. When I realized that my criminal lifestyle and my bad habits were just the tip of the iceberg of my sinful behavior toward my Creator and that He made a way to be just and justified for those who believe in Jesus, a joy came over me that empowered me to want to do right. During the rest of my incarceration, I went to the chapel quite often, completed a faith base program, completed vocational certifications in legal assistance, horticulture, and PC support. In addition, I took other classes to better myself. My dad told me on one of my earlier commitments that what I did on the inside reflected what I would do on the outside.

Upon release in 2013, I continued this path, joined the local church, wrote a book, and started college. The first time that I got turned down for a job was when I applied to do janitorial work. The day I was supposed to start I was informed that my background prevented me. This would become a reoccurring event. Surprisingly to me, I excelled in college making the President’s list a few times. This caused me to be inducted into an honor society. Moreover, I began to volunteer in hopes of planting good seeds and making a new record.  Due to my prison job of a law clerk, I became proficient with computer skills, research, and Microsoft Office, among other things. Therefore, I sought out jobs that I knew I was competent, to no avail, for the background check issue kept showing its face. A lot of times, hiring managers would go to bat for me, for he or she felt I was a good fit for the company. In the end, I was once again turned down. My criminal convictions do not contain sex charges or aggravated violent crimes. Ironically, I am providing job security for the workers for background check companies because I continue to apply.

One of the most surprising things to me was that I found this same attitude in some jobs I had applied for with a couple of ministries, where I was asked to take a background check. The story was the same. However, the Bible that I read does not teach such practices, and the last I checked there was a separation of church and state. Hence, for the Christian and the ones who hold such policies I present the following argument.  In 1 Corinthians, we see Paul admonish the Corinthians to expel the sinner out of the church where the Corinthians believed they were acting in love by tolerating his sinful deeds. But Paul pointed out that they were not acting in love, but in pride. Therefore, Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:5 KJV “…To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord Jesus.” Paul admonished them because they had not preached church discipline but instead tolerated and approved his behavior. Indeed, there are steps that lead up to excommunication from the church. Paul exhorted them to practice church discipline and excommunicate the unrepentant sinner in the hopes in satan’s dealing with him he would come to his senses and repent. Because of his deeds and Paul’s admonishment, they now believed they were doing the right thing and they did not want to let him back in the church because of his past acts. That is why Paul had to step in again in 2 Corinthians 2:7 ESV to direct the people and teach them another principle concerning the repentant sinner “…[] you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, discouragement may overcome him,” we see Paul encouraging the Corinthians to forgive and comfort the now REPENTANT sinner.

Here it is now going into a new year (2017), and I face the same challenges. The fact that I believe in Jesus, and I know He keeps me has kept me from being totally discouraged. For I have hope, a door will open. One of the things I am grateful for is a mind that thinks outside of the box. Which led me to ponder the underlying impetus in such a popular policy. Keeping an open mind, I could see a viable cause to invoke such a policy. However, I am not fully persuaded that the research and statistics that were reported depict an accurate finding in hiring persons with background checks, in light of variables. Nonetheless, my appeal would be to the churches who should be an influence to the government and not visa-versa.

WITHOUT A MASK

Posted by on Jun 3, 2017 in Anthony's Blog Posts (misc) | 0 comments

By Anthony W. Brown

The semantic shift of the word hypocrite has drastically changed from its original connotation 2,000 years ago. Today it is thought of as someone who does the opposite of what he or she says. In addition, a hypocrite can be viewed as one doing the same thing that he or she condemns. However, that was not the archaic meaning of the word. For example in the Greek or Aramaic, the word described a person who was not the person who they portrayed to be, hence, an actor.

It is socially acceptable to play the role of an actor nowadays. In this tech-driven world, we have a new dimension of social interaction we call social media. MySpace had the correct name describing the new way of socializing. Many connections and introductions have been made by way of socializing on the many platforms out there. Many times people have fell victim to a profile illusion. In fact, people can be an avatar in real life by revealing things that inflate his or her status or by becoming someone else. We even have a reality show out now that makes entertainment of people tricking others by being who they are not.

A lot of jobs today has the requirement for the applicants to provide social media links to see if he or she is a good fit for the company. Indeed, these companies have an image to protect. Many companies even have training sessions on how to use your social media appropriately. Ironically, many powerful entities are ethically flawed but pay a lot of money to promote a good image. If you have taken an ethics class in college, I am sure you may have had the project where you learn about some of these companies. However, that is not the focus of this article. The focus here is that often times in the business world we have to encounter actors. Imagine a whole conglomerate where there are but a few people who are authentic.

