BOOK REVIEW: 'Homeboy' by Jawara Griffin

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Author Jawara Griffin (Contributed)
By Glenn Townes

As a child, Jawara Griffin saw things no one, especially a kid should see or experience. Abandoned by a crack-addicted mother and left squatting in a dilapidated, rodent infested and condemned house in North Philadelphia with his siblings—foster care, juvenile detention center, prison or an untimely death seemed imminent. He shares his precipitous journey from the crack house to the courtroom in a riveting new autobiography, HomeBoy.

The month of January is designated as National Mentoring Month, and Griffin's
tell-all tome is especially relevant in motivating and inspiring young men and boys of color.   In a recent interview Griffin said, “The number of young black males without positive male role models in their life is extremely high and is only getting higher.  When I look back at my life and try to figure out why I didn't end up as a statistic like many of the people I knew, the things that were consistent once I got on the right track... I sought out mentors.” 

The book is a gripping, gritty and at times, emotionally charged tale of how positive mentors can indeed transform a “home boy,” and “hood rat” with a bad attitude into a successful criminal attorney and outspoken advocate for the disenfranchised. “Youth in foster care are the most vulnerable citizens in America,” he said. “I wrote my book to show that people don't have to be basketball players or celebrities to help guide a confused youth in the right direction.”  Griffin has indeed come full circle. After earning his high school diploma and completing an undergraduate degree at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, he eventually earned his law degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law. He has worked with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender before taking his current position in Tennessee.

Lastly, Griffin said he will continue to do his part as a community activist, of sorts, long after January and national mentoring month has passed. “I love working with juveniles,” he said. “I was a product of the system so I understand their challenges and will always do my part to help them achieve their goals.” National Mentoring Month is a campaign held each January to foster and promote youth mentoring efforts across the country. It was first endorsed by former President George W. Bush in 2002.

Connect with Jawara via social media... Jawara Griffin - "Homeboy" - Home | Facebook

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