Episode 26 Re-Release: “It’s a legal system not a justice system” with Guest Dr. Craig Waleed

Episode 26 Re-Release: “It’s a legal system not a justice system” with Guest Dr. Craig Waleed

June 30, 2022
Episode 26 Re-Release: “It's a legal system not a justice system” with Guest Dr. Craig Waleed
Dr. Craig Waleed helped facilitate our “Voices of Passion” event on June 18th, which focused on addressing the issues that push Black and Brown people into the judicial system - specifically education, police brutality, housing, and employment. We wanted to re-share his podcast episode so you can learn more about his experience in and out of the justice system and the impact it had on his life.
In this episode, Dr. Waleed tells us about his background, the community he grew up in and circumstances that led to him being incarcerated, as well as the path he followed through higher education after getting out, and the book he wrote about it all. He discusses ideas for how to address violent behavior in young people and what changes need to be made in policing, including adjusting what all police are responsible for as they are often asked to do too much. Dr. Waleed explains what he thinks a compassionate judicial system could look like, including utilizing education and encouraging incarcerated people to find their path so they can go back to their communities to build them back up.
More about Dr. Waleed:
At the age of nineteen, Dr. Waleed was incarcerated for eight years in New York State prisons. During his term of incarceration, Dr. Waleed earned an Associate of Arts degree from Canisius College. Following his release from prison in 1997, Dr. Waleed continued pursuing higher education. He eventually earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Science with a concentration in Substance Abuse Counseling and a Master’s of Science in Mental Health Counseling from the State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport College. In 2017, Dr. Waleed completed a Doctorate of Education from St. John Fisher College. His Dissertation focused on What Aspects of Emotional Intelligence Help Former Prisoners Make Decisions to Desist Crime?

Dr. Waleed previously served as a Substance Abuse Counselor and as a Reentry Case Manager for post-incarcerated citizens. He has engaged with various student bodies on several college campuses in New York State and sat on community panels exploring carceral matters. Dr. Waleed was also a guest speaker at TEDx SingSing 2020. He has created and facilitated Emotional Intelligence training, taught Counseling and Communication courses in Higher Education and is the author of his autobiography entitled “Prison to Promise: A Chronicle of Healing and Transformation.” Dr. Waleed is dedicated to excellence in teaching and scholarship, disrupting the community to prison pipeline, and reducing post-incarceration recidivism. He aims to educate and motivate others impacted by the criminal legal system to challenge and overcome life’s impediments and live a more rewarding life.

Episode 44: Justice Movement with Guest Lisa “L.A.” Jones

Episode 44: Justice Movement with Guest Lisa “L.A.” Jones

June 28, 2022
Episode 44: Justice Movement with Guest Lisa “L.A.” Jones
We welcome another one of our Voices of Passion panelists to the show this week - Lisa “L.A.” Jones - to discuss her experience as a Black female prison warden, what she thinks is sending Black and Brown people into the justice system, and her current work with Hayti Reborn - Justice Movement, an organization she founded with retired Durham Police Chief Steven Chalmers with the intention of bridging the gap between community and law enforcement to create a system that supports justice-served individuals.

After detailing her past - including the poverty and trauma that impacted her life - L.A. explains how she got into working in the prison system and the challenges she faced as a Black female warden. She knew the best way to learn was from inside the system - to find out why the law is enforced so differently for Black and Brown vs. white people, as well as why the same people keep coming back to prison, specifically focusing on the lack of re-entry programs that are available. L.A. believes getting to the root cause of “why” something is happening is essential in understanding each issue and healing the community. She explains that it’s not just the incarcerated person that’s impacted - it’s the entire family that ends up being justice involved, especially the kids. BJ and L.A. discuss how Black and Brown communities blame each other (and kill each other) for these kinds of issues, rather than address them and the system that created them directly. This comes back to the importance of education and voting - now is the time for Black and Brown folks to make a change, and BJ and L.A. discuss what they believe is possible.

More about Hayti Reborn - Justice Movement: Justice Movement | Haytireborn

More about Lisa “L.A.” Jones
Lisa A. “L.A.” Jones (a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina) is a retired corrections administrator in the federal corrections system. L.A. spent her 30-year career in a variety of correctional positions and environments, becoming among the highest ranking African-American women in the federal prison. Her education consists of attendance at Southern Nazarene University, in Bethany, Oklahoma where she received a BS in Family Studies & Gerontology (Counseling Psychology specialization) and Saint Leo University, where she received a MS in Criminal Justice (dual specialization of Corrections & Behavioral Studies). She is currently a seminary student at Meadville Lombard Seminary School in Chicago, IL.

