Historic… Awesome… Now Here’s Why.

On August 31st, a group of talented entrepreneurs and CEOs from various communities of color cohosted the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange. I, along with most people, think that’s simply awesome, and applaud such inclusions of diversity within our centers of institutional trade and finance.

However… what most people won’t immediately realize from this photo is that these men and women, almost all people of color, also have a criminal justice past. But today, they have transcended expectations, leaving a prison uniform for a business suit. So, what does that tell us?

Well, it should tell us that people can indeed change. It tells us that, given some support and a bit of opportunity, transformative things can occur on an individual, family, and community level for some one who has a long past felony conviction. AND… it says that so many more can do the same.

This is why I am asking all those within my professional network (and those outside reading this) to consider supporting a humble effort to showcase these success-stories. From Bars II Beyond is a refreshing , not-for-profit, reentry & media startup that aims to​ support and​ spotlight the many men & wo­men who​,​ despite their current or post incarceration​,​ are transcending expectations as the success-stories we rarely hear about.​ In addition to developing a docu-series to share some of these amazing journeys, we’ve developed a workshop curriculum to teach at-risk-youth new media & video production. Not only will they learn a really cool and marketable skill, but their graduating projects will be a 1-minute video featuring a transformed and inspiring figure from a local community.

As a show of your support, please consider joining us at our first annual Fundraising Mixer on September 15th at our LIC/NY production studio. We will be live-casting a few interviews and other segments of the event via our FB page. If you’re in the area that date, it’s our hope that you’ll come and meet some of the entrepreneurs shown in the NYSE photo above, hear from a special guest, enjoy a bit of soul-food, join our photo-shoots, and be inspired.

To RSVP (soon, space is limit), add yourself to our FB Event group HERE or request a formal invitation to me at shakoure@fbiib.org. Otherwise, we’d love to have you make a Donation!

With your support, a real difference can be made in the lives of so many who in turn can make a difference.