The underlying impetuses to this tragedy are greed and selfishness. Think about the salesman who starts small talk so he or she can get his or her pitch. Personally, if I sense that one is doing this often times I cut them short. Then there is the rhetoric. Marketing is based on psychological influences to persuade. Since the majority of society believes in the ideological view of evolution, I would propose the question, is this what we evolved into? A world where lies are called alternative facts? Sadly, this trend is progressing rapidly. Sometimes I consider if I should join this masquerade because of my understanding of humanities weaknesses surely I could climb this latter. God forbid! Instead, I choose to be myself and the same wherever I am at. Oh what a joy to be who you are without having to be a sycophant or a puppet to make a living. A joy where you can be who you are with a love for your neighbor regardless of race or belief. Alas! The Golden Rule has lost value and has become gold plated.

Thankfully, I have met some real people over the last few years who have encouraged me. I am thankful for the hypocrites too; although, I am not happy that they are trapped in such a state. One thing I promised myself on this journey called life is that when I get in the position that my destiny has called me to be in is to pay it forward to the ones who are working diligently to become a true asset to society. In other words, my ear is not to the affluent but it is to the ones often time are overlooked. This is way I having a saying “that the answer to a lot of problems is not in the box but outside of the box.” Inside of the box is a world of falsities and alternative realities, just like a Hollywood movie. Thus, a need for actors will remain in high demand. The good news is that knowing the Truth will allow you to take off the mask and be thankful for who you were created to be.

Anthony Brown

Victory

Posted by on Jun 3, 2017 in Sources & Information | 0 comments

“I remember Chaplain David Hendricks would always say “that when you know that you know!” The funny thing about that statement I’ve learned is that the KNOW is progressive. But I will share with you what I know today. When I first got released from prison in 2013, I believed everything would just fall into place. However, our wonderful and loving God allowed me to experience a thing or two. In fact, I had stumbled no, no, no, I jumped! If it were possible for me to fall away, I would have. Then, I went through a stage where I thought that the resistance and struggle to get a job was because I was being punished for all the wrong I done. True, there are consequences for choices that we made yesterday. But I will not go into that, because to clarify the fallacy that is intertwined in that ideology will take quite a bit of expounding. I will note that God used my past to help me see things I believe I would not be able to see due to pride blinding me into thinking my accomplishments were due to my own doing. True God will not be mocked and we will reap what we sow. Along the same vein, I know God is a merciful God. Thus, I will share one of my favorite passages in the Bible because it helps us to see the character of God and Him operating in His absolute sovereignty. Romans 9:15 says “For [God] says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,2 but on God, who has mercy.”

 

A few moments ago I was thinking about the Apostle Paul and reflected on the fact that he did not continue to beat himself up about who he was before salvation. Just last week, I learned about God’s favor and mercy to a degree because I am sure there is more. That is why today I can stand firm in knowing that I am in Jesus, thus I aim to share the hope that is within me just as Peter said in Peter 3:15 “15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” So if you ask me about the reason for the hope that I have is because I believe Jesus IS and my heart desire is to obey Him. This joy that I have, even in the midst of struggles and ALL my flaws, is because I am totally confident that Jesus has set me free! I pray that you who took your time to read this that the Lord will empower or continue to empower you to spread this Hope Message known as the Good News, in Jesus name I pray. Whatever the problem may be today think back to the hope that you have, and when you overcome strengthen your brother. The word of God is powerful, my, my, my.”

 

This is a shirt I designed that came from a Christian Mobile App idea I was working on a few months back. The name NaDab is a Hebrew name. It is some interesting facts that are connected to the name. Some are obvious and some are not. Its Hebrew name meaning is generous or the connotation being generous. You can click on it here to order or go to my biz page. I would love to get the next design out because it has flavor so be a champ and get a shirt. 🙂

NADAB Hope

Paying Ex-Gang Members To Go To College

Posted by on Jun 3, 2017 in Sources & Information | 0 comments

On a Tuesday in late May, Antonio Franklin sits in a makeshift classroom in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, ten years to the day after he stepped foot inside Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk to serve nine years for aggravated assault against a cop. Pencil in hand, he looks on as instructor Ismail Abdurrashid fills a whiteboard with algebra equations. A year ago, Franklin left prison. Now, at 31, he’s brushing up on high-school-level math with about a dozen other classmates, preparing to attend Bunker Hill Community College in the fall.

Many of Franklin’s classmates dropped out of high school, and many were incarcerated. Some, like Franklin, earned their GED while serving time; some are taking this math class to prepare for the corresponding HiSET, or High School Equivalency Test (a new test, similar to the GED). Some, also like Franklin, ended up in prison after being on the streets, engaging in gunplay and selling narcotics. All of them are now being paid to attend class and go to college.

