Full transcript from interview with Tony Lewis Jr. (June 15, 2021)
Marcus: What's up? Yeah, what's happening? I'm so excited. We have got a special, this is a Marcus Asks. We're going to be joined my boy Tony Lewis when he hops on in a second. So, I'm super excited about that. I hope that you guys are going to join and not only just like be a part and listen in, but I really hope that you will also join in and ask questions. I want to be able to make sure, that you guys have the opportunity to be able to talk to Tony, as we learn more about his experiences as growing up as with a father that's in prison, as well as what it's like to advocate for a father that's in prison. So many of us are losing our mothers and our fathers to incarceration. And I'm so grateful that Tony has agreed to join us to talk specifically about that. So, I'll give Tony a few more minutes to join in. Don't forget, please make sure, you comment, join in, I want you too really, really be like open this up, right? This is important to be able to have conversations that are led by, yes, while we think about what it looks like to overcome incarceration. And specifically, as we think about celebrating Father's Day, I think this kind of conversation is important. And so again, like I always say, right, so many times, you know, you see these panels, or these conversations that are being, that are laid by people that are not directly impacted by incarceration. And so, we're blessed to be able to have the amazing Tony, to be able to join us. In fact, I think Tony is joining now so, I'm about to let him in and then we're goanna definitely see here.
Tony: What's up bro?
Marcus: What’s up man?
Tony: Listen. That's crazy because that I literally just left an event with demand. Right? So, I had to put a suit on a day, man, first of all put a suit on, probably like, well, last week which is the second time I put a suit on in 16 months. So.
Marcus: Oh, man, you know we all going to space where everybody's no. You know, I'm always got a T shirt from (Inaudible: 02:08) on our own.
Tony: Very seldom
Marcus: I wish it was but um, I'm always excited.
Tony: Enjoys that joy that nobody else has. Yeah. Anyway, you're right.
Marcus: Everybody that knows me knows you know, I'm a sneaker head. I always get in trouble with my wife when she come on. I'll be trying to hide boxes. Like y'all know, you got another bug covered here. But um, but not a. But I thank you again for joining us man for the conversation, bro. Like, what I will do, because I think this is a very special edition of markets asks. Yeah, like. So, please make sure you jump in the comments. Tony's goanna be looking in the comments, I'll look in the comments. And I'll try as best I can pick up the eggs, Tony the questions that are pertinent to you guys, really quickly, I just want to. What I don't, that what I don't do is I don't read bayou. I don't do all that kind of stuff. I like to just have a very authentic and genuine conversation we got for you guys that are joining us from around the country. Some of you guys are on other countries. But here locally in Washington D.C., I'm low. I'm right now, and I'm in a Navia, in southeast D.C. Tony is one of the D.C. natives here. He can talk about the whole movement to help not only to, you know, hit with his dad, what he can talk about how it was important for him to band with the community to create a voice inside of a community that has been gentrified. It just looks different than the neighborhood, the D.C. that I grew up in. And Tony has been fighting to not only be an advocate for people like me, who still are in this area, who look like us, but also, I'm talking about you know how he goes to. I've seen I'd be seeing Tony at the White House, while we talk about trying to get back clemency for folks who deserve to come home. So, really quickly, I met Tony in person a few years ago, but I'd heard about him and his legacy that he is starting to continue to build over the years. He's a living legend here in D.C. We all want him to run for mayor. Because we believe that see me Tom, something you want to write. We all believe
Tony that he is one of the leaders who not only understands the community a very interesting way. But he talks to these issues that we have. And he's able to connect the people who listen to us, and who had typically, historically have not listened to us in a very instant way as well. So, I'm goanna. Tony, you can talk a little bit about something introduce yourself and the work that you do here in D.C. But to be honest if I'm keeping it above and what I do want you introduce yourself without bug, but what I really want to do is I want to like dive straight in and talk about, you know, all the things that we agreed to talk about like right like the pre-Tony Lewis campaign, I want to talk about policing here in DC, how we're being thoughtful about keeping people out of prisons, and I also want to get personal right like you have two amazingly beautiful little girls, you have an awesome family. I mean, your wife is super supportive of you and the journey. And I want to talk about what it looks like to have a dad that's in prison, and how in the world, you didn't go to prison. I went, I mean, I grew up in an area where it was like, when we talked about this before, when folks were aspiring to be like, semi, to be honest, we kind of sort of wanted to be like your dad. So, I'm goanna stop right there. Tony, if you take a minute to introduce yourself, and tell us, you know, who you are, and, and how you want to drive this conversation in this version of #MarcusAsks.
