“My name is Rachel Campbell, and I’m straight up off the block.”
These are the words that Campbell uses when she stands before her women’s group at the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility (ACF) each week. What she means is that she too has stood behind those bars looking out at a world that has offered neither kindness nor help when she desperately needed it. She knows what it feels like to be “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” and she has paid the price for giving up on herself and her dreams.
Campbell grew up in a poor family with a single mother and nine siblings. She loved her family, but ongoing issues of abuse and neglect led to feelings of hopelessness and anger — feelings that often drive teens to unhealthy choices. She left home early and began spending time with men and women who further diminished her chances of a happy or healthy future. Continue Reading →
By Dwight Hobbes
“I was tired of seeing our youth in the community hopeless, lost without leadership and fatherless.” That could be just about anyone talking about conditions that have gone on in Black communities for what by now feels to many of us like an eternity. It could be just about anyone who gave up hope and walked away, if not finding a way to leave the community then just turning off mentally and emotionally, no longer caring. Instead, exactly the opposite, it’s Minneapolis MAD DADS CEO and President V.J. Smith, explaining why he rolled up his sleeves and stepped to and, in October of 1998, established the Minneapolis Chapter of Men Against Destruction-Defending Against Drugs and Social-Disorder, Inc. (MAD DADS).
V.J. Smith, right, in the streets ‘promoting hope’
A mere glimpse at statistics exposes the need for Minneapolis MAD DADS. In 2001, African American males were 32 percent of all prison inmates in Minnesota with 25 percent of all arrests in the state occurring in Minneapolis. Continue Reading →