Franklin and about 40 other students are members of Boston Uncornered, a three-year pilot program launched in May and run by the education nonprofit College Bound Dorchester. The participants earn a $400 weekly stipend by attending class every day, passing their HiSETs, and matriculating to college. Once in college, the stipend continues for as long as it takes them to graduate with an associate’s degree. The program seeks to address one key factor—lack of income—that might lure ex-offenders and former gang members back on the street. “As much as we want to do good in school, we need money,” says Franklin, whose stipend goes toward his rent, groceries, and probation fees. “I love this school stuff, but how can you live life without being financially stable as well?”

Whether the program can put a dent into the overall gang activity on Boston’s streets remains to be seen. According to CBD, the city’s estimated 2,600 gang members are responsible for half the city’s homicides and close to three-quarters of all shootings. In 2016, there were 135 total homicides in Boston, a slightly higher tally than the previous year, and local law enforcement say gang feuds were responsible for the uptick.

In Dorchester, the issues of gang activity and crime in general are felt more acutely. Boston’s largest neighborhood is home to about one-quarter of the city’s impoverished residents; they are more likely to be stopped-and-frisked by police and “are jailed at about twice the rate of the city as a whole,” according to the Boston Globe.

The prospect of paying former gang members to go to school is sure to have eyes rolling far into the backs of many people’s heads. But Mark Culliton, an educator with 20 years’ experience and current CEO of College Bound Dorchester, has heard all the counterarguments. He doesn’t buy any of them.

“Financial incentives, as a society, we believe are for hedge fund guys, for Wall Street guys,” he says. “But for poor kids, we suddenly think that’s wrong. It seems to work pretty well for a lot of other industries.”

Through Boston Uncornered, the hope is that the $400 weekly stipend is enough incentive to keep kids off the corners and out of jail. Over the next three years, the nonprofit will reach out specifically to what it calls “core influencers” in a half-dozen hotspots of crime and gang activity as identified by the City of Boston’s Office of Public Safety. It’ll do this work by using current CBD employees who are themselves former gang members—they’re now college graduates or gainfully employed. The thinking is that ex-gang members can convince current ones to follow in their footsteps.

“A highly disengaged, highly disruptive group of young people makes a bad neighborhood. If you serve them, though, it’ll unlock the potential of the whole neighborhood,” Culliton says. “Boston Uncornered is not about individual transformation. It’s ultimately about, can some of these hotspots go from places of fear and violence to places of true opportunity?”

The concept behind the program echoes anti-violence efforts in other cities. Most famously, the Chicago-based organization Cure Violence, developed by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin in the mid-1990s, employs ex-felons to do street-level mediation between drug dealers and gang members in an effort to stop shootings. Variants of that model have had success in several cities. In Baltimore, for example, the city’s Safe Streets program has operated since 2007, and currently has five sites around the city. Overall, neighborhoods with Safe Streets have lower levels of homicides and less gun crime compared to other neighborhoods, according to research done by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

But where those other programs seek to stop neighborhood shootings by walking the beat, so to speak, the influencers of Boston Uncornered try to directly pull players off the street and into the classroom. Participants are paired with a College Readiness Advisor, or CRA—College Bound Dorchester team members who have successfully left behind their own troubled pasts. They work individually with participants to set up college plans, making goals for a gamut of benchmarks, including how to pass HiSETs, make it into community college, and apply for financial aid to help offset additional college costs.

“It’s a great opportunity for individuals like me who were stuck in the streets and were thinking, ‘This is it,’” says Francisco Depina, a 32-year-old CRA who’s been involved with CBD since 2006, when he was a student working toward his GED.

Now he works with students like Franklin to keep them on a path toward college. This isn’t always easy. Many of the Boston Uncornered participants under Depina’s supervision grew up like he did. At age 2 his father abandoned his family, and by high school he was involved with a gang, selling drugs. His penchant for brawling in the hallways eventually got him kicked out of the Boston public school system. “In school I remember being told that by the time I’m 18, I’ll either be dead or in jail,” Depina says. “I really believed that once—that school wasn’t for me, that education wasn’t for me, that the street was it.”

Boston Uncornered participant Alex Diaz takes notes during a math class taught by College Bound Dorchester instructor Ismail Abdurrashid. (Andrew Zaleski/CityLab)

Intervention from a CBD employee eventually turned Depina from the streets. Simple things, he says, slowly chiseled away his hard exterior: games of chess on a stoop, or casual phone calls just to check up on him. It’s those experiences Depina now draws from to go back to the corners and convince those who grew up like him to follow his lead. “When they see that someone cares for them the way someone cared for me, they’ll listen to you,” he says. “Eventually, they’ll follow.”

