Tony McCright on the JustUs Speaks Podcast

February 16, 2023

He ran his illegal enterprises like a business. So when he got out of prison, he decided to use those same talents for helping others build wealth through home ownership. Tony McCright joins the #JustUs Speaks Podcast.



Read the full transcript:

Lester Young: Peace and blessings to everyone. Welcome to the new JustUs Speaks Podcast from Just Leadership. I’m your co-host Lester Young.

Hakim Crampton: And I am your co-host Hakim Crampton. JustUs Speaks is being produced to amplify the voices of directly impacted people, particularly the voices of formerly incarcerated people.

Lester Young: Just Leadership was founded on the principles that those who are closest to the problem are closest to the solution but too often further from the resources and power to affect positive change.

Hakim Crampton: So on this first season of JustUs Speaks Podcast, we’re interviewing leaders from the most recent 2022 cohort of Just Leadership USA’s Leading With Conviction leadership training program.

Lester Young: Today we’re talking with Tony McCright. Tony is the City Justice Reform Fellow at the National League of Cities where he works with the Institute for Just Youth, Education, and Families to implement restorative young adult criminal justice policies at the municipal level.

Hakim Crampton: And prior to that, Tony supported research and marketing projects for change making organizations across the education and criminal justice space at Whiteboard Advisors and FreeCap Financial.

Lester Young: In addition to his work for other organizations, he has successfully launched multiple entrepreneurial ventures. His current venture, a social impact real estate investment company, BLTN Collective properties, informs, organizes, and provides opportunities for residents of his hometown in the Hampton Road, VA area to invest in their own neighborhoods.

Hakim Crampton: So while incarcerated Tony volunteered to be one of the first mentors on the young men emerging unit which was designed to provide specialized programming for men 18 to 25 years old.

Lester Young: Upon release from prison, it got accepted into Georgetown University the pivot re-entry program. His ultimate goal is to expand the opportunity available for returning citizens. Tony, welcome to the JustUs Speaks Podcast my brother.

Tony McCright: Thank you so much, I am excited to be here. I’m honored to be interviewed by two of my mentors and two of the leaders at Just Leadership USA. Thank you so much. And oh, I just want to comment real quick. I got to update my bio because I’m no longer a fellow, I’m the Senior Program Specialist now actually.

Lester Young: Hey man, as we was talking offline as we were preparing for this podcast man, I’m really excited to talk with you today. And like I said, the thing that I love about what you mentioned in your bio is that entrepreneurship toward [the] approach [of] how do we reform this system that you call, what we’re fighting against, this “prison industrial complex.” So I love your approach with that. So my quick question too is like, “What brought you into this space around criminal justice, tying that into [the] criminal legal system, tying into the entrepreneur spirit of which you’re approaching this work, man”?

Tony McCright: As you mentioned we were talking a little bit offline, and like I said wish we would have recorded that convo, too. But man the entrepreneurial spirit has always been in me. My stepfather had his own store when I was a kid so every day after school I watched how he ran the store, and from there man I just caught the bug.Even after incarceration, I still had that bug, and I realized very quickly that people who have been incarcerated, sometimes that path to economic success is through entrepreneurship. There are less barriers, ironically right, in doing your own thing because of what people receive as your background. And so what just organically happened, I went back to my community and I saw that people in my community were still being, or at least thought they were being shut out of the real estate market, and investing and buying homes. And so I found that I could still do my nine to five at NLC and then start at LLC where I can help educate my community, provide resources, and connect them to resources to buy a home or invest with us, and I realized that education component is is very important because even we have the resources, sometimes we don’t know what to do with them. So, I just tapped back into my entrepreneurial spirit and started that venture. I’m trying to bring affordable homes to some of our communities that are under-resourced and who are still feeling the ramifications of redlining and other predatory types of tactics that have basically decimated the home ownership rates of people of color. Yeah, I know we got other questions, but I can talk about that all day!

