This Restorative Justice Life

108. Challenging Circles, Financial Literacy, and Restorative Parenthood w/ Fred Cooper

January 19, 2023 David Ryan Castro-Harris
108. Challenging Circles, Financial Literacy, and Restorative Parenthood w/ Fred Cooper
This Restorative Justice Life
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This Restorative Justice Life
108. Challenging Circles, Financial Literacy, and Restorative Parenthood w/ Fred Cooper
Jan 19, 2023
David Ryan Castro-Harris

Fred is one of Chicago's leading pioneers in the restorative justice movement. He is dedicated to healing wounds and restoring peace to his community using the principles of restorative justice.

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Show Notes Transcript

Fred is one of Chicago's leading pioneers in the restorative justice movement. He is dedicated to healing wounds and restoring peace to his community using the principles of restorative justice.

Support Fred & his Daughter:

Check out our LIVE Events

Support the Show.

Send us feedback at

Join our Amplify RJ Community platform to connect with others doing this work!

Check out our latest learning opportunities HERE

Rep Amplify RJ Merch

Connect with us on:
Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Threads, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

David (he/him): Fred, welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, just a brother from the south side trying to help his people.

David (he/him): who are you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, just a father that's trying to lead his daughter to greatness. 

David (he/him): Mm-hmm. , who are you?

Fred (he/him): A man who just want more for my people on the south side of Chicago and all over the world. 

David (he/him): Who are you? 

Fred (he/him): Working man. A great father and a man one day, hopefully I'll be a great husband. 

David (he/him): Who are you?

Fred (he/him): Oh man. Just a, a, a, a, a great person Overall, 

David (he/him): who are you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh man, Just I'm a great facilitator. I'm a financial literacy facilitator, just trying to do great work. 

David (he/him): A nd then last for now, who are you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, okay. Just a great man overall, a great man. 

David (he/him): Alright, Fred, thank you so much for being here.

We'll be back with our full conversation right after this. Oh my goodness, Fred, it's been a minute since we've really got to sit down and talk. We saw each other briefly last summer, but now, yes. First podcast of 2023. Really glad to be having this conversation.

It's always good to check in the fullest extent that you want to answer the question right now. How are you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, I'm doing amazing. I'm doing amazing. Feeling real good. Just got back from The Bahamas from vacation. I'm feeling real good. . 

I got some good rest. Just seeing that beautiful view. Looking at that, the beautiful water, just getting that relaxation in great food great shopping just a great experience overall.

David (he/him): Love to hear it. And I know like as soon as you got back here, I'm sure you hit the ground running and we're gonna get to all the things you have ju you've got juggling in a moment. But, you know, you've been doing restorative justice work for a minute. I, and you know, the words, quote unquote restorative justice, I think came to you around the same time as they came to me.

But you've been doing work like this in this vein for even longer. So how did this journey get started for you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh wow. I've been doing restorative justice since 2015. And how did it get started? Wow, that's a great question. So it started all at home. I was watching Netflix and I was watching a series called Chicago Land and it was a guy on there Robert Spicer.

And he was doing circles, peace circles in the high school on the south side. And there was a segment in the, on the series on that. So I was watching it and I just said, well, what is, what the heck is this? And so as I'm sitting there eating my cereal watching this, I said, oh man, I got, I gotta learn this.

I just got to, so long story short, I end up working at St. Agatha on the west side. 

David (he/him): Well, hold up, hold up. There's a podcast. Tell the long story . 

Fred (he/him): Okay. Okay, no problem. So the long story was long story, so watching this on Netflix, so I ended up I was looking for employment, got hired at St. Agatha as As a janitor?

As a janitor. Oh yeah. With Father Larry over at St. Agatha Church. And was working as a Janitor for about two, three months with Father Larry. Then he said Hey we got a training coming up on restorative justice. Would you like to take part of it? And I was like, oh, yeah, I just seen that.

A few, a few, a few months ago. I was watching that at the house. Yeah, I would love to. And he was like, oh yeah, so okay, I put you down. So he put me down. So day one of the training, I walk in, who's doing the training? Robert Spicer. I was like, oh man, I seen you on tv, . And he was like, yeah, yeah, yeah.

He was like, yeah, I didn't make no money off what we but help a platform. And I was like, oh yeah. I was like, oh my God. So honor to meet you was great. Four day training. So the four day training, we got to it, four day training. It was amazing. I remember it like yesterday. It was just so amazing sitting in the peace circles and learning the values, the guidelines, and I was just, I knew I was hooked then.

And so, yeah, that's how I got started. That's how I got started seven years ago by actually sitting at home eating a bowl of cereal, watching an episode on Chicago. Man . 

David (he/him): Love that. Love that. And you know, for folks who have been long, long time listeners of the podcast, I think Robert Spicer is, he was definitely one of the first 10.

I don't, I'm not remembering which episode it was, but go back, scroll back in the archives. And our conversation with him is there, and you know, he talks about some of the work that he did at Finger Yeah. And lots of other things. But you know, to have him as one of the first people who trained you, you know, you talked about values and guidelines and feeling hooked.

What was it about that experience of sitting in space with Robert and whoever else was in that training for four days? Like what got you hooked? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, easy. So when I like I said, when I was watching the Chicago land, I was watching this series. So when I seen like the values, the guidelines, and sitting in the circle with those people and then everybody was like, oh, I'm non-judgmental.

We just telling our stories and everybody was just telling stories. So, I mean, David, you know, my background and my history. So when, even when I explained my background in history, it was just non-judgmental. It was just like all love pouring in on each other. And so when I seen that, I said, oh man, I gotta take this to the neighborhood.

I got, I, I just gotta take this to some schools. This, this, this process, and sitting in circle, this peace circle, it's just, it was just amazing to me. 

David (he/him): Yeah, I mean, I know your background. The people who are listening don't necessarily know and so when you say like, it's a non-judgmental space, right?

There are things in your background that a lot of people judge. As much as you want to share, you know I don't have a problem. Yeah. How did you, like, why was being in a nu non-judgmental space like that so unique for you? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, because, you know, like I say, I come from the south side of Chicago and, and my life, I got into the street life, very early in life at 14, started selling drugs and things like that.

I've been shot 10 times, been to jail several times. And so that street life I was a part of that life. I was raised on that life and. , when I sat in this circle, usually when I'm, I'm, I'm telling this story, I'm being judged, like, oh, he's this, he's that. But when I said just in this circle, it was just like a whole nother okay.

Like, wow. Like they really like understood like they wasn't listening to judge. They was basically listening to understand. Right. And so, yeah. And so it just made me wanna just tell even more and more and more and more. And just in that process, I just wanted to be a part of that process. I just knew I had to be a part of it.