What College Bound Dorchester is attempting through Boston Uncornered is not without risks. As in other programs built around similar models, some participants may not have entirely left their lives of crime behind. (In 2015, for example, guns and drugs were discovered in a Safe Streets office in East Baltimore.) CBD did a trial run of the program January 2016, when it took seven core influencers who had either a GED or high school diploma and began paying them to attend classes at Bunker Hill Community College or Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Of those seven, two were re-arrested. One had to be rushed out of the state on a Sunday morning after his former gang put a bounty on his head. Another one, as Culliton says, “just played us”: He pocketed the $400 a week and lied about going to classes. Only three stayed the course. Of those, two are still in college, while the third recently got his HVAC certificate and is now working.

Since that trial, the nonprofit has worked with about 200 core influencers. About 85 percent of them are still taking classes at CBD, and roughly half are enrolled in college. Participants so far have shown a 71 percent drop in recidivism. With the launch of Boston Uncornered in May, CBD plans on scaling this work to reach about 600 core influencers. That would cost $18 million over the three years, $5 million of which goes toward paying student stipends alone. (So far, CBD has raised $4.8 million.)

Is that money well spent? Considering that the state of Massachusetts spends about $53,000 per year on a single prison inmate, it could be. The worry from some critics is that Boston Uncornered participants who can’t stay the course might obstruct the education of their college peers. “Lots of kids spend lots of money to go to school,” Brian Kyes, chief of the Chelsea, Massachusetts, police department, told the Boston Herald. “I hope there is no disruption.”

But Culliton emphasizes the more intangible benefit of the program: He’s seen participants grab hold of the second chance they’ve been given after realizing that, for so many years, they actively played a role in destroying their own communities. “We know that when you give people the means to make a choice to focus on education, they do,” Culliton says.

As Franklin can attest, he’s now on a path he never thought he’d walk. Growing up in Dorchester, Franklin was raised by a mother and grandmother who were addicted to drugs. By age 12, he was involved in a gang. By age 21, he was in prison. A decade later, he’s getting ready to study sociology and psychology en route to earning his associate’s degree. He says he’d like to use his education to reach out to kids living the sort of hard life he knows all too well.

“I always wanted to do good in my life. I just felt like because of the area I lived in, because I got involved in gangs, I couldn’t do it,” he says. “This program is giving us a stepping stool to better our life.”

Connecticut law enforcement officials urge employers to consider ex-offenders

Posted by on Apr 29, 2017 in Activism | 0 comments

NEW HAVEN >> It’s been just over two months since Patrick Mortley, 53, left prison for what he says will be the last time.In a matter of weeks since his release on Feb. 20, Mortley got a job as the safety officer on the Green, and he couldn’t be prouder.“It’s uplifting when I can walk someone to their car at night,” he said, adding that the same people he helps now may have been scared of him on the Green in the past. “When (someone) sees my uniform now, they feel safe,” he said. “Do you know what that feels like?”

Mortley spoke on the final panel at a second chance event held for employers at Gateway Community College Thursday morning as someone who could give witness to the power of giving an ex-offender a second chance.

Advertisement

Hire One: Give Someone with a Criminal Record a Second Chance was hosted by the U.S. attorney’s office and was an opportunity for employers in the private sector to hear about the work being done by law enforcement to help former offenders re-enter society, as well as testimony from people who have hired people who have previously been incarcerated.

“This is not just about doing the right thing, it’s about creating safer communities,” Deirdre Daly, U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut, said in her opening remarks. “We support reentry. We believe in reentry.”

Daly said approximately 600,000 people leave state and federal prisons every year across the country and within a year of release roughly 60 percent are arrested again.

“This is not sustainable from any perspective you want to look at it,” she said.

From a law enforcement perspective, Daly said the U.S. attorney’s office has undergone a transition in the last few years to be more focused on reentry and not just processing cases of convicted felons and moving on.

The U.S. attorney’s office has a Reentry & Community Outreach Coordinator, retired New Haven police Capt. Holly Wasilewski, to assist ex-offenders.

Assistant U.S. attorneys in her office are also a part of the state’s first Reentry Court, run by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer. The program is meant for people leaving prison with a history of violent crime and provides them with resources and support in looking for jobs, managing family relationships, and readjusting to the community.

Meyer said that during Reentry Court meetings, held every other Wednesday in open court at 4:30 p.m., he does not wear a robe or take the bench. He said it’s important for him not to do that so they know that he’s not talking to them as a judge, who is tasked with determining the sentence of a criminal, but rather as a person who is concerned about their future.