At the height of her career, L.A. decided to take her education, experience, and understanding of systems of incarceration and reassign those talents to the area of holistic re-entry programs and practices that create systemic change for justice-involved individuals, their families, and the communities in which they live. Her passion lies at the intersection of Criminal and Social Justice, where she works hard to bridge the two. All her work is done through a spiritually holistic lens. As a retiree, L.A. returned to Durham, NC where she is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Movement Operations for the Hayti Reborn – Justice Movement. She serves as a member of the Durham Sheriff’s Community Advisory Board and Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Southern Coalition of Social Justice. She is a poet, genealogist, and member of the William C Friday Fellowship for Human Relations in North Carolina.

Episode 43: How to Call 9-1-1, Part 2 with Guest Jeryl Anderson

Episode 43: How to Call 9-1-1, Part 2 with Guest Jeryl Anderson

June 23, 2022
Episode 43: How to Call 9-1-1, Part 2 with Guest Jeryl Anderson
We are excited to welcome Jeryl Anderson back to the podcast - especially after she was on our Voices of Passion panel on June 18th! She always has great educational information to share about how to properly utilize 9-1-1 (listen to her first episode on the podcast for more!), specifically the importance of “don’t hang up”, even if you call by accident.

After explaining her emergency communications work - including the new telecommunicating training system that was launched this year - Jeryl talks about her perspective as a Black woman 9-1-1 telecommunicator. She explains the Black and Brown experience using 9-1-1 and emergency services; the fear associated with it, as well as how they invite law enforcement/responders into their homes for a variety of reasons (domestic violence, mistrust in healthcare, reporting each other, etc.), and what can be done to change that. Jeryl gives an overview of the 9-1-1 system in NC, how training is shifting to community colleges, and details about her outreach coordinator job. She goes into the community to teach people how to properly use 9-1-1, what a real emergency is, and what to call if it’s not an emergency so you don’t clog the system. Jeryl believes making a change starts with educating children and sending information home to their families so they can learn too.

Listen to Jeryl’s first episode on the podcast! Episode 30:

New Mental Health Hotline: The Lifeline and 988 : Lifeline (

More about Jeryl Anderson
Jeryl Anderson has worked in public safety emergency communications for over thirty years. She is currently employed at Orange County Emergency Services, as the Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator, and recently accepted a position with Durham Technical Community College, as their Coordinator for 9-1-1 Training. Jeryl has been a certified instructor since the 1990’s and has vast experience in classroom presentation, including curriculum and testing development, online course development and implementation. She is proud to have been at the beginning of the Telecommunicator Certification Course for North Carolina Telecommunicators, during her time as a Criminal Justice Instructor Coordinator with the NC Justice Academy, where for eleven years, she taught, edited, and implemented the curriculum across the state of North Carolina. Jeryl is an experienced online instructor, conference speaker and event coordinator. She is an RPL (Registered Professional Leader) and CPE (Certified Public Safety Executive) through National APCO and an ENP (Emergency Number Professional) through NENA.

Episode 27 Re-Release: Holistic Education with Guest LaManda Chestnut-Pryor

Episode 27 Re-Release: Holistic Education with Guest LaManda Chestnut-Pryor

June 20, 2022
Episode 27 Re-Release: Holistic Education with Guest LaManda Chestnut-Pryor
After our “Voices of Passion” event on Saturday, we wanted to re-release this episode with LaManda Chestnut-Pryor to bring the importance of education to the forefront of our discussion on how to make lasting societal changes, especially for Black and Brown communities. LaManda shared a lot of wisdom with us at our event, especially this gem: “Until we strengthen the family, we cannot strengthen the child.” As an advocate for holistic education, LaManda believes the success of her students relies on helping the whole family - not just the child.
In this episode, LaManda talks about her work as a principal and transformational educator, especially in schools with predominantly Black and Brown students. She tells us about her holistic approach to teaching that involves tending to the mind, body, and soul of not just her students, but the entire family. She describes the importance of addressing violence and trauma in our communities, how that affects kids in school, and creates the need to include social and emotional learning in everyday instruction. LaManda also explains how some schools are so focused on testing that they lose the essence of the kids - her school measures their success in other ways. It is also one of a handful, and the only minority school, participating in Peaceful Schools in North Carolina - a program that works to create a healthy school climate.