David (he/him): Right. So while like that training was not specifically for like, Hey, let's bring Fred into a space where he doesn't feel judged and feels comfortable in the space. Like having that, having experienced that right, made you feel like, oh, I know so many other people who need this. I need to learn how to do this.

I need to continue to do this. And you know, here we are, what is this, seven, eight years later And that's, that's been the thing that, that you've been doing. Where did it go from that four day training for you? 

Fred (he/him): So that four day training, wow. That four day training led to me actually going to a high school on the West side, Collins High School.

And I sat in circle with those kids for like once a week. And just was we, you know, we did our values guidelines and we did our circles and it was going very well, very, very well. You know, the, the students over there, you know, they was expressing themselves and they wasn't being judged and so they loved it.

We doing ice breakers we have a fun, and so I, like I said, I was only going once a week. That once a week turns it twice a week. They wanted more. So I started going twice a week and just started building with them and, and the in that space. And so one day we got appro, I got approached by a county sheriff to actually come to Cook County, then do circles and I'm like no, I'm going, no county jail and do no peace circles.

And then one day I was, you know, as I ride to work from St. Agatha, cuz I'm on the south side going to the west side. I would always ride past the county. And then one day it hit me like, you gonna be working in there? I'm like, no, I just never wanted to work in there. But sat down with the sheriff, end up negotiating just to come in there on the just to see how it would go.

And so it was 40, it was 40 guys that was locked on this, on this one deck we went on. And well, so we went, we talked to 'em and tried to see how many wanted to actually join the Peace Circus Awards. 40, but only seven joined. So I was like, okay, good. That's a start. So we get these seven guys, we doing circle for maybe like two months.

And so they, that those seven goes back on deck and tell the other guys about the Peace Circle. And so now when I come back, I got 40 guys that want to sit in the circle. So I'm like, oh my God. So now it's growing. And so now I start on one division in Cook County correctional facility. That turns into two now.

Then it just turned all over to Ford. Now I'm all over the county jail. And now I got a all division pass. When I come in, I just had one division I'm on now. I got a all division pass. I can go all over and it just spread it through Cook County like rapidly. So I've been in now for seven years now doing it over there.

And then that turned into the restorative justice community court in North Lawndale. They asked me to come over there and so I started doing free circles over there. That went great. And then from North Lawndale they want to start the one in the restorative justice community court in englewood. And so by me being from the south side, they asked me to come over there and I just kept saying, no.

Cuz these course's a lot of work. I'm gonna be a part of it, man. I've done it. Sat over here in North Lawndale for three years. I don't want no part of that no more. The coordinator Marlo, she just kept asking me, asking me, ask me until finally I broke down and just said, okay. And so I've been doing peace circles now for over seven years.

David (he/him): Yeah. You know, we, you've used the framework of circles you've talked about the framework of circles and, you know, when people think about restorative justice and a, and a restorative justice circle, a peace circle, oftentimes they're thinking about a time and a process where somebody is repairing harm.

We're addressing a specific issue or like working with somebody to meet their needs or figure out how they can repair harm. That's been a part of the work that you've done. But, you know, initially when you were introduced to circles with Robert Spicer and then initially when you started doing circles at Collins High School, and we should say that St.

Agatha and Collins High School are on the west side in the North Lawndale neighborhood. For those that don't know their Chicago geography yeah. You know, those circles weren't about that. Right. Those circles. , like what, what was the purpose of those circles for you? And even like when you were going into the county jail, the circles weren't for like, Hey, we're gonna repair harm, we're gonna like fix, like, what was your intention and what was the space that you were building for those folks to be able to do?

Fred (he/him): Oh, easy. That's easy. Oh, for me, building relationships. Creating building relationships is number one. I always tell people, like they, when they, even when they ask me, what is circles for you? I said, number one is building relationships. I don't know you. You don't know me. Let's build number two, building trust, because you know, the neighborhood that I'm from, a lot of trust is just not there.

And so now you got somebody that you can sit and talk to and don't be other. Just building that, that trust. We building community and we just building it with each other in an overall space. And then it was a, it was a great idea to go in Cook County Jail because here you have guys that's been judged all their lives.

And so now they're sitting in this space and when I came with there, I had certain criteria and circles that I went by, which is, I don't want a sheriff standing over my circle. It's not gonna, I don't wanna do it. I don't even wanna do it. I want these guys to know that anything they say in here is confidential.

So I made that be known because that's the, that's, that's a part of that circle process of being confidential. It don't matter where it said Cook County on the outside, doesn't matter. I have to, I apply those same, my same guidelines go apply in Cook County Jail. So just building that trust, building that camaraderie with guys and just building that openness, letting them just say being, being able to say something without being judged.

Cause you gotta remember, this is a jail. They're used to being judged. They're being judged every day. So now I come in, I'm creating this safe space for them to say what they want and what they feel. It went amazing. 

David (he/him): Yeah. I'd love to hear both in Cook County and at Collins High School like what you did.

Because in both places, you are not staff. You are not an employee of Colin High School. You are not an employee of Cook County Jail. And so like when you're coming in, like people. Or understandably have their guard up, like, who's this? Why is he here? Why should I trust this person? What are the things that you did to build trust in both of those spaces?

I'm sure there were some similarities, but I also know that there were some differences. 

Fred (he/him): So one of the things that I want, I went into both Collins High School and Cook County Correctional Facility, is I told my story. And so when I told my story, I just let it be known, Hey, since 14, hey, I've been in these streets.

Hey, I've been shot 10 times. Hey, I've been in jail. Hey, I'm not here to judge you. I've done some of the same things you guys did, so there's no judgment on my part. So even when I went into the school, same thing. I let them know my story. So by me telling my story and opening up to them first, it allowed them to get comfortable and tell me their stories.

And so the, the circles in both those places wasn't amazing because guess what? It was nothing but truth being spread, being spread it around in me and in circles and. and like I was telling them about my everyday life and things that I was going through as a single father raising my daughter, Hey, this is what I'm going through.

And so now they was telling me about they families. And so it seemed like every time that I would open up and tell them my truth, they would come right back and tell me they truth. And so I've heard several stories about, you know, like people losing family, if you losing relatives, you know, students lost they brothers and, you know, it circles got emotional sometimes.

And it was just, it, it just got so deep. And I, and I enjoyed those spaces because those places and schools and our, in our prisons, some of them don't get those that, that, that, that time to have peace circles and express themselves in a way where they're not being judged. 

David (he/him): Yeah. You know, schools are different than prisons in, in many ways.

Yeah. And there are similarities in that, you know, folks have to be there like right. You know, students do have some choice. Students do get to go home. Students in some cases get to decide where they want to go to school. But like, once you're a part of that school, like there are just certain things that you have to do.