“Our goal is to show them honor, dignity, and respect,” Meyer said.

At the local level, New Haven Acting Police Chief Anthony Campbell said the department is aware of when former offenders are reentering the community from prison. He said it’s a goal of the department to reach out to those individuals and support them on their journeys.

Campbell said he often tells his officers that if former offenders are arrested again, the department has failed them.

“We can be a source of hope for them,” he said. “When we talk about reentry, we’re not just talking about statistics. We’re talking about people’s lives.”

On the employer side, the event’s keynote speaker, Kevin Myatt, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Yale New Haven Health, said it’s up to employers to be willing to give people a second chance.

“The people who have been incarcerated … those individuals are looking for an opportunity,” Myatt said. “What if we said to them, ‘We believe in you.’”

Yale New Haven Health has the Having an Opportunity to Prepare for Employment (H.O.P.E.) Program that Myatt said has helped more than 400 people get trained in various jobs. About 10 percent of those participants have been former offenders, he said.

Dan Jusino, executive director of EMERGE Connecticut, also spoke at the event and said that he hires former offenders because he gets a high return on his investment. He said people coming out of prison have something to prove, families to work for and support, and are highly motivated to get their lives back on track, and all of those qualities make for good employees.

EMERGE staff are all former offenders, Jusino said, and they are willing to do work that others will not — including planting trees in the pouring rain this week or cutting concrete to help make bioswales for the city in frigid temperatures this winter.

“The more I invest in these folks, the better return I get,” Jusino said. “There’s a genuine desire and motivation to work.”

Prior to going on stage for a panel discussion about getting out of prison and trying to reenter society, Mortley said he has been in and out of prison since 1988 because of criminal activity mostly fueled by substance abuse. He said his biggest fear, even now after he has already gotten a job, is that someone will throw out a job application because he is a former offender.

“I still fear that question,” Mortley said prior to taking the stage. “It’s a stigmatization that can run you back to jail.”

WORK OVER PRISON: ILLINOIS SHOULD EXPAND RECORD SEALING

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in Activism | 0 comments

Research shows that recidivism rates drop for ex-offenders who are able to find steady employment.More than 90 percent of employers in the U.S. conduct criminal background checks for some applicants, and more than 70 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks for all job applicants, according to a 2012 study from the National Consumer Law Center.

More About Past & Future Corp

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Sources & Information | 0 comments

My name is Anthony Brown, Founder of Past & Future Corp. We are a  startup (pre) nonprofit entity dedicated to helping ex-offenders (returning citizens) gain employment and become productive and valuable members of Florida’s Panhandle communities. But not only are returned citizens in our scope, we offer the same opportunities to veterans and those who desire to change his or her quality of living. We understand that navigating through the process of gaining skills outside of the traditional methods can be cumbersome, thus we will assist in the process.

More than 650,000 individuals are released from prison nationally every year, and half of them have committed crimes that are not violent. They face staggering challenges as they try to reintegrate into society. Finding employment, a place to live, and a means of transportation are just three of their immediate needs.

Based in Okaloosa County, Founder of Past & Future Corp. has developed an eight-month program that provides job training, skill development, personal mentorship and spiritual/ethical guidance during a critical time in a returning citizen’s life. Not everyone meets our criteria for participation. Above all, those who qualify must display an aptitude for learning and a genuine desire to make a decisive change in their lives.

With our help, returning citizens become proficient in technical skills that are in high demand by local businesses. In addition, they learn how to deal with life issues, are immersed in our faith-based values, and develop a respect for authority. At the end of the eight months, they are prepared to successfully move forward in their journey to a better future.

The success of our program depends on the team of partners that we develop. We not only are looking for qualified instructors and mentors, but we are also reaching out to law enforcement agencies, chaplains, faith-based transitional facilities, employment agencies, and businesses that may be willing to hire our participants.

This last category is especially critical. Not every business owner understands the value that a returning citizen can bring to their business. Since most returning citizens find it difficult to get jobs and re-enter society, they are deeply grateful and loyal to any employer who gives them a chance. Beyond that and the skills that they offer, employers who are willing to hire returning citizens can apply for a ‘Work Opportunity Tax Credit’ and are eligible to participate in the ‘Federal Bonding Program,’ which limits an employer’s risk, liability, and insurance costs.

We are currently reaching out to you to ask for your help in assembling this important team. If you would like to partner with us, or if you have any leads that we can tap into for this purpose, we would be deeply grateful. The following quote is at the core of what we are trying to accomplish: ‘Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.’ The author is unknown, but those few words say it all. For more information, please call me at 850-865-9145. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and welcome your involvement.