We are the proud father and stepmother of Abdul-Wakil Kamal, who was gunned down by police in 2013. Abdul-Wakil was unarmed, intoxicated and more likely suffering from mental illness. Like so many other people of color who are victimized by law enforcement, he too was criminalized before his lifeless body was covered up or removed from the scene of the crime.

My husband and I have been fighting for justice for Abdul-Wakil nonstop since his death. I was a featured panelist in the PBS documentary called, “The Talk”. I was also one of panelist for Mother 2 Mother, a conversation between Black and white mothers about “the talk” that women of color must have with our children. It was an honor to be a part of more than 30 such conversations.

When a child is stolen from you, and justice alludes you - as a parent you feel helpless and some days hopeless. Yet we keep pushing forward. One way in which we do so, is with the Abdul-Wakil M Kamal Memorial Foundation.

Because of the criminality placed on the victims of police brutality, we started the foundation to address unemployment, lack of employment skills and opportunities individuals coming home from prison face. Recidivism rates nationally are near 70%. Which means that within 3 years of release approximately 2/3 of those released are rearrested. It means that within 5 years of release, 76.6% are rearrested for either the same or similar offense which lead them to prison or because of a "technical violation". A catch 22! Here is what we do:

We secure renovation and remodeling projects and teach persons on parole and probation employable, marketable skills in the trades, such as plumbing, electrical and carpentry. As participants learn, they earn and can meet obligations and support their families. We are currently experiencing a 96% success rate among the participants who have come through our program. This is huge and exciting! Our next project has been identified as The Matin House, a residential and service base home for survivors of human trafficking and we are ready to work. Your help is needed on both fronts and this is important work! We firmly believe if underlying issues and concerns are addressed, recidivism decreases sufficiently in the prison population and increases survivor rates among victims.