I, I know, you know, the, the circles that you do in Cook County, those are opt-in. Right. You know, it is best practice to have people in circle who like want to volunteer, who voluntarily want to be there. Right. Both when you're having a restorative process and when you're just building community, people not wanting to be in that space is gonna be detrimental to that space.

And, you know, I love the example of, you know, you started with seven and like, they're like, oh no, this is cool. Like, we can invite other people into the work, you know? Yeah. It, it's, it's a, it's really the, the spirit of this work. You talked about like building relationship, building trust. You, you led with your own vulnerability, right?

Not everyone has the story of like, Hey, I grew up in this situation. I overcame these barriers. But everyone has a story, right? Yes. You should not tell Fred's story to build relationship with people. who like have, who you perceive have similar stories, right? Like, you know, my story. Folks who listen to this podcast know, like, you know, a lot of the roots and restorative justice work come from working with people who have been encountering the criminal legal system, right?

And wanting to not just find quote unquote felon friendly employers for those who, you know, have encountered the criminal legal system. But, you know, what are the ways to subvert that? Because I've had so many folks who I've worked with, Put in their applications, have 'em thrown in the trash when they fill it out, honestly.

Or get fired two weeks later when the background check comes back. And so, yes. You know, the people who I've built relationships with and I care about, like, wanting to make changes, like motivates me to want to continue to do this work. Nobody gets into restorative justice work for like the money, the fame, the riches, the

Right, right. You know, when people know that you're there for, for a reason that, that you care they're more willing to like opt into the process and you know, if they have a similar background to you, like there's often space for you to connect more quickly, more easily. But even if you don't have that similar background, just knowing that someone's showing up authentically who they are sharing, being willing to share their life, their stories with you is super important.

Fred (he/him): Yes, yes. And that's the thing, David, you know, when we do this restorative work, one, one thing we know we not doing it is for the money. , we know we not doing it there. So when I even went to Cook County Jail, one of the things that I also told them is we not making this mandatory Because they were saying, Hey, we can get the whole deck to come in here.

I said, no, no, no, no, no. We're not doing that. We're going to ask these guys and give them that choice cuz that's what restorative justice is about. This is a non-judgmental process and also is. It's not a mandate, it's not mandatory. We don't wanna make it mandatory. It's a vol, it's a, it is a volunteer, it's a volunteer basis.

Even with the courts, you know, we say, Hey, this is for you. You don't have to accept this. You can still go the same When you catch your case, you can still go to 26th. It's up to you if you want to take this. So it's the same approach that I took when I was in Cook County jail saying, Hey, we, this is not mandatory.

And I told the, all the guards and everybody said, no, we're not making this mandatory. We gonna make it vol if they wanna volunteer to do this, that's what it's, it's up to them. Because I don't want nobody sitting in, we don't want them sitting in circle. And that's not what they want to do. And then also, you have to remember, I'm coming in with a centerpiece some talking pieces in the middle of the floor in Cook County Jail.

So they looking like, what the hell is this brutal stuff right here he got going on, so that can throw 'em off. So it was just, just even explaining the process to them was, It was, that was a, a hum a hump right? Then within itself, like, let Mera this, like, okay, we gonna be sitting there, we going be there.

What? What you talking about? Ain't nobody sitting, I ain't better sit with this dude and tell my story. Absolutely not. I ain't doing that. So I got that kick back, which was the challenge and I knew I was gonna have a challenge. And so once I really got those seven and we just started just sharing our stories and, and just going, no noticing we got some of the same values in life.

And notice that, you know, even though I'm from a a a A I might be from the south, you might be from the west, but realizing. We got a lot of the same things going on here. We, we got some of the same things. And so now this same person that I probably would have never talked to in life, because he's from over here and I'm from over here now, we sitting in this circle just like, I ain't even know you was that cool like this, like that, like new and, and that's how it went.

It's just, it was just the perfect place to do it, and it just, it just went so well. 

David (he/him): Yeah, I mean, you talked about the challenges of people not wanting to like be vulnerable and share it like both with you and like, you know, the other people who they might have been at ops with right. At, at, at a different time in a different circumstance.

But, you know, the, the process of sitting down together in that way, right? Where we have these values, we have these agreements about, you know, being together a certain way, confidential, non-judgmentally. It does allow people's walls to come down and to start to connect on, on a different level. You know, I similarly did some work.

In Cook County Jail, and it was under different circumstances, right? It was still opt-in, right. But the, the circumstances that I came in were that, you know, they, they were asking for these restorative programs and what, what was confusing for me and what hurt me is, you know, I would come in the next week, right?

And then like half the people would be gone. And that, that happened for a number of reasons. Sometimes it was for great reasons. They were released and they were back home wonderful. Sometimes something popped off, right? And that person was sent to another block, someone else was sentenced and, you know, sent sent down state to, to prison.

But you know, when the things that happened, like on, on the decks happened between folks and, and there was a fight, right? I always question like, why couldn't we have handled this restoratively, right? Yes. Yeah. I'm curious, like if you had things like that happen in your circumstance and how you dealt with 

Fred (he/him): that.

Great question. Great one. So recently we had a situation in Cook County where like, where some guys had got into an altercation and it's similar to what you said, like yeah, we separated the guys and you know, we on half and half and you know what's, half the guys are out there cells, half the guys are locked in.

And so what I explained to one of the sheriff says, that's the point of us coming. That's the point of this. This is the point. This just ain't a feel good session. It's, it's just not about that. This is to sit and say, Hey, what, you know, let's get to the root of this. What happened? It was hard. , what caused the harm?

How do we stop this from happening for future situations. It, that's the part of this. That's why we're here. And so I just actually, and this and this, it's funny that you just mentioned that because I just actually sent the email down to a sheriff and said, that's that's what this is about.

And so just, just keep locking people and sending them to, you know hey, tary filing and all this other stuff. That's what we tr that's what restorative justice for me is trying to avoid. We're putting you in a 23 and one situation, Hey, let, how do we solve this amongst us and solve this amongst us? So it's, it's just, yeah.

David (he/him): Have they let you, have, they let you come together and like try to resolve those? That's what still operating on? 

Fred (he/him): Yeah, that's what we working on right now. Cause like I told 'em, I've been here too long now. There was stuff going on because on my, on objective I was working on like for months nothing was going on.

Every, we would all just continue to sit in the circle every week, every week nothing was going on. So when something did happen, they went back to they then them old ways of lockdown and this, and I said, no, we, that's why we are here. We we're here to try to avoid those lockdown situations. And so that's what I'm working with now with one of the county sheriffs is bringing that circle back to say, Hey, how, how do we sit down and get to the root of this?

