Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Encourage Youth in Prison

“I Am Present For Peace” read the message on Russell Simmons’ shirt during a recent visit to Rikers Island with rapper/actor LL Cool J.

Quite the philanthropist and innovator, the conversation marked the launch of Simmons’ new anti-violence program, RushCard Keep The Peace, stemming from his RushCard prepaid debit card.

Keep the Peace will give grants to neighborhood organizations to reduce violence. One in particular that has already jumped on board is the LIFE Camp in Queens, N.Y.

During the conversation, LL shared his personal story of trials and rough upbringing that could have led him down a dark path.  He encouraged the teens to believe in themselves with Simmons, adding, “It’s your spirit you’ve got to work on.”

It’s an inspiring scene when people take the time to communicate with the youth. Hopefully the messages are received and work towards decreasing the number of incarcerations, especially among Black youth.

“We’re trying to encourage them not to come back into the system, hoping they will integrate into society and become contributing members of their community,” Deputy Warden Clement Glenn told the Charlotte Observer.

Let’s hope this initiative and the many others are really going to push forth change and make a difference in the lives of our youth and our communities.

Peace is needed.