More about Lamanda Chestnut-Pryor

LaManda Chestnut-Pryor thrives as a transformational educator, leader, and children’s advocate serving the North Carolina and New York communities for over 20 years. Her current role as the principal at a charter school in Durham, NC has expanded her expertise as a passionate and innovative leader. Combining her educational background, years of being an administrator and teacher inside of inner city schools with her practical community, family and parental experiences, LaManda has created real life steps to address the disparity in school discipline. She is relentless in her pursuit of establishing a safe, caring and nurturing learning environment that promotes acceptance of the individual and puts the kid’s needs first. By focusing on continuous improvements to the processes of conflict resolutions and developing the child’s self-esteem, LaManda feels that as far as our children’s learning potential is concerned; the best is yet to come.


More about Peaceful Schools NC: Peaceful Schools NC

Episode 42: Restoring Trust & Respect with Guest Dr. Jonathan Wender

Episode 42: Restoring Trust & Respect with Guest Dr. Jonathan Wender

June 8, 2022
Episode 42: Restoring Trust & Respect with Guest Dr. Jonathan Wender

We are joined this week by Dr. Jonathan Wender, co-founder of POLIS Solutions - an organization created to improve safety and restore trust in communities through its officer training program. Dr. Wender explains how police go most often into disenfranchised neighborhoods, typically those with people of color - “Police touch society where it already hurts the most” - and how this impacts the officers and community. POLIS’ goal is to improve the interactions between police and citizens by training officers to treat each person with dignity and respect through their T3 training. BJ and Dr. Wender discuss the development of BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) over the past few decades, as well as the trouble departments are having hiring new officers and how they can get people to serve again. They debate whether education should be required for policing, what departments should be looking for in officers, and how to improve the effectiveness of police training. They end the conversation by discussing the way both policing and community view each other and how to change that to improve trust and relationships moving forward.


YFO is an advocate for the work POLIS is doing to improve police training and rebuild relationships, trust, and respect with the community. These are essential steps toward reimagining policing, and directly connect with our previous episode about Jacques Gilbert’s Blue Lights College, where they are preparing the next generation for this moment. Blue Lights College instills in its students "community before policing", building trust, service, and humanity. POLIS is instilling the same thing in current officers through its training and we are big supporters of that work!

More about Dr. Jonathan Wender
Jonathan Wender is a twenty-year police veteran and interdisciplinary social scientist.  His area of expertise is face-to-face social interactions in critical situations where risk is high and trust is low.  Jonathan has broad experience developing and implementing training programs that integrate social and tactical skills, and is lead developer of Polis Solutions' T3 - Tact, Tactics, and Trust training system. Prior to co-founding Polis, Jonathan helped develop and launch the Strategic Social Interaction Modules (SSIM) Program at DARPA, and served with the program as senior advisor.  Jonathan previously served on the faculty at the University of Washington in the Department of Sociology and Law, Societies, and Justice Program. Jonathan is widely recognized as a subject-matter expert on police-community interactions, police use of force, officer decision-making, police training, and other related topics. He holds a Ph.D. in criminology from Simon Fraser University (2004). Jonathan is the author of Policing and the Poetics of Everyday Life, a multidisciplinary analysis of police-community encounters.
Episode 41: Community Before Policing with Guest Jacques Gilbert

Episode 41: Community Before Policing with Guest Jacques Gilbert

May 5, 2022
Episode 41: Community Before Policing with Guest Jacques Gilbert
We are excited to welcome Jacques Gilbert to the show this week! Former Captain of the Apex Police Department, current Mayor of Apex, and founder of Blue Lights College - a police preparatory college in Apex, NC. After hearing about his background and current work (and success stories!) with Blue Lights College, Jacques and BJ discuss the next generation of law enforcement and how to instill in them important concepts like humanity, building trust, service, and “community before policing.” They discuss the stigma attached to policing in Black culture and ideas for how to change that, as well as how current officers can handle that when they go into the community. They end by discussing how the community needs to hold their agencies accountable by filing complaints and getting involved. It’s essential to get as many people as possible in the room to make lasting, effective change for the future of law enforcement. Everyone can be a part of the change.