David (he/him): Yeah. I mean, I am. Like, part of me is like, not surprised at all. Right? Because like, it's still a jail, right? Yes. They're going to act in ways that people who work in a jail act like the system still works in the ways that the, that the system is working. But like, it's, it's, it's inspiring to hear that like, you know, because of the relationships you've built over the last couple years, like people are more willing to like, put that trust in you to deal with, deal with this another way that is not actually causing more harm, right?

You have the skills to help, solve those situations in a way that doesn't cause more harm. But like, you know, the guys also have the capacity to, you know, work things out between each other and, you know, This is not a convers, like, this podcast is not a conversation like talking about how like terrible prison and the criminal legal system is.

Cause like, everybody who I imagine is listening to this agrees, right? We don't have to go into like all of those reasons, but you know, it, it's helpful to hear that like, even while those systems exist, while we dream of them not existing we can still do some really good work. I want to take, I want to take those two places and I'll let you decide where we go right now.

Because while you've worked in prisons, sorry, in j in jail right. You've also done work doing financial literacy classes Yeah. For those folks. And you've done work like out like tangential to that system, next to that system in courts, you want to do financial literacy or do you want do courts 

Fred (he/him): both?

David (he/him): Well, no. Yeah, but like, 

Fred (he/him): What do I want to do first?

David (he/him): Yeah. Yeah. 

Fred (he/him): Oh, oh, wow. Ooh. Which one? Let's talk about financial literacy.

David (he/him): Right? So, okay, so I, I love how you come in and like you do have spaces like that are just dedicated to sharing and building relationship. But, you know, so many of the reasons that folks who are incarcerated are because, like, they were doing something to, to make money for themselves, right? They're in bad economic situations and are trying to figure out how to not be in that situation anymore. You brought in financial literacy courses to help them take better steps and make better decisions coming out. How did that get started? What, what got you into that financial literacy space and like, you know, how did you how have you been translating that into courses that you've been teaching?

Fred (he/him): Oh, wow. So a friend of mine she knew about a financial literacy class that was going on at the bank over here on 63rd and Western Marquette Bank. And she was like, man, I really think you should take this. Financial literacy class. I'm like, no, I'm cool ma. I'm pretty good with my finances.

I'm cool. She was just like, nah, I think you could really benefit from it. So I'm like, no, I don't really need that. Like, I'm pretty cool with my finances. So I was like, you know what, I'm gonna go. And it was on a Saturday day, so I just, one, one of the reasons I really didn't wanna go, that's my day off. I'm, go on no class, no day off, but ended up going and it was a brother teaching the class that I'm pretty sure you know.

His name is Shaun. Oh yeah, he was actually the one in the class. Yeah. And we started when I seen him doing it, I realized then I said, I get it. I said, this class ain't for, it wasn't for really for me. It just for me to learn and then teach it. It just hit me right then and there. Cause when I was seeing him doing it, I was just like, oh, I see what he doing.

I didn't know what I could do. I was just looking at him as like a mentor, just saying like, I see what he is doing. I can take this same thing, just mix it up a little bit, add some more, add some more curriculum to it, and just go to Cook County Jail and explain it to the guys in a way that they could understand.

And that's what I did. 

David (he/him): Yeah. And so, so what is it that you're teaching now? 

Fred (he/him): So when I go in there with the guys in the, in the county we talk, we go over credit, we go over savings, we go over insurance, we go over, we make, I help 'em make budgets. We talk about predatory lending, we talk about the importance of a credit score.

We talk about, well, so many topics. It's just, it's just been amazing because one of the reasons why I chose financial literacy, because I looked at it like this, I said cuz you know, I got young, you know, I'm from that. And then I, I looked at it like saying, Hey, if I can teach these guys how to get credit scores up, and how to budget money better, maybe if they got these credit scores and things up, they probably wouldn't So be so quick to reoffend.

David (he/him): Yeah, definitely. And you know, how did it go from, you know, you were doing circles for. Relationship building, you know, trust building all that. What was their reaction from like, oh, we're, we're here for this now we're here for something else. What was that like? 

Fred (he/him): And I, great question, David. Great question. So the reason why I brought financial literacy into those guys is, I looked at it like this.

A lot of 'em is in there for, for, for drugs. So I said, Hmm, a lot of 'em, well, I'm looking at this financial literacy class. We talk about entrepreneurship, I talk about l LLCs making your own business. So I looked at it like this. I said, well, they know how to sell. They know how to promote, they know how to.

they know how to do all these things a regular company does. It's just, they're not just, only thing that's missing is they're not doing it legally. How about if I come in and show them how to get their llc, their legal business and show them how to do certain things. They already doing it, but just turn this to a legal thing.

They'll probably take this to legal way and do things the right way. And so since I've been in there, a lot of the guys that come out get they LLCs and they people like, man, I got my, I got my llc, man. I'm finna start this trucking business, man. I'm finna start this. I'm finna start, I'm finna start this little mentorship.

And just, and so now I look at that as it all started at Cook County Jail, just doing a restorative justice. Then listening to these guys and saying they are good with money. A lot of 'em make money. They know how to make it. It's just they don't know how to manage it. And so when I, when I took the class, the, the, at the bank, I sat down, I started getting all this, doing all this research, and got me a curriculum together and presented it to Cook County Jail.

They was, they was amazed by it. And it's been in there for over four years, now. 

David (he/him): Yeah. And you've shared a couple of the the outcomes of that, right? Are there any stories specifically that are like, oh yeah. Like, I'm really glad that this worked for, for one of the people who you worked with.

Fred (he/him): Oh, yeah. I got one of the, like I said, I got one of the brothers that started his own trucking business. We was talking about, he got his LLC, he got his business credit together and he just always thanked me for it. Started just sitting in Cook County and I got a, and I got another guy like just, just some small stories open his first bank account.

I got plenty of those that just open their first bank account, got my first credit card. Things that we have on a daily basis that we feel that it is nothing is, is, it's big to them. opening your first credit card, getting your first bank account getting your credit score up, and it's those, those small things that we do every day for us.

But to the people from the guys that's in there, they just didn't know nothing about it. 

David (he/him): Right. And I'm thinking so much about, you know, we're, we're where I come from in this work, right? An employment program, helping people find work. And the reason that people can't find work, like, as much as like Ban the Box legislation has been removed and, you know, there have been initiatives on state and on some, to some extent federal levels to like, give people second chances when they are applying for jobs, having a felony on their record that may not have been expunged yet.

Right. Those opportun, like that's still a barrier for people. Like the judgment is still there and like this way of entrepreneurship and being able to you know, hold it down for yourself, knowing how to manage your money once it comes in. Yes. It is so important, you know, I mean, that's in a lot of ways what you're doing.

Like I know you have like multiple streams of income coming in from, from different places, but, you know, having those skills, instilling that in your kid Right. Is, is is important and such a beautiful thing. Yes. So big ups. One of those other ways that you're bringing money in is the work that you're doing with the courts.