Tony: First of all, we'll start off with proud friend, Marcus's vlog, you know, author, advocate, activist, public servant, servant leader, somebody who just tries to help out, you know, his people. And one of the things I appreciate what you say, often I try to be a bridge between, you know, populations that seem to be distant, right, a solution based, solution driven sort of person and so, thank you for having me, man, we can jump right in and bro. And again, I'm extremely obviously, this goes without saying but extremely proud of you, inspired by, you know, the conversations we've had, and particularly how you know, and not everybody when they're in rooms with other people, aren't they mentioned other people's names, bro. And that's a measure of your character, and something that I truly admire and appreciate about you.
Marcus: Now, thank you so much, man, I appreciate you, man. I appreciate you. I learned a lot of my leadership from watching people like you, like Silas, like Angel. Like, I mean, you guys are amazing leaders. And I'm grateful that I have role models that I can look on, whether it be via social, or sometimes in real life. Like I mean, I watch you conveying people, to get people together in a way that is like, it's just incredible. But first before I go in, because I think it's so massively important. So many of us band, we band together over the last election. And we were very thoughtful about who we wanted to be able to bring into office and how we believe in. And we in some ways, most of us even continue to believe inside of this administration, that is being thoughtful about lending his voice to justice reform. You've been very vocal. And I mean, I'm talking about you have sacrificed a lot of your life and your own privilege to be able to advocate for your own dad who was incarcerated. This is a special edition, talk about fatherhood. So, can you kind of sort of just start off by telling us, who is Tony Lewis senior? And what is the Free Tony Lewis campaign?
Tony: Yeah. My father, Tony Lewis, is, at this point, 58-year-old man approaching 59 years old, who's been in prison for the last 32 years for nonviolent drug offense, his first offense. He's a doting loving Father, somebody who was very responsible for me not following in his footsteps. And at this point now, sort of his ice cream in the summertime grand they are right. Everything is about my daughter's. He's a completely, you know, just focused on me, he loves them so much in the Free Tony goes movement, obviously is to bring him home, felt like his dad has been paid. Nobody else on his case is still serving time. 29-person conspiracy, he's the only person still serving time on that conspiracy. Again, he's been a model inmate. And I don't say that just like that's my dad. We have bureau of prisons, progress reports to support that. He's been a leader in prison. He's been valid interrupter in prison. He's been somebody that the administration has leaned on to bring peace. He has been a mentor. He's done a lot of, we've done a lot of collaboratives, restorative, and redemptive act to actually increase public safety here in D.C., to help build up the community, to help connect men returning to the community, the resources and support around, you know, training, education, employment, housing. So, he's a guy who, he's totally, I don't know he's totally different because he wasn't when he went to prison, right? He has some amazing qualities, right. But he made some bad decisions. He's again, he's paid his debt for those decisions. He's done things to make amends. And he's a man has grown in so many different ways. And somebody who really is, at this point, is longing to get back to his family. You know, personally, my greatest fear is that my father will die in prison, right? You know, many of the characteristics and attributes that people plug me for direct reflection of him, you know, what I'm saying? You know, my concern about humanity, right? My character, my values, a lot of that is directly from him. And you know, I'm an apple of his tree, right. And again, at this point, 32 years in prison, right? If I want to do April 15, 1989, he never came home. And I think about that in the context of me. I was nine and I'm 41 and you know, in here Marcus, this is true story what just happened two days ago, out of the blue, Sophie asked me that quest was alluded to my father died in prison. She asked me like, Daddy, let's pop up. There's goanna be an old man, and become an old man and die in jail.
Marcus: Come on, man.
Tony: Like what I do with that role? Like, what do I, you know what I mean sort of that level of trauma, right? You know how to have to go for me like, it's like. How I don't even know, you know, and I obviously, I told her like, nah, he's not goanna, we won't get him out. Daddy's doing everything that he can to bring pop up hope and that my four-year-old has to grapple with that. Right? I don't even know where that came from. She's never said anything like that to me before. You know what I mean?
Marcus: That's tough.
Tony: Yeah, for sure.
