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The Contributing Authors


Raymond Wright (Stanford graduate, Watkins Award Alumni)

“A Lifetime of Fear …a young black man in America”

Majoring in science, technology and society at Stanford, focused in innovation, technology and organizations. All American high school football player he also played baseball and basketball. A Watkins Award finalist (African-American male athlete for academic and community service). A Four-year Bishop Dwenger Scholar, National Achievement Scholarship semifinalist and was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He is the son of Remound and Debra Wright. His father played football at Western Michigan (1976-80)


Michael Montgomery (Retired NFL)

“A heartbeat away from your destiny”

Michael Montgomery II was born in Carthage, Texas, to Rosie Walker, a Hall Of Fame Basketball Player, and Michael Montgomery Sr., native of Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in a middle class area in East Texas. Michael attended the Center High School located in the Center, Texas. He earned All State in football and basketball and was honor a full athletic scholarship to play football at Texas A&M. Montgomery was an 1st Team All-Big 12 Defensive End. His college success was rewarded in 2005, when he was drafted by the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Montgomery played 8 years in the NFL and retired in 2011. He is known for films such as Focus, My name is nobody, and I Am Jack's Apocalypse. He had a near death experience when he was diagnosed with a medical condition during his collegiate playing days.


Charles Barnes (Musician, Author)

“If You keep Going Everything will be Alright”

A professional musician and author Charles is a life time resident of los Angeles, California.



Casey Cummings (Branding Professional)

“The Cummings Family, A Family of Success.”

Casey is a Los Angeles based branding professional with a background in leading high performing teams from Fortune 500's to small start-ups.  He is a Northwestern University graduate and football alum.



Chase Moore (Holy Cross)

“My Vocation”

Chase attended Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles, California. He served as team captain during senior year. Was honored as a scholar athlete in 2015 by the California Chapter of the NAAA “Watkins Award” for Scholar Athletes. Was the recipient of the Incipient Leaders Emerge award, and a Hearthstone Housing Foundation | 2015-2016 SCHOLAR.



Zachary Byrge (UCLA) 

“Beating the Odds”

Zachary’s mother worked hard to provide for the family, but when he was nine years old, she lost both her jobs and the family became homeless. Zachary remembers moving from family to family and sleeping in the car when no one could take them in. Then Zachary’s mother suffered a triple stroke and heart attack. And then recently, more bad news, Zachary’s mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Through it all, Zachary is at the top of his class, a leader in the Campus Ministry, a member of the Student Body Government and a three-sport varsity athlete. Zachary dreams of becoming a doctor, a promise he made to his mother. Zachary Byrge was honored at the 24th Annual CDF-CA Beat the Odds Awards ceremony on December 4th, 2014.



Troy Durk (USC)

“Humble Beginnings”

Troy is a local Los Angeles area product of Inglewood, CA. He is currently a student- at USC.






Caylin L. Moore (Fulbright Scholar, TCU)

“Life isn’t Easy”

Caylin Moore Earned the Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. He studied at the Fulbright Summer Institute at the University of Bristol on one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating world-wide. Moore was the first undergraduate student at Marist to ever receive this honor. The US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field, at any accredited US or UK University. The Commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Senator J William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange.

Moore spent four weeks in Bristol and had the opportunity to further his understanding of the history and culture of Bristol in particular and the United Kingdom in general, explore the specific role Bristol has played in US history and understand the relevance of the Slave Trade of the 18th century and smuggling on modern Bristol and the UK. Moore is a two-time PFL Academic Honor Roll honoree and has made the Dean’s List in every semester he completed through the Fall of 2013.Caylin is currently in the Masters program at TCU and is on the football team.Moore now attends Texas Christian University after transferring from Princeton University and Marist College. He plays strong safety and free safety for the TCU Horned Frogs football team, wearing jersey number 21. He is projected to be a consistent contributor on defense and special teams next season. At TCU, he is finishing up his Bachelor's Degree in Economics.


Robert Carter (Retired LAPD)

“Take advantage of your Opportunities”

Robert was born in Washington, D.C. in the completely segregated society of the time in America, schools, churches, etc. I had no non black friends or classmates growing up thought-out high school. I am a retired police officer currently residing outside Los Angeles. He has won numerous honors and awards as a police officer and for his extensive work in the community.CHOICES/FRIENDS First, let me say how fortunate I've been. I've been healthy – had healthy habits. Not too much alcohol, absolutely no drugs. I've never been jealous of others – even though I've worked with stars Bernard Parks – being one who comes to mind. I've never worked to undermine anyone. I have openly challenged some people. Very few people have had to ask “What does Bob Carter think about this?” I didn't keep a lot bottled up. I've been blessed with good friends. I'm still in contact with high school friends. I have made friends at work LAPD and State of California, Marines, Hikers, Bikers and Museum docents, etc. I have collaborated with many people and organizations. Being able to bond with others has truly been a blessing to me. The ability to get along with others and the tendency to be reliable and competent has been the key to my continued employment and general happiness. Get motivated, stay busy, get educated, be pleasant, be positive, be helpful. Don't resist learning from and working with all other Americans! Good Luck!


Chris Ward, Phd ( Retired NFL All-Pro, Minister)

“From a Dumpster to the NFL and beyond”

Chris has a Doctorate of Theology degree. He is a Fellowship member of Crenshaw Christian Center under the teaching of Apostle Frederick K.C. Price for seven years.  Sept. 1991 answered call to full time ministry by relocating permanently to southern California completed one year School of Ministry at Crenshaw Christian Center. In 1998 founded Ward International Corporation/foundation and in 2000 founded Ward International Ministries, Apostle Presiding Prelate to present. Founder, Chief Executive, President Ward International Corporation, Licensed Financial Consultant, Licensed Loan Officer, Licensed Real Estate Agent and Licensed Life

All Pro National Football League –N.Y. Jets, N.O. Saints, S.F. 49ers, Miami Dolphins, NFL Legends, NFLPA Los Angeles Executive Secretary , Ohio State all Century Team, OSU Hall of Fame, Nominee College Football Hall of Fame, Heisman Trophy Runner-up, two time Ohio State Football consensus All American


Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. ( Minister, UMM)

"Don't you ever stop believing in yourself?"