You like that segway? You know, you worked in , the, the North Lawndale rendition of the restorative Justice Community court. You're now working in Englewood. Tell us what that experience is like. There have been and before I, I let you go. You know, there have been other episodes of this podcast where, you know, people have heard about this restorative justice community court in North Lawndale.

But tell it from your perspective, , because, because not everybody listens to every, not everyone listens to every episode and you have a unique perspective. So, go for it. 

Fred (he/him): Wow. That woo. 

David (he/him): as much as you're willing to share . 

Fred (he/him): Oh wow. That was a, let me get back here one second. So that, that was a hell of a experience over there in North Lawndale, but.

I wouldn't take it back for the world because I think the challenges over at North Lawndale was because we were the first ever restorative justice court in Illinois. And so the challenges was one. The biggest challenge for, for, for me was we got, you know, we, we gotta get a staff that knows restorative justice.

That was a big challenge for me because it's like, I, how can I lead a community and talking about restorative justice and I really don't know what I'm doing. And so that was a big challenge for me. And I was just telling, like, I would always talk to the judge. I said, we need to get everybody trained in this.

We need to just wait before we just open this door saying restorative. And a lot of us just don't know about it. I mean, I, I have been in season for about. Like two and a half years when the court started over there. But, you know, people was just filling out applications and getting hired and hired. I'm this and I'm this, and I got this position.

And it's like, okay, like how are we finna lead people? Like who are the peace circle keepers in? How does this work? How many circles have they done? And so it was the, the challenge, not even,

David (he/him): how many circles have they done? How many circles have they even sat in

Fred (he/him): Yes. That, like, how many have you sat in? Because like for me, I, before I even started doing any circles, David, I had just sat and watched for over a year and a half. I said, I don't wanna leave none. I just wanna learn. I sat in a circle with Cheryl now for, oh did several trainings with them before I even did one on my own.

And so now, now I'm a little, a little seasoned, get over to this court and I was just looking like, okay. , where's your values and guidelines when we started this? But it was a lot of great work that was done. And I, and we start, we, we, we started what was that, 2017? 2018. I say 2017. And it was a, like I said, it was very, very, very challenging.

Very challenging from just our participants trying to explain to them what restorative justice is and the process to them. And they like, well, what is this? And I'm, I just came over here cause my lawyer sent me in not really understanding that process. And so it was, it was, it was very, very difficult.

But I will say a lot of progress was made over there. A, a lot of progress was made. 

David (he/him): I want to like round out some of the, the texture of this, right? Mm-hmm. , like there are some like really, really well-intentioned people who see problems with the way that the traditional criminal legal system operates and Right.

Wanted a restorative alternative. Folks who listen to this podcast and Fred, you know, like, I'm not someone who's like, Hey, let's bring restorative justice into courts for exactly this reason. Right? Because people who run courts want to run a court , right. Run a court. Yes. Right. That is not, and like, oh, let's like infuse restorative justice.

Like that's not, but like that, that doesn't work. And you know, y'all have. in North Lawndale, Atlanta in Englewood. Like, things look different because there are different people involved, different relationships, different ideas about what restorative justice is, right? But when that comes, when those well-intentioned people come without like a foundation, a deep knowledge of restorative justice, like there leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings.

Slow starts, tension from people in the community, not to mention like, and the people who get like most impacted by this are the people who are going through the process, right? You talk about the guys who are coming through, you're like, I don't know what this is. I just caught this case and my lawyer said I'm gonna do this.

Right? And you know, to their credit, so many of them did everything that was asked. Can you talk about some of the successes of, you know, what that process looked like and some of the outcomes? Confidentiality, of course, right? 

Fred (he/him): Of course. Of course. Oh, wow. We had a lot of success. Ooh, a lot of success.

We had over 30 cases that got dismissed some of the success of the court because we were just taking like we always, well we still are taking first time non-violent felony cases, but we were able to actually get gun cases in there now. Mm-hmm. and and even in in uh, north Lawndale also. And so the success was, like I said, getting over 30 cases dismissed.

Seeing a lot of the participants go on and go to college, graduate. A lot of me being get just regular get, get, getting employment that that barriers not there. Having that felony on their background it it was a lot of success. A lot of, yeah, a lot of success. 

David (he/him): Yeah. So, you know, the f you say like, case getting dismissed.

So if someone goes through a restorative process completes their, like their repair of harm agreements, right? They get their cases dismissed. Like what are some examples of like those agreements that they completed, right? Because like, like you were saying, like these were like non-violent felonies where like there's not always necessarily like an aggrieved party, right?

Yes. Like, so like what were the repair of harm type of things that folks were doing? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, what they look like. Oh, great question. So attend the financial literacy class would be one going get your high school diploma. GED would be one. Gain employment would be one. Go to the Go Seek mentorship would be one.

Go to therapy would be another one. What would be another one? Doing a vision board would be one. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had a lot of great things. So I, I would love, one thing I loved was the vision board one, because it was actually given especially our young participants that time to do a vision board and see the vision for themselves, for their own lives.

I always loved that process. And just, yeah, the gaining employment, going to school, going back to school furthering your education, going to college. Just it was, it was several great things that were be in there. And once they completed that case would get dismissed and they would go on, go to the expungement process, get it expunged, and then they would go back to back, to back, to the back to not having those cases and not having to worry about those barriers in life.

David (he/him): Yeah. And you know, a lot of the times when we think about. A lot of times when people think about restorative justice, it's this person punched this person in the face. What are we gonna do to repair the harm? That wasn't the case within, those weren't the type of cases that you were dealing with in the context of, of this community court.

But when we're talking about repair of harm, you know, we talk about restorative justice being about relationships. First relationship you have is the relationship with yourself, right? Yes. And so, if you're putting yourself in a position where these, these choices to cause harm to yourself or others are or your community are the things that you're opting into, what are the things that you can do to put yourself in a better position where you can make more positive choices?

You know, I'll argue that like we don't need court involvement at all to like provide those resources to you and me both. Right. Right, right. 

Fred (he/him): And you know what I feel about the process 

David (he/him): and like if we have people who are willing to allocate these resources once people get caught up, we'll work with it.

And like, to your point, like people getting the, these cases dismissed is a beautiful thing. Are there any differences between what's gone on in Englewood from like what you experienced in North Lawndale? 

Fred (he/him): Hmm. That's a great question. Hmm. I think with me being, with, in being from coming from North Lawndale and being in Englewood, it was a more easier transition.

And the transition was easier because now I'm taking the experience that I had from North Lawndale and bringing it over to Englewood. So now I'm able to, now same thing with this court. A lot of, a lot of people just really don't know about rj, really don't know about the process. But now, now I'm really seasoned, now I'm five, six years in the game.