Lester Young: Yeah, but I’m just thinking, we all agree that when you’re walking out of prison one of the biggest challenges is housing. We’re saying go rent, but no one is saying, “why not think about ownership? Why don’t you think about owning a house?” It’s not complicated. I remember when I bought my first house two years out of prison I didn’t have to go through a background check. I just had the money, showed the work history, and I got run into a house. And I’m looking at buying another house, so it’s not that discriminatory practice when it comes down to buying versus renting. Hakim, what you got to say about that brother?

Hakim Crampton: Well,l you know just last evening I was on a conference call and I was presenting with the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Department of Justice on this very topic about housing and re-entry. And one of the key things that came up in this discussion about that was some of the solutions–how do we really remedy that problem? So, of course one of the widely known solutions across the country is to expand the partnerships with landlords, right? Start incentivizing landlords. Start building relationships and educating. That’s really what leadership is all–it’s about relationships. And so one of the key things that I contributed to that part of the conversation was not only do we need to be building the relationships with landlords, but key, is building relationships with individuals with lived experience such as Tony McCright who has the experience in housing, who has the expertise in housing and housing development, etc. So there’s a plethora of us like that who aren’t being pulled into that conversation. So my question and saying all of that and pivoting on that conversation you’re having is this: how do you use the tools that you’ve been building and incorporating the ones you just grabbed from Just Leadership USA Leading With Conviction program (congratulations on your graduation)? How do you use those tools and what tools do you use to enter into this kind of conversation? Where’s your advocacy at in there and what tools are you using to position that?

Tony McCright: It’s crazy how connected this thing is Hakim and when you’re asking me a question and the answer is actually connected to Just Leadership USA because you mentioned the BJA. I’m in conversation with BJA so we got to talk, we really gotta talk. So we may talk about this a little bit later, but in my nine to five with NLC, I started a national re-entry network called Municipal Re-entry Leaders Network where re-entry directors from across the country at the local level come together with higher education and community-based organizations to try to talk about promising practices to improve re-entry for people across the country coming home from jails and prisons. Part of that has led me to connecting with as you mentioned the Department of Justice and BJA, but also with Housing Urban Development. In our first meeting these leaders from across the country said that when it comes to re-entry, housing is the number one issue on their minds and the number one topic at the city level. WithJjust Leadership USA, when I said there’s a tie-in to that, I learned how to network. I learned how to open my mouth, and, as we say, I demanded a seat at the table. I didn’t say, “Hey, can we talk DOJ?” I use my network to say, hey, not, can we? Introduce me to these people so I can have a seat at the table, and I can bring my network, and we can talk about how to improve re-entry housing issues. So, having that seat at the table and not just having a seat at the table, but demanding to speak and be listened to…because a lot of people have a seat at the table, but they ain’t allowed to open their mouth, or if they are nobody’s really paying attention, it’s just checking the box thing, right? One of the things of course you know we preach at Just Leadership USA is you know we’re going to be heard, plain and simple. We’re gonna have a seat at the table. We’re going to be heard.

So, using that experience from the Leading With Conviction cohort, man, it sounds simple, but it’s been a tremendous help because I have the confidence to go in front of Amy Solomon, the Deputy Assistant to the Attorney General and raise my hand when she’s in the meeting to say, “hey, my network partnered with the Department of Justice on these issues you’re talking about and all this money coming down for re-entry, can we have a direct connection?” Knowing that I have what 16? 17? I don’t know how many cohorts we got now? Just cohorts and cohorts of people who have been incarcerated fellows from Just Leadership USA who I can turn to as a resource to help me, to back me, to stamp it, but it all comes back to this Just Leadership USA training, the connections I’ve made here, our network and not being ashamed to say, “Yes, I’m a person who was in the criminal justice system. That’s an experience and that’s something that everyone can learn from.” I applied that to my housing, to my nine to five, my LLC, and everything I do.