More about Jacques Gilbert
Jacques Gilbert is a native of Apex, North Carolina where he currently resides. In April 2019, he retired from the Apex Police Department at the rank of Captain with 29 years of service. In addition to graduating in the 220th FBI National Academy, he has written three books, is a certified personal trainer, and is the founder of TheVine919. In 2015, Jacques was invited to the White House and recognized by President Obama and awarded "Champion of Change" due to his work with youth to build the Rodgers Family Skate Plaza in downtown Apex, and he was also recognized by the city with the Community Service Award. In 2016, Jacques was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Apex Chamber of Commerce.

In 2017, Jacques launched Blue Lights College, a community college in Apex with the mission to bridge the gap between community and police by attracting and training a new generation of youth and police to approach conflict with compassion through the pillars of Faith, Purpose and Trust.

In November 2017 he was awarded Tarheel of the Week by News & Observer. He also received several other community service awards, and in 2018, Jacques was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Governor Roy Cooper.

In November 2019 Jacques was elected the 32nd Mayor of Apex, North Carolina and was sworn in on December 3rd 2019 making him the first black mayor to be elected in the 149 year history of Apex. Jacques is married to his wife Meshara and his children include Logan, Kalabria and son-in-law Joshua.

Episode 40: Emotional Regulation with Guest Sam Peterson

Episode 40: Emotional Regulation with Guest Sam Peterson

March 31, 2022
Episode 40: Emotional Regulation with Guest Sam Peterson

In this episode, we welcome Sam Peterson from the Durham Crisis Response Center to discuss his work in schools and the impact his programs have on improving kids’ emotional regulation. After telling us about his background and how he got started at DCRC, Sam talks about the important topics he teaches, including how to handle relationships and identify toxic/abusive ones, understanding toxic masculinity, as well as how to sit with their anger and learn coping mechanisms to deal with their emotions. Harmony chimes in to discuss learning consent about touch and understanding love, especially when coming from the point of view of a survivor of trauma. Sam also emphasizes the importance of mental health and how to “start with yourself” in terms of assessing your own biases, especially when related to trauma and helping kids understand emotional regulation.

More about Sam Peterson
Sam Peterson is the Rape Prevention Education Coordinator for Durham Crisis Response Center. This role serves the community by teaching youth, hosting roundtables, educating people about sexual assualt and domestic violence prevention, and more. Currently, he's teaching middle schools about Healthy Masculinity. He is also a writer and an artist, and lives in Durham with his cat, Walter.

Contact Sam:

Episode 39: ”Listening to Comprehend, Instead of Listening to Respond” with guest Sgt. Isaiah Ruffin

Episode 39: ”Listening to Comprehend, Instead of Listening to Respond” with guest Sgt. Isaiah Ruffin

March 2, 2022
We are excited to welcome Sergeant Isaiah Ruffin of Clayton PD to the show! At YFO, we believe that the future of police reform and the change the community and industry are seeking will be led by the leaders in the building now that are working toward building mutual trust. We believe in Officer Millennial, Officer Gen Z and Officer Future. Change is happening, and Sgt. Ruffin is a great example of current leadership in organizations that understand this moment and know their work is about customer service and building trust. We welcome you to listen to this important conversation about creating change and training the next generation of police officers.

After telling us about his background and the unique story of how he became a police officer, we dive into a discussion about how Sgt. Ruffin feels as a Black male police officer and the changes he wants to make for the future of law enforcement. He emphasizes the importance of active listening, patience, and effective communication for other officers trying to navigate this moment, especially when dealing with defensive or reactive people in the field. Sgt. Ruffin explains how he works to “be the change I want to see” as he sets an example to mend the relationship between law enforcement and the community, while also training the next generation of police officers. We close out the show by discussing the complaint process, and encouraging all community members to file complaints when necessary and to have the tough conversations about policing with all people.