So now I can say, Hey, this is how Repair Harm agreement goes. This is how this goes, this is how this goes. And see, now I can say the mistakes that we made over in North Lawndale that I won't have to make those same mistakes over here because, you know, by me learning over there now I'm able to say, Hey, let's do this process instead of doing a recircle and probably not meeting with the participant.

For over a month or so of not knowing we gonna get in touch with him at all. We gonna do this brief circle and get him in the next, get the participant in the next week. And so when I came over there, so I sat down, was saying, Hey, this is how we gonna do this. This is how we gonna do that. And so by me doing that, so with this being over here and Englewood, within two years, we've been able to dismiss over 60 

David (he/him): cases.

Yeah. And you were talking about like getting gun charges in his world and you know what a cliche that gets thrown around and, you know, might maybe new or maybe something that people have heard like mm-hmm. it in a situation like Chicago. Right. The people who are carrying guns are also the people who are at the most risk of Yes.

Having guns Yes. Used against them. Right. And so again, thinking about relationship with self, of course, like we don't want them carrying guns. In general, guns cause harm, but we don't want you to be in circumstances where you feel that you need that. So what are the things that we can do to help you make choices or like give you options that will allow you to have a different kind of life?

It it's a, it's a really beautiful thing and you know, yes. Kudos to you for both being the person who is able to facilitate those processes. Even more. Kudos to you for being the person who's been able to deal with all the other drama , all the other politics, all the other relationships. Yes. I, I'm, you know, I'm not trying to, I'm not trying to demonize, vilify anybody who is 

Fred (he/him): Oh no. We just know it was we not trying cuz everybody from the North Lawndale Court, I still have great relationship with, love them and they know that still in contact, I still in contact with 'em. They, we all know there was some challenges over there. It was some challenges, but we overcame 'em. But it was some challenges.

We know that, and we knew, we, we knew we was gonna have some challenges by it being in the first court. We knew that. 

David (he/him): Yeah, for sure. For sure. And you know, I'm deciding whether or not to name names, and I'm not gonna name names, but, you know, talking to people who are in the position of judge and talking to them about the ideas of abolition.

And when we talk about abolition being like building a world without the need for policing in prisons, building a world without the need for courts, like, you know, folks on, there are folks on that side who are employed by the state, who are acting as people of the state, who are like philosophically aligned with building that world.

but we do have this system as it exists. And like, who would we rather have as judges? Who would we rather have as prosecutors? Who would we rather have as das? Who would we rather have as deputies? Right? As much as we wanna say, like abolish it all now, tear it all down, reallocate all of the resources.

Like that's not exactly the reality that we get to live in. And so, you know, respect to the folks who are inside the system, who are like, making things, making things better for, for individuals, while we still need to be doing this reimagination of, and, and the, the proactive work of building those systems building those resources, allocating those resources so like these kids aren't having to experience this in the first place.

You know, we've mentioned a handful of times that, that, that you're a parent, right? How has restorative justice learning about restorative justice impacted the way that you are with your, with your kid? 

Fred (he/him): Wow, great. Oh, wow. So, hmm. It's just letting me know not to be judgmental because as a parent, you know, our job, for me, my job as a father is to try to teach.

And so now sometimes as a restorative justice and, you know, me being a father, one of my biggest things, cause it come from my father, is it was like discipline. And it's not just talking about hitting her or nothing like that, but just the discipline part. But once I'm doing restorative justice, it's allowing me to just hear her part now.

Okay. Like, I might not agree with it, but as I'm listening to understand it, just like we had a talk, I think she was maybe like 14 and she was talking about like an iPhone. . And I know when I was coming up, my mother wasn't fixing to buy me no thousand dollars. Phone wasn't, wasn't happen. But the restorative justice, it, it has allowed me to just listen.

So when she said that we can't have androids, and I'm like, what? Like, like, no, you can't have Androids. Cause I had Android. And I'm like, okay, what you talking about? You can't, no Androids, you're like, dad, nobody at school have androids. And so when I actually went and did a circle, I said let me test this out.

I said, so when I pulled my phone down, I said, how many of y'all in here got Androids? Not one kid raised they hand, they was like Android. Like Android. Like, dude, don't nobody do no Androids, what you talking about? And so by me doing restorative justice, it allowed me to listen to her more openly and be not judgmental and not try to say what's best for her by allowing me to listen to her to say she was right.

She really can't have a Android going to school. She was right. 

David (he/him): Get that green bubble shame 

Fred (he/him): Right? She was right and she said she had that. I cannot send no messages, any comeback green. Everybody noticed like it's not going happen. And so when I did get an Android, she would always get in the car and like give it right back to me.

Like, like she would just use it to talk to me and to text me, let me know when I'm finna pick up from school. She would never use it. And so I was like, wow, this is insane to me. Like I would be her age and just be happy to have a phone. But like restorative justice has allowed me to realize, to listen to something that I might not think is right or wrong, but just to listen now.

And so when I listen, . She was, I mean, and I listened to her and paid attention to the school. I just went on ahead and bought her an iPhone. 

David (he/him): Yeah, I mean, like, while we're not talking about this is the one time that like, she caused harm or you caused harm, right? Like this ability to, you know, think about the relationship, think about her needs of like feeling belonging amongst her peers, right?

Like that's a really like I, I one iPhone owner and like this whole conversation is a tribute to Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and like the, the brand that they've built, right? , right? But like, and like, we can laugh and say like, this is like trivial. Some, like, it's really not important, but like those like senses of belonging matter to people.

Like the, the actual hardware that you're holding in your hand doesn't matter. But like, if you're feeling a sense of loneliness, alienation not belonging because of the phone that you hold What are the things that we can do to like, help you be in right relationship with folks, right? There's a whole nother conversation about like, you know, why her friends are judging her for that or like why she feels like that some kind of isolation, but like for the purposes of like your relationship with your daughter, right?

Like that was a thing and you know, another parent who doesn't necessarily think in this way where you're listening and like open to like things that were outside of the experience that you had growing up. Like you wouldn't have that, you know, you haven't just taught financial literacy. Like you, you did teach parenting classes for a while.

Like how did you, like I did confuse restorative justice into those. 

Fred (he/him): Oh, that's a great, great. Yeah. So one thing I always did when I did my parenting groups was I always would show them how a peace circle would work and just letting them know that, hey, you could also use this with your families. You know, let's just sit down and just say, cause you know For a lot of parents, you know, we, so we, we do things the way we were taught.

And what I learned in restorative justice and doing parenting is we have to start listening more. Because I come from the generation where, man, you do what I told you to do, don't ask me no questions. That's over with. Then them days is over with. Now them, those days is over with now. So now I'm with like, I, I'm doing restorative justice and I'm doing this parenting.