Lester Young: It’s a powerful thing to see how you could add to your training as a leader going through the Leading With Conviction. You get more tools, and as you said, there’s nothing like being a part of the alumni network of Just Leadership. I remember when I first joined Just Leadership, and I was in DC at this networking event, and I had on the Just Leadership shirt or something, and man I got welcomed in, and I got introduced to people I knew that I would have never gotten a chance to meet if I did not have some type of association or connection with Just Leadership. That’s just the brand recognition of this organization that it has–no matter what room you walk into–it’s someone in that room to say, “Hey, I know about that organization!” It’s definitely one of those things that allow you that leverage, and it’s important that we use that leverage to open these doors, and not open them but kick them down and get the things done. [Music]

Just Leadership USA amplifies the power of directly impacted people by investing, educating, empowering, and elevating their voices, so they have the tools and resources to self-organize and advocate for themselves, their families, and their communities. Together, we build an equitable, fair, and just US. To date, over 1400 leaders in 45 states and in Washington DC, are hard at work transforming people and communities who are harmed by mass incarceration. Please partner with us to bend the arc of criminal legal reform by donating to our leadership programs today. Our network of leaders is strong and growing. Together, we’re building local power for national impact. Every donation supporting JLUSA and our leaders has a ripple effect across families, communities, and generations. With your support, we can continue working together towards our singular vision of a just, equitable future for all. To learn more, go to backslash give 2023 that’s backslash g-i-v-e 2023. [Music]

Lester Young: My quick question too is, what is that vision you have as a leader and the work you’re doing around entrepreneurship and housing for those who are coming back into our communities from incarceration?

Tony McCright: I’m glad you asked and came back to that because you said, it was you two years out [when] you put money down and bought a house. It sounds easy, and to me it’s easy. For you and I, it might be easy, but to some people coming home, they maybe don’t have the same resources, or maybe just have that fear…I haven’t done an official poll, but as I talked to my community, it’s just fear. They see that number: oh, this house costs $300,000 or $200 or half a meal, and that’s the number they see. But they haven’t been through that home buyer’s education process and can say, “Okay, this is what you got to put down,” where you may not have to put down anything. Or, someone coming home and that was actually my goal when I started. At first I was like, if I can do it, I know other people coming home, just like you said, can do it too. But then there there’s this mindset, there’s mental barriers, there’s financial barriers…I want to be a leader, whether it’s…it doesn’t have to be on a large scale, but in my community, in three different areas now, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and DC area, and if I can be a case study in what can be accomplished coming home from incarceration when it comes to housing, I’ll be that. But on a smaller level, I just want to keep helping individuals, neighborhoods, communities, understand that this is possible–that home ownership is the biggest factor in creating generational wealth. That’s why our people lag behind because we are not buying homes at the rate that people [who are] not people of color are buying them. We’re not holding on to them, and we’re…our neighborhoods are just being seen as a resource for other people to come in and invest and take that money out, and that’s why black dollars don’t recirculate in our neighborhoods, and so that housing issue is so tremendously important. I just want people to realize that. If we can prioritize that, whether it’s someone coming home from incarceration, or someone who’s lived in the same neighborhood for 30 years and never thought about buying a home, we have to make sure that they understand that this is tremendously important for our future.

Lester Young: I see a lot of brothers, not a lot, but I see a few people that I know that was incarcerated with me are individuals who have made it known through social media they’ve been incarcerated have gotten into real estate and have been successful with real estate by buying homes, flipping homes, a game or something that has been done 20, 30, 40 years in other communities. But you find younger people who are coming out of incarceration with the entrepreneurial spirit getting out now buying real estate, flipping real estate, buying houses, dilapidated houses, wholesaling them–all of that stuff was a completely alien thing in our community and now to see that in the community, it’s powerful and especially from brothers and sisters who coming home from prison who learned that and now really executed at a high level. Yo, you could–from prison, to profit through real estate. It’s a powerful thing to see that man, so I like that vision that you have and continue to execute that because we need more individuals to educate our community about home ownership, real estate investment, passive income, all of those things that will allow you to continue to build upon that generational wealth.

