The day had finally arrived. Sunday, Feb 17th, I traveled to the beautiful city of Oakland, California for the Obama Foundation MBK Rising conference. For me, the My Brother’s Keeper movement has the potential to be the biggest game changer in working with the most at-risk youth, especially those that have been or are going through incarceration. As a criminal justice reform advocate and law enforcement professional, I am honored to have been invited to participate at the conference with Dr. Jim Bostic, Mr. Edward Lawson and Dr. Reginald Hudson from the Nepperhan Community Center, City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Dr. Edwin Quezada, Superintendent Yonkers School District, and everyone else who represented Westchester County and the great State of New York.
Northern California is known for being, what I would describe, as the center of positive disruption when it comes to technology changing everything from the financial industry to the aerospace industry. We live in a different world today than we did just two decades ago. And for those that know me, I am always referring to how the criminal justice and social service systems need “strategic disruption” if we as a Nation are going to stop mass incarceration of our citizenry and truly break the cycle of poverty, crime and homelessness. This conference shows me that strategic disruption is within reach for these systems through the sharing of practices, ideas, and challenges, and by getting more elected officials and government leaders of these agencies involved with the advocates and nonprofit providers. Change is happening and our young people will have a real chance to rise to their full potential.