Marcus: That's tough. That's tough. One of the things that I think that a lot of our audience can identify with is like the children. I couldn't even imagine that bro, like, you know, I mean, like, and I see the relationship that you have with your daughters. I mean, you're very, very transparent with a lot of your life. And you, wow, you know, it's something that you keep the very important private things private, but you are public with a lot of things in your life, right. And I mean, you gloss over your accomplishments. But like, when you say you're an apple come off the tree, and it shows if you are any reflection of who your dad is, right, then that must mean your dad must be a dope human being. And so, I'm grateful for you, pinpointing that, and I'm also grateful that you know, that your, thank you again, for talking about Sophia and bring her in conversation and what that means for you, and what that must be like to have to ask that question about your dad, especially since he was nine years old. But let me add, but here's my here's my question to you, right? There are people who, there are people in this space, who would ask the question, like straight up if there was an opportunity to get your dad home, short of like having, you know, some celebrity to advocate for your dad, what is the real process that it would take for your father to come home? Because he has a life sentence.
Tony: But he has like without parole? So, it's those two things that can happen. One, the president united states could commute his sins. Right? Well, we know sometimes the clemency right or pardon and probably wouldn't be a part of it'd be a commutation. Right. So, the president United States has the power to do that. And this President obviously has a senator in ADCs crime bill, which created a lot of mandatory minimums and the subsequent 94 crime bill, we know what that did with the 86-crime bill. Right. Without those mandatory minimums, my father probably may not have life without parole. Right. So, as you mentioned about the movement for this administration, I think it's a lot of more, as more responsibility to write these wrongs than any other president, right, because of the role that the President had other things during the course. Right. So, right now, May 10, we found a 782 motion, which is a, it was a reform, called the two-point drugs, mine is to write that in the federal system, you get a certain point, Tally. And that point, Tally, that total dictates wish his sins. So, my father got that two-point reduction, it would take him out of the life without parole bracket and put them more in like the 30-year range. Right. And he served 32 years. So, you know, that would pretty much cause immediate release, right? And then we have things like the first step at which would now the Supreme Court has ruled yesterday that that's unconstitutional. But you have petition, we turn 60 years old, you got things like compassionate release, right? But that'll be another year. But the two point reduction and clemency and I was happy to hear I think was maybe three weeks ago, New York Times put out a report that divide administration had one on representative going to do a clemency program, I can't to the one Obama did, starting in 2022. So, in lieu of the Free Tony Lewis movement in the rally, where we call it for now, he is released, but that the creation of a clemency program, a comprehensive, robust clemency program. And then that happened, not saying that was the sol thing that caused it. But that was one of our eggs. And I was so happy and elated to hear that news. But it hasn't started starts in 2022. So, with all that being said, you know what? That's like three different options. And I'm confident that one will come our way and hopefully though, the judge will rule in our favor. Once we don't have to wait to 2022.
Marcus: Yeah, Yeah, me too young Me too.
Marcus: One of the things that I think is interesting that I hear you say all the time, I just heard just do a woman, just now once you talk about not only your dad, who should be eligible for some of these options but there are others who, like they're locked up, who in the? This is the fit because then the benefit, that also, that you are advocating for, for them to be able to come home. So, it's not just your father, there's a bunch of fathers and mothers who you believe should be eligible for this thing?
Tony: Yeah, absolutely. Without question. I mean, I think it's 1000s of American families that need to be reunited. Right, that was victims that have wardrobes, these draconian sentences that, you know, this various crime was created. And I would also push to say that the process by which, you know, what has existed prior to, and I saw some minor comments, it was talking about clemency, you not being not being eligible for clemency if you have things in court, but the clemency progress on the normal life party compensation stuff. But these programs, they set up that we want that to not to be the case that anybody that was sitting on a certain at a certain time, on a certain mandatory minimum should be eligible for reconsideration. But all should be eligible for clemency. And a lot of the reforms that have even the first step, even as two-point reduction thing, one of the things that I thought was interesting that they left, they gave the judges’ full discretion, right. But these things were created to bring balance to the impact of mandatory minimum sentencing, right where judges had no discretion. So, the thing to correct mandatory minimums, right, with judges had no discretion and given out in life, now the judge has the discretion to not take away life, right? Or to not free somebody. Right. So, I think that's problematic for me. And I think that we really need a system. But that's, that's very streamlined. If you serve this amount of time, if your institutional record is such if you got community support, you know, these kinds of things that they can get his profile, it had people that the game should just be open because what the public has to understand with the criminal justice system to understand, from my perspective, is this. This is not, get out of jail free. We're saying these people have been in jail too long. Have you been to jail? 32 years, you got people have done two, three decades, right? You know, and again, I didn't get into this. But for people out there who don't know me, my career has been in helping men and women when they return, you know, all the stabilization factors from housing to employment and training. And in my office, I've sat across from people have done I don't even believe in like ranking crimes, right? Like, what's worse,
Marcus: Right. Were
Tony: Right, I believe, I believe in redemption. And so, I've sat across from people that have been convicted of, you know, you could do the entire game. And so, I often have to think, well, wow, how is selling drugs, not to marginalize the impact that they had on the community or whatever, but he was selling cocaine, sort of the apex crime. Right? How does that mean, you do that? and you can never come home again?