Tony McCright: Well, you said something earlier–we have the skills, we have the tools when we get incarcerated because a lot of times we’re using our entrepreneur’s spirit, just in a direction that led us down the wrong path, right? I was one of those people. I ran my black market business like a real business. I was worried about profit margin, logistics, and cutting costs, good networking. So all those things I applied, but it landed me in prison, right? But, I do the exact same thing that led me to prison, just down a different road, different mindset. I do the exact same thing–I look at my costs. I look at logistics. I look at profit margins, but it’s in this real estate game. It’s the exact same thing, it’s just how you apply the skills that many of us already have. And when it comes to a lot of brothers getting in the real estate game, and I do see that, and the only thing I want to add is, I want people to be conscious about how they’re flipping these houses. Who these houses are going to. What communities [where] they’re doing this thing. Because if you’re going into the community I grew up in, and you’re flipping the house without being conscious of who’s going to buy this house, then yeah your pockets are getting fat, but what about the people who have lived here for 20, 30 years? And now all of a sudden the services are coming in. And so when people talk about gentrification, gentrification isn’t always bad. The definition is improvement of services, but the second part is the displacement of the people who have been there. You bring those services in, that’s the bad side of gentrification–we want to get these services and improve our neighborhoods, but we want to be here to take advantage of those services and not be pushed out, right? So, that’s where the conscious part comes in. Yeah, everybody’s flipping houses today, but not a lot of people are talking about who they’re selling it to. Who the people are that are moving into these houses. Are they the people who have been here for 20, 30 years paying rent? You know what I’m saying? Dealing with the trash, dealing with the lack of internet services, with the wires hanging from your house, and now they want to come in and hide the wires and improve internet service. Yeah, that’s great, but now you want to raise the rent about two times. Houses going up. Now the people who lived here all this time can’t afford it. So that’s where I want to add that difference–I hope that our brothers and sisters start taking a little more time to think about that part of the house flipping game. Bring other people along with you.

Hakim Crampton: Absolutely, that’s the motto, that’s what leadership is all about. Invest in others’ leadership. I mean you got a solid foundation already built. Grab these leadership practices. You imbued them in yourself, and you’re practicing them. So, what are we going to see in your future in the next five or ten years? What are you really building for the future that we can see in this work that you’re doing?

Tony McCright: Man, that’s a great question, and I’m working on that now. My LLC is currently part of a startup incubator at Halcyon in DC where I’m getting advice, coaching, pro bono lawyers. I’m going to start a non-profit arm in the next year or so, so quicker than five to ten years, so that long-term vision is to get into this definitely full time and use my model of allowing people to invest with us. We we also hire from the community, whether it’s day workers or minority owned businesses, teaching people how to buy homes, partnering them with, leading them to someone who can help them with getting financial help if they have low credit scores, and then putting them in the position to either buy the house that they’ve invested in, or another house. So, in five to ten years I would like this model to be, not just local, I would like this to be the standard when it comes to community development and whether it’s just plugging in where other businesses have gaps and maybe not use a whole model, but come in and and partner with communities across the country, that’s where I see myself in five to ten years. And even if it’s not under our name, this model being the standard of how to engage the community in true neighborhood development.

Lester Young: I love it man. It’s powerful. Like I said before, I love the angle you’re approaching in this criminal legal system, fighting advocacy is you’re looking at it from that entrepreneurial mindset of how we can actually continue to create wealth by using our lived experience and as you mentioned prior to your incarceration you already had that education, you just was moving the wrong product.

[Music] We are so excited to invite you to the Just Leadership USA Ninth Annual benefit Gala Monday June 5th, 2023 at PhD rooftop Lounge at Dream downtown in New York City. We’re excited to bring JLUSA leaders, allies, and advocates together in person to unite around our shared values and propel our vision for the future. During the last year we’ve made significant strides in building our capacity and infrastructure to become the only national systems change movement and policy table led by and for directly impacted people. This coming June, please join us for our first in-person celebration in over two years. Learn more at backslash Gala that’s backslash g-a-l-a [Music]

Lester Young: I know a lot of the listeners are saying, “Wow, I love what this brother is saying around real estate.” I love that angle. We practice gentrification and [it’s] empowering our people in the community and allowing them to benefit from the resources.

