Motivational Speaker, Author and Prison Reform Advocate Dejean Talks is shedding a light on what he calls a broken prison system and using his platform to encourage change.
Talks, who first saw inside of a prison cell when he was six years old as a Haitian refugee aboard a leaky boat with his father and dozens of other men seeking asylum in the United States as targets of political persecution, knows too well the impact that prison can have on families especially Black men.
“I think the entire prison system needs to change as it represents a system of suppression for Black Americans”. Said Talks. He further noted; “The laws in this country are written in a way where we are almost always disenfranchised. We commit the same crimes as Whites and get stiffer penalties. That’s just not fair and it should not be legal.”
According to the Sentencing Project, “Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx Whites.” The report further noted that “Nationally, one in 81 Black adults in the U.s is serving time in state prison.” www.sentencingproject.org
With that backdrop, Talks is using his platform to push for prison reform while empowering youth to take up more productive forms of entertainment to avoid possibility of a life of crime. Talks motivational speaker platform specifically targets the children of incarcerated people because of their likelihood to repeat the generational prison cycle.
Dejean said, “I just want the Black boys and girls of this country who has an incarcerated parent to know that there is hope. You don’t have to go down that same path that a father or a relative went. That is why we encourage kids to take part in productive activities to expand their network and knowledge of what is possible in life.”
Children of who have an incarcerated parent are three times as likely to have mental health issues such as depression, learning disabilities, and are more likely to end up in prison also.
To provide support for the children of inmates, Dejean started the Restored Apparel Clothing Line- a faith-based clothing line with social justice mindset for impact. The organization donates a portion of its proceeds to the Robert & Cachet Daley Scholarship Fund for Children of Inmates. The fund provides scholarships to eligible Broward College Students who are currently or previously had a parent incarcerated in a state or federal correctional institution.
The organization’s website notes; “Nationwide, prison recidivism is 67%, meaning 2 out of 3 inmates wo are released return within 3 years. Imagine that their children are twice that number to end up in prison themselves.”
Among Dejean’s many obstacles including homelessness, prison, and sexual abuse, he still managed to overcome those challenges by achieving relative success in business and in personal development. Among Dejean’s many accolades include: 2019 40 Under 40 Black Men and Leaders of Today and Tomorrow in South Florida. SXSW speaker and presenter in 2017 & FIU StartUp Weekend First Place Business Pitch Competition recipient for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2016.
Dejean believes this is why everyone who displays an effort to change should receive a second chance from society.
“I’m just grateful to have a second chance but many others don’t have that or don’t know how to stay the course. I’m just using my past, the good, the bad and the ugly to help another person come up.”
Through his organization, Dejean continues to empower his community lending his support to community-based events, supporting children of inmates and programs that encourage personal development in our communities.
To learn more about Dejean Talks and ongoing work, visit his website at www.dejeantalks.com, www.restoredapparelco.com and www.dejeantalksmoviepro.com.