I'm showing them, Hey, nah, maybe you should listen. Maybe. And you need to understand why they getting on Facebook, why they, on this social media. Because one thing in parenting that it is proven is that the influence now is stronger than parenting. And people say, well, how? No, I know my kid. I know he, no, you don't.

You know, you don't. And you know, I thought the same thing. I know my daughter, I know my daughter until she showed me. No you don't like. And so the reason how I use my restorative justice with my parenting is that active listening. Let me hear you out. What? Let me, let me listen. Let me just not even try to, just always, and it's trying to always solve something that goes wrong for her.

Let me, let me hear her out. Let me see how she gonna deal with this. Hmm. Let me see why she's saying she need a $300 pair of shoes. Yeah. Cause I went through that. David did your, your video tag coming. And I was just listening, like, and then what also allows me to do is when, when it's time for me to respond and say, Hey, okay, I heard you now you hear me now.

I had a situation where all her friends wanted to buy some shoes, these shoes to go to this party. And she had the money for us. So I said, Mariah, you want to buy some shoes for one night? You wanna spend all your money? Oh, I gotta have it. I got you. I said, Mariah, I don't think everybody gonna have these shoes for this one part.

No, they got theirs already. They got this. I said, okay. So we go and we buy the shoes. She gets to the party, she realizes only her and another girl that got the other parents, oh, you not finna waste no money. You're not finna do this. And so back before restorative justice, I would've just said no and stuck to it.

But now since I'm doing these peace circumstances, allowed me to listen and just, okay, so when she went and I seen that she and another girl only had 'em out of 10 of them when she came back in, I said, so why Everybody didn't have the shoes? Oh, her mama ain't let her get it cause she said, it's only a one night thing and I shouldn't even got her.

I said, oh, okay. So. , I told you that from the beginning. So what's the lesson that this, I should have just man did what I wanted to do and save my money. Exactly. And so restorative justice has allowed me to just listen actively more, especially being a parent and allowed me to help her and also for her to help me.

David (he/him): Yeah. Yeah. I, I I'm say like, I'm not looking forward to those days, but like, you know, like knowing that I have the skills and the mindset and the, the ability to have those conversations is, you know, something that I'm really grateful for. And thank you for sharing, you know, how that, and, you know, I think, you know, I should also shout out like, you know, the reason that like she has that money for herself that she could buy that is because like you've taught her like, good financial, me financial literacy skills.

So like, you know, more big ups to you. Yeah, appreci, . Are there is there anything else in the work that you've been doing around restorative justice that I've missed? 

Fred (he/him): I think you, we, we touched on it all, David, just I've been doing a lot of trainings lately. And just like I say from restorative justice has allowed me to do financial literacy and you know, you know, my daughter got home t-shirt bread.

I, I'm gonna see you the link David. I'm seeing the link. I wanna see you at one. And just yeah, just, just, and it allowed me to just, like I said, I branched off and I'm also just trying to start doing mentorship. I went and got my life coach. I took a life coach class, so I got my life coach certificate and so I'm gonna start doing that.

David (he/him): Sounds good. And you know, even tell, send me the link, we'll put the link in the show notes for people to 

Fred (he/him): Yes, man. Appreciate it. 

David (he/him): It's popular loaner, right? 

Fred (he/him): Yes. Yep. Yeah. 

David (he/him): See, I know, I know, I see. 

Fred (he/him): Yeah, I know, but you, I need you.

David (he/him): You're right, you got, you got my commitment on air. I'll, I'll get that. I'll get that shirt.

Fred (he/him): Y'all hear that world. I'm holding him to that 

David (he/him): Y'all on video. For those of you who are listening just on podcast, we're on YouTube now, make sure that you subscribe and, you know, hold me accountable to, you know, rep, rep that, that shirt next, probably not next episode, but in, in the near future. Great.

So questions that everybody answers when they're on the podcast, we've talked around it, but in your own words, can you define restorative justice? 

Fred (he/him): Oh, it's easy for me. I always tell people building relationships. That's it. Building relationships. I don't need a long definition. Building relationships. 

David (he/him): Yeah.

In your, you know, experience doing this work over the past couple years, what has been like an oh shit moment. Like a moment where either you messed up or like you wish you had done something different. 

Fred (he/him): Oh my god David? Oh, I'm actually, I, I actually working on a book on restorative justice called restore, repair, reflect, make sure I'm gonna have it done by probably April, may.

So yeah, be on the lookout for that. Doing it well, yeah, restore, repair, reflect. So, and this 

David (he/him): book Reflections. Yeah. 

Fred (he/him): Yeah. So this is actually in the book, y'all, I'm, explain this. So I was doing the Peace Circle with Pam and Cheryl. We was at doing training. And we did when you put, you put the person's name on the back and they have to guess who it is.

And the person was Caitlin Jenner. . And so, you know, am I black? Am I white? Am I male? Am I female? You know, am I, am I, am I, am I? So it came to, am I man? Am I man? Some people was like, yes. Some people said no. But it was a woman there who was part of the LGBTQ community. She snapped. She was like, no, no, no.

That is a woman. And if y'all going to do this, I do not want to be here, blah, blah, blah. She got real loud and I'm like, oh my God. But it was a pastor there, and he like, no, no, that's a man. He was born a man. So I said, no, like, oh, shit. I'm like, how? How are we finna to do this? and she was like, well, I don't wanna be a part of this.

And she was loud and Pam looking, Cheryl looking, I'm looking, I'm like, what are we about to do? So I'm like, okay, okay y'all. So we try to get everybody settled. So now everybody is, well you know, I feel you born man, this, this and I feel it. This, you got this in where the person transitioned, we have to respect it.

So I'm sick. I'm like, oh god man, I ain't never went through nothing like this. And it's funny cuz me and Cheryl was talking about it, I mean, Pam talking about the other day. And so what we did was we took her early lunch and I went and I said, well, Pam and Cheryl, and I said, listen, y'all, we have to come out with an apology.

We have to, we have to apologize to her because she's absolutely right. And this past all our personal views are however we deal with things. But y'all know we have to keep things restorative. And so when we came back, , we issued an apology. We talked to the whole, every, every, every participant that was part of the circle.

And she spoke on it. The, the part participant spoke on it. She accepted the apology, and we was able to go on and complete the four day training. So that was the most challenging circle I've ever been a part of. Mm-hmm. , 

David (he/him): you know, what would you have done differently? 

Fred (he/him): I wouldn't have done the game. I wouldn't have put no Caitlin Jenner on him while he is back, because I didn't think it, I didn't think it through.

I, we didn't think it through. 

David (he/him): Yeah. I, well, yeah. There, there's so many reflections that I have like, You know, the original question is like, what was the moment you, you got the moment, but like, what's the reflection? Like, what, what would you have done differently? What, what have you learned? And, you know, speaking to gender issues, right.

