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Marlon Peterson #BePrecedential - Writer, Youth Development Expert and Human Justice Advocate

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  • 2021 Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist's Freedom Song

Marlon Peterson was honored by Ebony Magazine as one of America's 100 most influential and inspiring leaders in the Black community. He is also an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, and Fall 2016 TED Resident. He is the host of the Decarcerated podcast, which highlights the journeys of success of people who have spent time in prison. Marlon is also the founder and chief re-imaginator of The Precedential Group, a social justice consulting firm, and a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship. Marlon spent his entire 20's in New York State prisons. Since his release his work has focused in the following areas: youth development, violence prevention, criminal justice, race & gender justice.

During his time in prison he earned an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice with Honors. He spent the last five years of his incarceration as the head of the Transitional Services Center where he created programming and curricula for men nearing release from incarceration. He also spearheaded and designed an experiential workshop for incarcerated men and college students from Vassar College called, "Vassar & Otisville--Two Communities Bridging the Gap."

Also while incarcerated, Marlon collaborated with friend, author, and founding principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Dr. Nadia Lopez, to create a letter correspondence mentorship program with middle school students. This program set the foundation for the creation of H.O.L.L.A. (How Our Lives Link Altogether), featured in the Netflix documentary, The 13th.

​Since his release from prison in December 2009, Marlon has held several nonprofit positions. He is the former Director of Community Relations at The Fortune Society, and previously served as the Associate Director of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, founding coordinator of Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets, and co-founder of How Our Lives Link Altogether (H.O.L.L.A!). Marlon earned a BS in Organizational Behavior from New York University five years after his release from prison.

Marlon also serves as board chair of Families For Freedom and board member of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

His writings have appeared in The Nation, Ebony, Gawker, The Crime Report, Black Press USA, Huff Post, and other online publications. He believes people who has experiences similar to his has the opportunity to inspire and share new precedents for what justice looks like. He considers all the work he does peoplework.

Marlon's first TED Talk, Never Give Up on People, is slated for release mid-2017. He is also working on his first book, a memoir.

He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and frequents the home of his parents, Trinidad & Tobago, while praying that one day his New York Knicks will win a day.

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