When I think about my greatest motivation in life, that title would be dedicated to my wife and family. From a young age, my family provided essential support during tough times. They spurred me to pursue my life purpose of advocating for society’s underserved communities. My wife, Betty, showed me the importance of extending my gifts and talents outside the confines of limiting titles to reach my most significant potential. Carrying these teachings and values into my career caused me to be an avid wellness advocate for the Correctional sector and a devoted humanist.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I was a curious but under-engaged student and stellar athlete. With the dream of competing in the Olympics, I attended Junior College, participating in track at the collegiate level. After I experienced an injury that ruined my track experience, I joined the Marine Corps, where I was promoted twice and served as a jet mechanic and plane captain. Even as a successful military member, I experienced racism from my colleagues. Once, I physically confronted racism, which resulted in non-judicial military punishment. This situation fermented my determination for equitable and transparent justice.
After completing my Active-Duty term, I served the California Youth Authority as a Group Supervisor, later to be reclassified to Youth Correctional Officer. This time in my life proved pivotal as I matured and became a passionate advocate for human welfare. From Job Steward to Chief Job Steward, I worked my way up in the organization until I was elected as the local Chapter President. During my 13 years as Chapter President, I was unwavering in my support for maintaining focus on people over systems. I served in influential roles such as the Chair of Legislative Affairs and even the Director of Governmental Affairs.
Having experienced how agencies misplace priorities away from individuals, lives, and humanity to the maintenance of the operations of the Correctional system. I am committed to ending the system’s ongoing harm to those in its care and service. It is an honor to serve as a board member of many impactful associations, including the Child Abuse Prevention Center, Black Youth Leadership Project, Desert Waters Correctional Outreach, Governor’s Cup, Creative Acts and Foundation for Independent Voter Education, and the California African American Political Action Committee.
It’s been a humbling experience to share space and conversation in the White House, Congressional briefing, and multiple Correctional Behavioral Health and reform conversations. I am also the Chief Law Enforcement Consultant of the Correctional Climate and Officer Wellness Research Projects. I ideated and implemented materials for the California Correctional Mental Health Awareness training, among many other initiatives, including upcoming Correctional documentaries. My favorite aspect of my career has been engaging with people and uncommon thought processes while learning more about how to serve others best.
When away from the office, I lean into family and enjoy spending time with my wife, relaxing by reading a new comic book, and spending time with my granddaughters. Even when not working, I can often research and discover new ways to contribute to a more positive and productive Correctional environment. A system’s only value is its inherent service to humanity. I am dedicated to reforming the Correctional system to benefit affected individuals and bettering society. Staff wellness, legislative and public resiliency, reformation, and education on the current impact of the Correctional system are the keys to effective and lasting change.