I know the books that I sat in prison, and I read. I give credit to so many books that I’ve read in prison to put me where I’m at today. What are the top two or three books that you read around business that continued to add that value to you while you were in prison?

Tony McCright: Man, one of them that stuck out as you know–reading was a respite. It took you to another world outside of prison even though you were locked up, right? You could read a book and you could be anywhere you wanted to be for a couple of hours. One was the Economic Hitman I think it was called. I don’t know if you ever heard of it? It was this guy talking about how the economies across the country kind of work together–I’m not gonna say a conspiracy aspect–but how they’re all connected, and how they’re built to make sure that the higher-ups continue to stay the higher-ups. There’s an Economic Hitman part one and maybe a part two. That was one, and then there are so many books that I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read until I was incarcerated. I should have read, right? W.E.B Du Bois and I went back and reread the Invisible Man even though that has nothing to do directly with entrepreneurship, but just making sure I don’t forget that the people in front of me were invisible, felt invisible at one point, or were used as a tool. I promised myself that I would never be that invisible man. If I’m in a room, you’re gonna hear me. You know, I may not look like what you think I should look like, or sound like what you think I should sound like, but you’re gonna hear me, right? For some reason those two just stick out. They’re totally opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to reading.

Lester Young: Not really, not really.

Tony McCright: You’re right because they definitely put me in a mindframe of understanding global economies, how global economies work, and then also from a humanistic aspect of making sure that I keep that on the forefront of my mind when I’m speaking. Even though I may not have a JLUSA shirt on at the time, an…because I’m forefront about being incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, that even if I’m asking, people are gonna look at me and say, “Okay, he’s representing formerly incarcerated people.” I have to remember that. First not to be invisible, and when I’m on the platform that I’m representing a lot of people. And so those kind of keep me grounded, and keep me on the right path.

Lester Young: Yeah, I like it because you think about W.E.B DuBois, I think it’s called, “The Talented Tenth.” Educate 10 people, that 10 people multiply. So, it’s almost like in this re-entry space now, Leading With Conviction, we train 20 people, 20 people go impact 40 people, 40 people impact 80 people, and it just continues to create this ripple effect. And as you said we’re dealing with, we’re coming from being invisible with a felony conviction and how do we make that that much, how do we make noise? It’s mostly creating that talented tenth formula that W.E.B DuBois said. So, I suppose it’s all related.

Hakim Crampton: Absolutely, let me ask you this, Tony: after just recently graduating Leading With Conviction, you talked about its impact already. We really stressed in that training program about increasing the effectiveness of your leadership, and so in looking at your leadership and looking at how you utilize the tool sets there, what does leadership really mean to you? And how does, what leadership means to you, what were the tools in Just Leadership, that you found to help you enhance your leadership based on what leadership means to you?

Tony McCright: So, leadership to me is using whatever platform you have. You don’t have to have a big stage and got to be in front of people. I could be a leader while I’m working on a house and someone comes up to me and says, “Hey, bro, I need a job.” Well, what are you doing? What’s your mission and explaining to them what I’m doing. Or, I could be in front of the Attorney General, I can be in front of the Equity Czar from the White House. My job, I’m blessed that it affords me the angles to see what happens in bureaucracies at the federal, state, national level. But from Just Leadership USA, the most important thing I learned, and it was one of our first trainings, was finding that common value. I can go to anybody, I don’t care what level you are, and I can do a little bit of research, find out what position that you stand on, and articulate that we may not see how we’re going to get there the same way. We may not have the same kind of path on how to get there, but we share a value. I can find something with anybody I’m speaking to and relate to them, and then I turn a potential enemy into an associate, a connection, a network. Maybe not a friend, but someone who no longer sees me as someone who’s an enemy, and maybe now we can advocate for each other, or I can at least continue to advocate for my group of people with that person who may be in a position of power.

