May 24, 2021



“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

–Anne Lamott

Today marks the beginning of the journey to distribute 100,000 copies of “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness Volume One across America and the World. The goal is to sell 50,000 copies to fans of the cultural, non-fiction genre as well as strive to donate another 50,000 copies via the Go Fund Me, Encouraging Words Through Stories, campaign to selected libraries in underrepresented school districts, juvenile, adult male and female correction facilities.

I know first hand that books can influence and change lives… as a young person growing up, books and magazines like National Geographic, Boy’s Life, Ebony, Life, Shakespeare and other publications helped me understand that the power to escape drugs, gangs, physical abuse, homelessness and much more was within me. I was able to overcome challenges because the knowledge and vision of a broader world gave me the strength and insight to create a new life and become a positive influence in the world. Books countered life’s negativity and served as a guide post for me to do better each and every day. I want to provide that type of hope, inspiration and vision to youth and adults seeking a second chance everywhere.

I was fortunate that my confrontations with the justice system did not result in my death or long-term incarceration. But they could have… Our youth need that foundation of reading, and having the imagination to see a better world. On any given day, nearly 60,000 youth under age 18 are incarcerated in juvenile jails and prisons in the United States. In every state, confining young people – cutting them off from their families, disrupting their educations, and often exposing them to further trauma and violence – harms their development and has lifelong negative consequences.  (SOURCE: ACLU)

The United States has the largest prison population in the world, and the highest per-capita incarceration rate. In 2018 in the US, there were 698 people incarcerated per 100,000; this includes the incarceration rate for adults or people tried as adults. In 2016, 2.2 million Americans have been incarcerated, which means for every 100,000 there are 655 who are currently inmates. Prison, parole, and probation operations generate an $81 billion annual cost to U.S. taxpayers, while police and court costs, bail bond fees, and prison phone fees generate another $100 billion in costs that are paid by individuals. (SOURCE: WIKI

As a kid of a social worker, a former gang member, a soldier working with the military police / CID, the founder of a diversion Boot Camp providing youth with a reality check and second chances, serving on a task force for prison reform, serving on the Attorney General’s anti-gang task force, and overseeing the safety of Physicians, who were responsible for servicing the most violent offenders in a psychiatric correctional facility, books provided me the ability to navigate justice’s reality.

All of these evolution’s were kept in check by the perspective that books gave me along with the human support of friends. They helped me interpret what those moments meant. Although not a cure-all without changing societal attitudes and systemic changes, books and reading are truly fundamental.

We have to care for the youth of our neighborhoods, of our nation. We need to navigate and advocate for their welfare, their education, their physical and emotional long-term health. I am passionate in my belief that books provide youth with focus, perspective and understanding. The human profiles featured in “Moments in the Shadow of Greatness Volume One,” offer a glimpse of people who were once ordinary but became extraordinary because of the power of books, education, perseverance and life experiences!

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.”




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