We have inadvertently kind of been following Mr. Forte since W commuted his sentence from federal prison in December. We first saw him at The Roots opening night at the Highline Ballroom where he blessed the stage and was officially welcomed back to New York. He has passed him on the streets of SoHo and we have posted one of his videos on this blog. His presence is gigantic and his words are powerful. We caught him tonight at Restoration Plaza in the Stuy speaking to a group of brown and black young adults from BK as he put it.
The young people were about to receive certificates from NYC Justice Corps. They are young folks who have been involved with the law. This is their shot to not fall off the edge completely and spend 7 years and 4 months in prison like John Forte did.
The teacher who gave the invocation talked about, experience being the greatest teacher. Having a black President, the young officer Omar Edwards who was (I believe viciously murdered by a white cop), slavery and John Forte from Brownsville, Brooklyn.
John Forte came to the stage smiling and gave a brief history of himself. He spoke to them as a man with knowledge and shared his thoughts...He said things like, a life of success can turn into a life of disaster in an instant. Your best friends can become strangers, you rather look like a million bucks rather than save a million bucks.....He shared how in prision he felt like a "chump" not a baller. He explained that him still living is proof that a mistake can be over come. He told this graduating class to celebrate their achivements of the program. That they are stepping stones to a greater life.
He also shared a quote by William James "man can alter his life by altering his way of thinking." I am going to assume that some of these young brown and black skinned kids have never heard or listened to simple sayings such as these.
He sang 2 songs for them. This was about the summer of 2009 graduating class of the NYC Justice Corps. Good luck to them all.
As Forte said to them "keep going, keep going, keep going, the world is yours.
As always I love Bed Stuy.
Shout out to Bed Stuy Blog! Thanks for keeping us in touch with the "goings on" in Bed Stuy.