Lester Young: We call that the VPAS brother.

Hakim Crampton: It’s values-based messaging, right? You know communication is a cornerstone of leadership.

Tony McCright: I appreciate y’all. That was one of the most important things I learned was that finding common value because if you walk into a room with someone, and you have that mindset, “Okay, this person is against me, or I’m against that person,” you’re never gonna get what what you need out of that meeting. You’re just gonna butt heads. But if you say, “Okay, housing is the number one issue facing people coming home from incarceration, and you know that person agrees, they may think that maybe certain funds shouldn’t be spent on that right now. And I may think it is, but we already agree that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed and then we can go from there. That’s that common value. That’s a fact. I said I’ve surveyed re-entry directors from across the country, that’s the number one issue. Hakim, you just spoke on it last night. It’s a huge issue, so we already know that that’s something we can agree on. And then it comes into navigating and using more of our leadership skills to kind of figure out the nuances and how to reach a common goal.

Lester Young: As we’re getting ready to wrap this podcast up man again, we really appreciate you sharing all of the information and the tools you learned throughout Leading With Conviction. Also I just wanted to, before I go…this question is around self-care. We know that self-care is so important and on social media yesterday, I saw all these “rest in peace” to this guy named Stephen.

Tony McCright: Was it Twitch?

Lester Young: Boss, right, the dancer. Now, I remember following this guy when I was in prison when they was on this dance show. I love the way he moved, and I started following him. He became a DJ for Ellen for The Ellen Show, and he was just that vibrant person that just everybody was like, yo, I love his Tick Tock videos. I love how he just exuberated so much joy. But then we heard the sad news that he committed suicide in the hotel, he shot himself. We did bring back into the forefront the conversation around mental health, especially for Black men, formerly incarcerated Black men, like that’s a real serious thing. So my question is, what are you doing Tony, in light of preserving and protecting your own mental health through self-care, brother?

Tony McCright: Lester, man I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me about mental health and self-care. I mean, the first step is admitting it. I’m terrible, right? And the mentality came from being incarcerated and having that “no days off” mentality. Because everything is regimented to keep your sense. So it’s opposite almost [when you’re] incarcerated. You have to have that everyday, scheduled regimen to make it through the day, or you might go crazy in there, right? Because you know something throws you off that schedule, it throws your whole day off, it throws your whole week off, and it may land you in the shoe or something like that. Because you want that regimen, you want to work out every day, twice a day if so. Go to work, come back, shower, read your book. That schedule has to be regimented, and so I remember having a sign on my wall that said NDO. No Days Off. When Just Leadership USA started, and we had to make our vision boards, I put “no days off” on my vision board because to me it was working, making up for lost time, making sure I never got in a situation where I had to sit and sit on time. So, to me coming out, I’m gonna continue that “no days off.” I’m working two jobs–a job starting my LLC, still volunteering, picking up the kids and doing the father thing, and never in my mind did I think, “I need to take some time off. I need to practice self-care. I need to go on a vacation. I need to just stop for 20 minutes and meditate.” So, at the end of our cohort I took that “no days off” off and put a scene indicating [that] I wanted to take a vacation. My mindset has switched because I see how fatigued I got very quickly, how a lot of things fell off by working all the time and not sitting, and planning, and resting, and recharging. I was making mistakes that probably wouldn’t have made had I sat, paused, and recharged. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer that says, “Oh, yeah I do this,” because I’m really not good at it, but I’m a work in progress. Meditating, and I’ve started actually seeing a therapist, which you know in in our culture sometimes is taboo. People don’t want to talk about it. I see a therapist now–I have a coach who’s more like a therapist. They’re a business coach, but we don’t even talk about work yet. We talk about my mental health. We talk about my vision, my goals. I’ve learned to not be ashamed to say, “Hey, you know I’m gonna talk to somebody. I’m gonna get some help. Not that I feel like I’m going crazy, but I don’t want to go crazy. I want to make sure people don’t have that stigma that seeking mental health support is something bad. Even my doctor told me the other day he’s been seeing a therapist for years–he thought he’d have two sessions, and he’s been going for five years now just because it helps him out. You might not have an issue that’s terribly important, but having someone who he can confide in and knows that they’re helping him and doesn’t have an ulterior motive–it’s something great. So, that’s one thing that I’ve done recently. I hope (as we talked about before we started) to get in a position where I can get everything lined up and just disappear for a couple days of recharge. No computers. No phone. No work. Sometimes it’s okay. Was it Shonda Rhimes or Stacy Adams that had The Year of Yes or something like that? I think that was her book, but it’s okay to say, “no.” Because you can’t help other people if you’re not taking care of yourself. So, that’s one thing that I came to realize very quickly.