James Edward Swanson Sr., was elected a bishop of The United Methodist Church during the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference of 2004. He was assigned to the Holston Conference where the episcopal office is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Under his tenure, the Sudan Mission was initiated. The number of United Methodist congregations in Sudan grew from three to 30 between 2006 and 2012. In 2012, Swanson began his tenure as the resident bishop of the Mississippi Annual Conference with 1,100 churches. Swanson serves on the board of trustees for Emory University, Rust College and Millsaps College. He is the chair of the board of trustees at Gammon Theological Seminary. He is also the current President of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.


Robert “Bob” Baddy (Retired Dept of Commerce)

47 foreign countries…What a Journey!”


Mr. Baddy was born in Freedman’s (now Howard University) Hospital, Washington, D.C.. His father was a native Washingtonian; his mother was from Oklahoma, by way of Chicago. I was raised in a loving, supportive, deeply religious, and faith-based home in the Nation’s Capital. 25 years, I worked for the Department of Commerce, and the FAA in international project/program development/program management/international airport inspection in 47 foreign countries (Latin America/Caribbean, West Africa, Asia, Micronesia and Canada). He became fluent in Spanish and French. Since retirement, he teaches English-As-A Second-Language.


Mark Campbell, (Educator, Speaker)

“Are You Running Away from Something or Sprinting Towards Greatness?”

Mark Campbell is widely known as an education entrepreneur and technology expert.  He is sought after by teaching professionals, parents, and various learning institutions in both private and public sectors.  Specializing in growth and organizational development. When institutions are failing or not meeting desired goals they call on Mark. As seen on NBC and OWN Mark currently owns Bridell Institute a global academic service provider for all age groups.  Mark is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, High School Principal, Paid Public Speaker, Teacher, Life Coach and Ordained Pastor. As a former talk radio host for KVOH Mark has inspired the lives of many.

Mark holds Bachelors in Computer Engineering from the University of Santa Barbara, Masters in Organizational Leadership and business from Biola University, Masters in Apologetics from Biola University and attended Santa Barbara College of Law.  For over 13 years Mark has worked in education leadership and development. As a founding executive director for TUMI (Urban Ministry Outreach) Mark has mentored socially displaced adults in earning degrees and has coached the uncoachable.


Tyrone Tate (Educator, Entrepreneur )

"How could I be so unique in overcoming adversity without God?"

Tyrone Tate has always been considered a serial entrepreneur with a lifetime passion for sports. He is a graduate of the renowned Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, Tyrone began college at Northern Michigan University ultimately he transferred to Alabama State University. Tyrone’s work history over the years has included IBM, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, the school system, several successful small businesses, professional athletes, and entertainers. He has played a key role for over 20 years in marketing, management, and operations while earning constant recognition and awards for customer service, sales, and community service. Tyrone has owned an athletic apparel retail store, a clothing line, a sports and entertainment consulting firm, and one of the most successful fast food franchises in America. He found time to teach, coach, motivate, and mentor high school and college students. He has served on the Board for the National Alliance of African American Athletes for the past 16 years.


Ashley Tucker (Actor, Writer)

“Victors not Victims”

Ashley Tucker  is the founder of Team Tucker Productions, LLC, which produces movies and scripts for films. He is an actor and he has been acting since the age of 6 and has made numerous appearances in television and film. He last starred in the movie “13 Dead Men” with Lorenzo Lamas and rapper Mystical. He is also a founding member of the 100 Black Men’s Association, Long Beach Chapter, which is involved in community service and mentorship, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Ashley Tucker attended college at New Mexico State University where he played Football as well. He then continued his studies at Cal State Northridge majoring in Business and Journalism.


J. Everette Pearsall (Director Nonprofit)

“From West Baltimore to the World”

Mr. Pearsall is a Technology industry professional and the Executive Director of the National Alliance of African American Athletes. The Alliance presents the most prestigious award in the nation for African American Male High School Scholar Athletes, the Watkins Award.



Delmus Harris III (Law Enforcement)

"Overcoming Destructive Comments from Others"

Is a law enforcement professional and navy veteran.



Steven Holden (Retired NFL, Coach, Real Estate))

“From Watts to the NFL because I Listened”

A former first round pick of the Cleveland Browns, Steven hails from the community of Watts in Los Angeles, California. He became a real estate professional and now coaches in Arizona.



Reginald Grant ( Author, Educator, Speaker)

“ Stop Pigeonholing Me” and more....

Has a Master’s in Education, Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). He has been a state of California Certificated English Teacher since 2002. In 2011 he served on the CASHEE – California State High School Exit Exam development/review panel for English. He is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others and sees education as the force for change. He is an alumni member of Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society.

He is currently on the board of directors for three non profits, NAAAA presenters of the “Watkins Award” for scholar athletes, Powers Women’s Network and the GCUMM, General Commission on United Methodist Men. Prior to entering education he was a businessman and professional athlete (New York Jets, NFL & Ottawa ,CFL) after graduation from the University of Oregon.  He often speaks on Culturally Inclusive Curriculum, ESL, Mentoring and the Winners Mindset. Visit him online at Additional books , “A Case for Bilingual Education. A Teacher’s View.” 2015., “A Teacher’s View. Education in America.” 2014





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