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American RadioWorksDocumentaries Hard Time: Life After Prison
Scraping By  |  Marsha and Sons  |  Collateral Damage: East Durham

Phillip Jackson
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Phillip JacksonI grew up thinking that a man had to be violent and he had to be tough and mean and hard. And it was not until I came to Christ that I realized that a man, that the strength of a man was his ability to be sensitive and to be understanding and to be loving. That's the one thing that Christianity has imparted into me and I try to impart to those that I have the privilege of working with. It's not about how many people I can beat up or how many women I can spend time with, but being a positive role model, a person of faith. I'll leave it at that.

John Biewen: What are your thoughts on, if there were a societal response to the problems of these kinds of communities that would be the most productive, what do you think that would look like?

This is going to sound kind of funny. I don't hold the government responsible. I don't hold the government accountable. I believe it simply needs, it has to go back to the community. We as a people, and I have to speak frankly, the African-American people, have to tear down the veils that have covered our eyes and look at the fact that if we don't go out and try to make a difference, then no change will come. We've looked outside for help when we need to look inside. The church has to be more active, the church has to rise up and the pastors have to rise up and be more accountable to the people in the communities. That's where the change is gonna come.

I'm not a big history buff, but I am familiar with some of Martin Luther King's and some of the other great pioneers of faith, their journeys. Whenever you saw real change in the African-American community, it came from the pulpit and it's gonna have to come from the pulpit now. We're gonna have to have men of God stand up and be accounted for. Teach the men within the congregations how to go back and reach those that are in trouble and pull them out. And that's where—it's gonna be a grassroots effort.

The government can help, absolutely, by funding ministries. I'm very intrigued by what President Bush has been talking about with the faith-based initiatives. That would be a tremendous help in putting together a vocational rehabilitation shop as we would like to do. That's maybe an area where the government can get involved.