Prison B.R.E.A.K. is an acronym for Building Relationships Empowerment and Knowledge.
Throughout the years, a lot has changed about me. I have become wiser, more humble and my perception on life has changed. One thing that has always remained the same is the love in my heart and the pure joy I get from giving back to those who make a way for others. This past weekend was an incredible reflection of the way I live and feel, as I celebrated another year to get it right.
A few days ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to witness 51 years of life. In those 51 years, I have had failures and triumph. Somedays, I took more than I gave and other days I lost more than I won. One thing I can confidently say is all of those experiences have led me to exactly who I am today. A lot of times during moments of reflection we are quick to dig up regrets and beat ourselves up about our past, but I’m here to remind you that every experience molds and prepares us for better days.
I am beyond grateful to stand tall as the man I am today. I look at birthdays as a fresh slate and a perfect chance to give thanks and to celebrate. Celebrate who you were and who you have grown to be. A lot can change in a year and my continuous hope is to grow into someone greater as the years progress. I also want to be a role model and a bright influence to my children, my peers and others watching from a far.
When I went to prison, I was often reminded of the intangible things that I lost. Time with my family and laughs with my friends were things that I missed most. Even still I knew that everything happened for a reason. I knew my story was being written a certain way so that I could help and heal others one day. I’m pleased to say I have been living in those days and it feels amazing.
Last year for my 50th birthday I decided to have an award show, but not for me. I wanted to honor those who have inspired and helped me throughout my journey of life. Being surrounded by love, sharing memories, dancing and lifting up one another made me feel complete. I felt whole as each piece of my heart was swelled with affection for everyone in the room. I knew I had to do it again.
June 10, 2018, I took the event from Atlanta and decided to spend this year in my hometown of Detroit. The Roostertail, which is an upscale banquet hall located off the water in downtown Detroit, was packed with people I have passed in different walks of my life. I honored Detroit go-getters, small businesses, artists and some for simply spreading love in the city. The room was filled with delicious food, live music and smiling faces.
My favorite part of the night was watching those I honored give their acceptance speeches. Hearing stories took me back. They also helped me remember crucial turning points in my life that made me the way I am. Knowing that something as simple as recognition could restore faith and inspire someone was better than any gift money can buy.
This was more than a party. This was a celebration of life. A celebration of second chances and a reminder that we all can win together. Family, ask yourself this- do you take the time to celebrate yourself and others? Do you take the time to refresh your mind and recycle positivity? If the answer is no please think about adding a lot more positivity to your life.
Remember that every day you are blessed to live is a new opportunity to be a positive force in the world. Second chances exist and you are worthy. You don’t have to wait until your birthday or the new year to grow and change. Start today and make sure to bring others along for the ride. Spreading love is the best way to get love in return and love fuels our hearts. A fueled heart is an ambitious heart and an ambitious heart has no limits.
I want to give a special thanks to those who made it to my birthday celebration physically and in spirit. The amount of love I received for my birthday is appreciated. Thank you to everyone I honored. Know you inspire me today and always. I’m grateful for every lesson and friendship. Also, thank you to those who continue to support the community. Your work is needed and know you are loved. Let’s continue to work together and let us continue to love one another.
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