Lester Young: Empty glass can’t pour into another glass.

Tony McCright: Exactly.

Lester Young: Right, so take care of yourself on that. Hakim?

Hakim Crampton: Yeah, absolutely that was a powerful and important segment. Mental health is crucial. Let me ask you this: during your leadership training with us, I recall you having a phenomenal vision. You were able to present your vision board. I’m curious for you to share with everyone, what is your motto in life? Take your vision board and put it into words for us without us even seeing it right now.

Tony McCright: Mmhm. Hey Hakim, you’re giving me the hardest one at the end. Because my vision board as you know, it changes, right? But my motto, and man it’s connected to what we talk about all the time. [My motto] is to jump out there and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Being a leader doesn’t mean you’re perfect. You got to take chances, you got to take risks–the right chances and the right risk. Being a leader sometimes means showing people you’re vulnerable, you made a mistake, and you got up and you dusted yourself off and you kept going. With that my mindset, that’s my motto, and at the same time I want to leave a legacy to my kids first of all and let them know, “Hey, yeah Daddy fell down. Daddy didn’t do the right thing, but you know better, and you saw me get up.” And now, I’m showing that mistakes aren’t the “end-all.” We all need second chances, sometimes third chances, sometimes fourth chances. So on my vision board with that work and with that leadership comes that need for respite, that need for rest, and sometimes some a need for help, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. That’s the whole circle. After that work, after you do what you got to do, take a break and get back to it.

Lester Young: Hey, Tony, we coming to an end on this podcast, man. Again, we at Just Leadership really appreciate you for all of the work that you’re doing, and of course man you’re representing even after graduating Just Leadership, you still are representing the organization. You’re representing yourself and your family well and truly being that model of what it looks like for a person to get out of prison and turn that lives around. So, I just want to thank you for your time and for what you shared with us with us today. Continue to be great and do the things that you need to do. Hakim, you got any closing remarks my brother?

Hakim Crampton: Not at all my brother, just keep leading with conviction. We appreciate you.

Tony McCright: Thank you, I appreciate you all so much. People on this on the other end of this podcast don’t realize that y’all are tremendous, and phenomenal.

Lester Young: Thanks brother, anything you want to leave with us man? Some wisdom for the audience in your closing remarks, my brother?

Tony McCright: Nah, I don’t have any catchy end phrases. Yeah, I gotta work on that. It’s my first podcast, thank you so much. I gotta get a catchy end phrase, but man, just just keep at it. If you’re listening and you’re someone like us who’s been incarcerated, don’t be ashamed. We’re out here, we’re for you. There’s a network of people fighting on your behalf. Maybe next time I’ll have a catchier end phrase, but we love you, and we’re fighting for everybody.

Lester Young: Thanks brother, thanks man. Thanks everyone. This is the conclusion of the JustUs Speaks Podcast. Be blessed, peace.

Tony McCright: Peace. [Music]

Your donation to JLUSA empowers directly impacted people.

Thank you so much for supporting our mission here at JLUSA! Your donation helps to support our network of leaders working to dismantle oppressive systems and uplift people and families impacted by mass incarceration across the country.

All charitable donations made to JLUSA are fully tax deductible, as allowable by the IRS.