You know, I know Pam, I know Cheryl. And, you know, rest in peace, aura. Yes. You know, inclusivity is such a big part. And then when there's somebody who, I think there are two levels of this. One, somebody is like vocally, like against . The lgbtq community, one that person's opinion is harmful and hurtful, but it's their opinion and it's their story.

Yes. And in a circle, right. Their full person that we want to include. At the same time, we can't we need to make it a space where like everyone feels included, right? And so, like, while we have people who have opposing views and circle, like the goal of this circle is not to solve people's like beliefs about like the validity of people who transition or, or, or who are trans.

But, you know, thinking about that ahead of time, not knowing the beliefs of the people, like would say like, yeah, like maybe we should steer clear of this. I mean, like, in a moment, right? We could also say like, this person not fit into like the gender binary as a question, right? Yes. I mean, I know that framing the question might have like, activated somebody else in this space, but, you know, there's no like one right way to, to address those issues.

But like, it is something to like really be considerate of like, even when you're doing things that are games and are supposed to be like easy, light and fun, like there's always a potential that harm can happen. And you know, knowing the three of you, the way that I know the three of you, like the way that like, you know, you, you know, you know, you pause, you make the apologies.

You allow the folks in the room to be able to express what they feel about it, right? It's not like, hey, we're just shutting this down and end of conversation. Right. Like that, that's so restorative. And, you know, thank you so much for sharing. This is gonna be the YouTube clip. Yeah. I'm pretty sure 

Fred (he/him): im sitting here thinking about that circle, like, oh my God.

Like, and you know, I, I look, I look up to Cheryl and them like the, the, the, the guys of restorative justice and we was all sitting there like, oh my God. Like, what do we do? And so it was just so challenging. But yeah. David, like, like you said, well I have done differently. I would've thought it out and see.

I didn't think, I mean even with cause you know, it was all of our idea. So, but I didn't think about what if it offends somebody. I didn't think about that. I was just thinking about we just gonna have fun and okay, this is a person that transitioned. It was once a man and it's now a woman. I didn't think about that.

I I didn't think about that. I just thought it would be just funny cuz I thought, oh, maybe some man Sean would say, yes, he's a mans one. We would just laugh, blah, blah, blah. But I didn't think about it might be hurtful to somebody that's a part of the LGBTQ community. I didn't think about that. So if I hadn't really thought it out thoroughly, I was like, no, we can't do that one.

Not, not 

David (he/him): Chosen a different name. 

Fred (he/him): Yeah, for sure. Yeah, we wanna show it a different name for sure. But I'm gonna tell you the good part about it though, David, the good part about it was it was a learning curve. Yeah. It was a learning curve and it lets me know if a tough situation come up, how to handle it.

David (he/him): Definitely, definitely, definitely. You get to sit in circle with four people living or dead. Who are they and what is the one question you ask? The circle? 

Fred (he/him): Wow, great question. Or dead. Wow. Four people. Jay-Z would be what? Barack Obama would be two, My grandmother would be three and she's deceased. four would be my daughter. Yeah. I put my daughter in there. 

David (he/him): Hmm. And what is the question you would ask that circle?

Fred (he/him): What do what, what did it take for you to get to where you at and the obstacles? Ooh, no. Wait a minute. Ooh, God. If I had one question, I got it, JayZ. I got Barack, I got grind. Hmm.

What? Oh, okay. I got it. I got it.

What, what did it take to be, what did it take for you to be where you are and why does people love you so much? 

David (he/him): Mm-hmm. The benefit of you not having listened to this podcast before is with this question. I turn it back to you. So what did it take for you to be where you are Fred? And why do people love you so much?

Fred (he/him): Oh, wow, that's deep. Wow. I like how you did that . Wow. Oh wow. , wow. Hmm, hmm. I will say being authentic and then, and, and just showing genuine love. I'm a, I'm authentic. Everywhere I go, I don't hold no punches. I am who I am. Wow. Hmm. That's deep David. I like how you did that. . 

You know, I'm a use that I'll let you know.

David (he/him): Yeah. Feel free. I mean, I took it from somebody else. So , feel free. you know, you know, we're mentioning, you know, your book coming out. You've got a podcast that will be coming out, restorative podcast. 

Fred (he/him): Everything is coming 2023. And I need you on that. 

David (he/him): Definitely, we'll, we'll get that in. We'll, even like retroactively put it in the show notes when that's, when that's out and available.

Oh yeah. Who's one person that I should have on the podcast and you have to help me get them on? 

Fred (he/him): Mm.

You have Rob, you have Robert on this podcast. 

David (he/him): Mm-hmm. 

Fred (he/him): She's been on here. I gotta watch it, man. Okay. Let me see. Oh.

You had Derek on the podcast?

David (he/him): Yep. 

Fred (he/him): Wow you've had everybody. Oh, 

David (he/him): I've had Derek, I've had Cheryl, I've had, Pam i've had,

Fred (he/him): let me think. I got one for you. I got a young brother named JB I work with in the court. Right. And he had a, he had a case, a gun case through the court and it was something to about. And then I told the judge, I said, how you him as a circle keeper? I have, I get him trained and everything. And man, this young, this young brother took the financial literacy class.

He got his own LLC man. He's a circle keeper at the court, man. He, he, he, he rent, he got his own little car line, man. He's great. And I get him on his for you 

David (he/him): I would love that. 

Fred (he/him): He's a, he's a, he's a person. He's a person from, he's a product of the restorative justice community court and he's doing great work.

David (he/him): Beautiful. Well, yeah. Love to make that connection with him. 

Fred (he/him): I'll make it happen. I will make it happen, for sure. 

David (he/him): Beautiful. And so we've mentioned a handful of the things that you're doing in the world. How can people support you, your work and the ways that you wanna be? 

Fred (he/him): Oh wow. Hey, go. Please go to the website,

Please shop with us. You know, it's my daughter's clothing line. She's a great line. Man, it's, it's important. Our youth. I would love that you could catch me on Facebook at Bashaun Cooper. That's Bashaun Cooper. I'm on Facebook. I'm also on LinkedIn as, Frederick Cooper. That's f r e d e r i c k Cooper on LinkedIn.

You can see all the work that I do, all the circles, everything on LinkedIn and it will be, it will be just amazing for yo, you guys are supported. 

David (he/him): Beautiful. I mean, we'll have all that linked in the show notes, both the ways that connect with you, Facebook, LinkedIn and, you know, support the brand, support the popular apparel.

Fred, thank you so much. For being David much long, taking this life. For those listening hope you learned. I know you learned. We'll be back with an another episode of someone Living. This is Restorative Justice Life next week. Until then, take care.