More about Isaiah Ruffin
Isaiah Ruffin has been in law enforcement for 21 years, and is currently a Police Officer for the Town of Clayton, NC. He started his career in 2000 as a Patrol Officer at Crabtree Valley Mall. Crabtree sponsored Isaiah to go through Basic Law Enforcement Training to become a police officer while still employed with them. He was later hired by Selma Police Department in Johnston County, NC, and assigned to the Patrol Division, where he worked for 5 years. He then moved to the Clayton Police Department where he has been for the last 16 years. While with Clayton he has worked in Patrol, Community Policing, Narcotics, K9, and Swat, before getting promoted to the rank of Sergeant. As Sergeant, he has been in charge of a patrol squad and is currently assigned to the Traffic Unit and Park Police. Isaiah holds numerous law enforcement certificates, including Field Training Officer, First Line Supervision and an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate.
Episode 38: Team Five-O

Episode 38: Team Five-O

December 1, 2021
Episode 38: Team Five-O

Our final podcast of 2021! Thank you for joining us for another year of amazing conversations and even better guests. In this episode, hosts BJ and Drew discuss the last year of podcasts - including some of their favorite episodes and guests, like Tony Godwin, Glenda Beard, John Williams, and more! They also discuss plans for the next year of our podcast - how it might happen less often, and the kinds of guests they want to have on. BJ hopes to address police reform even more head-on by interviewing up-and-coming police officers. She believes it’s the Millenials and Gen Z’s becoming police officers now that will be the ones to make a change. To finish out the show, we bring on the rest of the Five-O team to talk about the work they do and services they provide, how they got started with YFO, and what keeps them dedicated to its success. Join us in learning more about Chris Downey - producer; Abby Bradetich - graphic/web design, social media & marketing; and Crystal Kimpson Roberts - public relations & media. If you need help in any of those areas, check them out! And -  if there’s something you want to hear on our show next year, let us know! Email with thoughts and suggestions.


More From the Five-O Team:

Downey Digital with Chris: Digital Content Producer | Downey Digital (

IlluminEssence Creations with Abby: Abby Bradetich | LinkedIn

Mountaintop Productions Public Relations with Crystal: Crystal Kimpson Roberts | LinkedIn

Episode 37: Alternative to Violence with Guests Deborah Bromiley & John Shuford

Episode 37: Alternative to Violence with Guests Deborah Bromiley & John Shuford

November 3, 2021

Episode 37: Alternative to Violence with Guests Deborah Bromiley & John Shuford

We are excited and humbled to have John and Deborah join us this week to discuss AVP - the Alternative to Violence Project. They start by explaining what AVP is, its history, how it’s used now - as a preventative tool - and why it’s effective. Often, we forget that in all types of conflict there is a possibility for a non-violent solution. AVP gives you the tools to do that, and allows you to practice them during their training. Deborah then dives into the AVP view that there is something good in every person, and how AVP works to separate the action from the person. She also explains a key concept of AVP called Transforming Power, which allows each person to tap into who they are meant to be. John jumps in to explain innate health and how they bring play into the AVP training, to create community and a safe space. He also touches on the impact AVP has had in schools, sharing statistics and a testimonial from a participant. A major step in AVP is realizing that it's an inside job. If you change how you see yourself, you can change how you see everybody else and the world. We end with BJ explaining why AVP is important to her and You & Five-O, and why we are advocating it as a part of our presentations. AVP gives everyone an opportunity to do good - we hope you’ll learn more about this incredible program and help spread their information!


Learn More About AVP: AVP North Carolina (

AVP Training: Basic AVP Online – December 3-5, 2021 (

AVP Criminogenic Factors: Article by John Shuford


More about Deborah Bromiley & John Shuford:

Deborah Bromiley is an experienced (volunteer) AVP Facilitator for over 14 years, having been the past coordinator of the AVP Program at the Baylor Correctional Women’s Institution in Wilmington DE. While in this role, Deborah coordinated the program with the prison officials, and acted as co-lead facilitator in monthly AVP workshops for eight years. Deborah was also active on both AVP USA as the Board Secretary and with AVP International as chair of the Communications/Information Committee.


John Shuford has volunteered for over 30 years with the Alternatives to Violence Project [AVP] as a facilitator of nonviolence prison inmate workshops. He has also held positions of Vice President of AVP International, President, Vice President and Treasurer of AVP USA, and Coordinator of AVP Delaware.


John has led Conflict Resolution Professional Delegations to South Africa, Russia and China and has facilitated AVP workshops in South Africa, Russia, Israel, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. John has had numerous articles published in national journals about his work with corrections staff in a spin-off model based on AVP.


Together, Deborah and John established AVP in North Carolina, first getting into the Butner Federal Corrections Facility where they led numerous workshops and grew a team of inside facilitators. They also brought AVP to the community and grew the program with more outside volunteer facilitators. AVP has also now been active in two state prisons.

Letter of Support: From Santa Barbara Unified
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