Percy Glover was recently interviewed by Voyage ATL. Check out the interview here.
Percy is one of our VAAC leaders focused on Jail Voting Outreach. Percy has also written a book which you can purchase. Contact him at [email protected].
Today we’d like to introduce you to Percy Glover.
Hi Percy, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
After almost 12 years in prison and now being released for close to 20 years, I didn’t have the easiest path back into the community. There are a great deal of services and resources for people returning from jail and prison today but back then, there weren’t really any options for a person other than those negative ones that led them to incarceration. For me, my goals were simple at that point; go to college and seek out employment that would allow me the opportunity to wear a suit and tie every day. While my ambitions were easy, I didn’t understand how society enforced a different standard for me. The immediate transition for me after prison was an impossible one; because of my mistakes and choices that led me to prison, I was challenged, criticized, berated, insulted, and belittled for every positive step once I was back in society. The irony in my story is that I used every negative word as motivation and fuel to maintain focus and commitment to myself.
In my educational efforts, I’ve earned an associate’s degree, bachelors, and masters, as well as obtained employment in areas and industries that were typically closed off to people with felony backgrounds. My standard has always been high so that anyone returning from jail or prison will not have to suffer emotionally, mentally, or financially in the way that I did when I was released. Everything inside of me pushes me to empower every young black and brown male to not enter a jail or prison and to provide every resource for them to not recidivate if they do experience any form of detention. This is done in my speaking, my writings, and as a social entrepreneur.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As a man of color who has experienced prison, there have been so many bumps that I’ve experienced because of the color of my skin and because of the stigma that comes with being a person who experienced incarceration. It takes a great deal of confidence and poise to not let people define your narrative. It takes the person in the mirror to author their own path to success; society can tear you to pieces if you don’t find your strength to make a difference for yourself and your community.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I can define myself in a lot of different ways but the one word I use to describe myself most consistently is resilient. Having the courage and creativity to impact cultural change is one thing but having the resiliency to follow through is what has set me apart from others. If you look at the things I am involved in around jail reform and race relations, those efforts aren’t happening anywhere else in the country.
I am so proud to be among a movement that is changing the face of jail corrections. There are many things that make me smile but being sworn in as a Genesee County Sheriff Deputy Ambassador is one of those things that changes the identity of what and where people with felony convictions can utilize their talents. Working inside of the jail as a mediator, educator, advisor, and mentor when most felons work with law enforcement as an informant or snitch changes the textbook of what a person can and cannot do after jail and prison; I’m so happy to be a change agent involved the movement.
How do you think about happiness?
What makes me most happy is being proactive in taboo and touchy conversations around race, policing, policy, jail/prison reform, and community advancement. There are so many moments that provide an opportunity to educate people and make a difference. I am happy that I have learned to embrace my purpose in this world.