Dedicated to the amazing Greyston Bakery and to justice involved individuals in Sarasota, FL and Hackensack, NJ
By Jon Singer
Learn more about my free speech fight at bit.ly/FreeSpeechFightOver and thank god I prevailed 🙏😮💨✊🏽
Like my idols Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, and other civil rights leaders and pioneers who are my heroes, including Chicago Seven mischief makers Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, I’ve committed the crime of calling out injustices by criticizing people far more powerful than I, time and again.
Our so-called justice system can be a living nightmare. When I was in jail my cousin Evan said “he did the crime and now he has to do the time” and he was right. There is no real presumption of innocence in our country because they seem to arrest you first and lock you up and ask questions later; and that’s been my experience especially as a result of a long running feud with the Office of the Bergen County Prosecutor.
We’ve had a highly contentious relationship since 2015 when I embarrassed a prosecutor nationally by sharing what she had written on her open Facebook page about driving practically naked, texting while driving, and threatening to punch a five-year-old who was bothering her daughter. Amazingly she and her friends and family members wrote many posts about her drinking problems like it was all one big joke.
This woman who clearly felt she was literally above the law was no stellar role model for the prosecutors of tomorrow; in reality she is the laughingstock of law enforcement in the county. After she mistreated and falsely accused me several years ago when our fight began, I was angry and sent her damning Facebook posts to criminal defense lawyers throughout New Jersey, and to prosecutors and attorneys general all over the country, thoroughly embarrassing her, and she deserved everything she got.
Her mother told my attorney at the time that I practically gave her a nervous breakdown and what a travesty that she continues to hold her job and hasn’t resigned.
This prosecutor and her partners in crime have been trying to get back at me ever since and they’ve gotten pretty good at it too.
I have been repeatedly locked up and defamed with outrageous false accusations for years, that keep getting thrown out, including terroristic threats, when the only real threats were to the reputation of the this prosecutor.
Unfortunately people believe everything they read and some newspapers are slow to remove articles filled with false headlines. As a result, misstatements and twisting of the facts can permanently damage good reputations whether or not an individual is ultimately found guilty of a crime.
This angry and bitter prosecutor and her associates have sent their own private police officers to arrest me more than once, like a kid calling in a false alarm, painting me as a dangerous criminal, when I am simply dangerously silly and sarcastic, and put them at risk of having their misconduct exposed.
The only pain I inflict is from hurting feelings via email and on social media and the truth hurts. In one case my charges outrageously stated that I threatened to “shame and embarrass” a prosecutor. The arresting officers, part of The Prosecutor Police, couldn’t believe what they read on the charge sheet and wanted to get a drink with me after I was released to hear all about the misdeeds of their bosses.
Despite ultimately proving my innocence, and having the terribly false charges dismissed including stalking and obstruction of justice, I have spent months and months in jail and as a result have PTSD in from all the stress and trauma from multiple arrests and lock ups.
Incarceration is a fact of life for countless good citizens in our incredibly unfair and unjust system of justice and it is often cruel and unusual punishment.
In this book I share some strange, funny and sad stories about a number of men I’ve met, some of whom have made very poor choices and, in some cases, have committed unforgivably violent crimes.
I will also share lessons learned about giving people second chances when they are released, regardless of the crimes, to help them repay their debts to the victims and their families, and society as a whole, which can benefit us all.
I’m so grateful to Greyston Bakery for helping to open my mind to the possibilities.
Thank you for reading my story and please send any questions via my LinkedIn page and I’ll try and respond as quickly as I can.
Jon “Facebook Finger” Singer
This book is dedicated to all the men I met in the Sarasota and Bergen County jails who kept me entertained and sane while incarcerated, mostly for opening my big mouth and criticizing judges and prosecutors, for what were violations of my First Amendment rights.
These individuals were often funny and kind and there was practically never a dull moment, and it taught me a great deal about empathy and about not judging a book by its cover.
Far too many people are misjudged and mistreated by the criminal justice system, which weighs heavily in favor of the State, especially for individuals who are often misrepresented by overworked, underpaid public defenders, who are sometimes accurately referred to as public offenders or pretenders.
While there are many highly qualified and determined public defenders who passionately fight for their clients, they are often severely outgunned by what seem to be the unlimited resources of prosecutors, and are too often ineffective in helping inmates to fully assert their rights.
This book is also dedicated to Greyston Bakery, and their employees, a remarkable organization founded by Bernie Glassman, a practitioner of Zen Buddhism in Riverdale, New York, who wanted to help individuals in his community and ultimately in Yonkers, New York.
According to Greyston, “In 1982, Bernie Glassman, a Brooklyn-born Zen Buddhism teacher, was living with his students in a home called Greyston Mansion located north of Manhattan. Along with the Zen Community of New York (ZCNY), Bernie opened a small bakery café nearby as a way to employ the students.
The café successfully supported the students, but Bernie wanted to do more. His Buddhist beliefs drew him to community development and work with the homeless and unemployed. His opportunity came when the mayor of Yonkers invited the ZCNY to move the business to his city. At the time, Yonkers had the highest per capita homeless population in the country. The ZCNY sold Greyston Mansion, closed the café, and moved into one of Yonkers’ most troubled neighborhoods. There, an abandoned lasagna factory became home to Greyston Bakery.”
Bernie Glassman had the radical idea of helping people with criminal records, who have a hard time finding employment, by hiring with no questions asked to give them second chances.
Fast forward to today and Greystone employs nearly two hundred individuals, and helps with housing and a variety of different social services and supports in the community.
Greyston also helps other companies learn how to use their method of “Open Hiring” to create employment opportunities for justice involved individuals.
As a result of being introduced to Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream years ago, who asked if Bernie could make lots of brownies for their ice cream, Greyston now makes over 30,000 pounds of brownies a day and has touched the lives of thousands of formally incarcerated individuals and their families, making the world a better and sweeter place.
Through their Center for Open Hiring, Greyston makes an impact far behind Yonkers and around the country, by helping companies learn how to offer their groundbreaking Open Hiring methods and, with The Body Shop, around the world.
Thank god for Greyston Bakery and all of their amazing people, and for all of the companies and individuals that are learning from their great example, and providing jobs to people who badly need them and need to be reintegrated into society.
Learn how this all began in 20 Years of Advocacy.
(c) 2021 Jon Singer All Rights Reserved