Marcus: That's great.
Tony: You know. Well, I've seen everything that you could imagine get a chance to come home. Right.
Tony: So, you know what I mean? So, with that being said, specifically these conversation around clemency for people that convicted of drug offenses in this country on a federal level, you know, people have done enough time.
Marcus: Yeah, now, and I'm grateful for you. So, real quick, just because I need the soundbite because I want to be able to make sure I can clip this. And I can add it somewhere else where I like it. We're talking to if we're talking, we're talking to Joe, right, we're talking to Joe Biden, we're talking to V.P, common hertz like, I need you to it, can you tell me in 30 seconds, what do I say to them, to help them understand the importance of value, specifically, of why it's important to bring your father, your father and with that impact, what that means to you with your father,
Tony: My father, Now I need that sound. I need it. I know That my father is a person who is remorseful, accountable for his actions. He served 32 years in prison. He's grown in that time, he spent that time not only rendering and raising needs to be a pillar in the community, but to collaborate and help younger men returning to the community thrive in that recidivate. He's been a proponent for public safety. And having him in the community will actually make D.C. a safer place. He can be an asset to the community. He has a community that's awaiting him. He has a family that's awaiting him. And together, he and I can do amazing things not only here in D.C., but I feel like across the country.
Marcus: Thank you so much. I mean, I can tell by just seeing the comments that are scrolling, that you have a community of people that also believe people that either know you or don't that they also believe that this should happen to as you think about transitioning your dad because I know I only got you for a few more minutes, right? So, I want to get these kinds of questions, I think, it's important for all of our folks to be able to learn from you and learn from your experience, and how you even think about this, especially because you work in this space, as you think about what it takes in order to be able to bring your dad home successfully, and anyone that's coming home, out of prison, what are the ways that you are preparing for your dad to come home. What are some of the things that you know me if, when my boy comes home, when Ray comes home, I want to be able to know like very thoughtfully, like, what should I be doing to help him prepare for his release?
Tony: Yeah, first of all, just I think, we're waiting, awaiting somebody know that that the same person and left you may not be returning, right? That they want to joy wears off, of reunification, that is going to work that needs to be done, to relearn each other, to get used to each other for that person, to adapt back to freedom, has access to try to establish relationships with all the supports that that person may leave need, from behavioral health, to house into employment, to transportation, to education. In my case, those things are sort of laid out. But I think the bigger piece is to have a community, we got to work every day to have a community where people can be citizens, right? For rights restoration, where people could be treated, and showing humanity and everybody else gets, you know, I mean. And I think that's imperative in in shaping the hope and the willingness of people to you know, walk, and embark on this arduous journey, right? But it's doable. And again, bro, not just because I'm hearing you notice, but somebody like you is emblematic and is an example of, you know, what that is, and it is no way that I should have, you know, any more access to anything, right? Being you is no way that I should be able to volunteer my kids’ school, and you got to go through a different process, there's no way I should be able to work somewhere that you can't work. Right. And, and I think for everybody, not only on this call, but just in society in general, it doesn't make us safer, to continue to put on these barriers in front of our people. Right? It does not, that actually does the opposite. And so, all I can hope for of anybody returning or somebody awaiting somebody that's returning is to understand that, again, when a person gets here, we will celebrate, and then we will build we will start to grow and learn each other. And I feel like that's going to be beautiful process. And one of the things I think about a lot is just watching my dad has an opportunity to see my dad just discovered things again, right? Watch my daughters be able to teach him, you know,
Marcus: Be crazy. Yeah, the baby girls, they goanna teach them all (Inaudible: 22:39) your dad on Tick Tock and everything
Marcus: Yeah. So, let me actually specifically like how has this, how has this state, like, you talk about like your dad when at nine years old. So, you went to your, I mean, pretty much the majority of your life without, obviously the majority like but like almost your entire life without your dad here with you, right? But yet, you're so intentional about being an active father in your life. And even a mental it's a lot of folks who don't have dads in their community who needs to have somebody to get up and keep it a buck and they can keep it a buck with and that's not going to judge them for the decisions that they make good or bad. Right? How have you learned how to be a father without having a father around you teach you how to be a father?
Tony: Yeah, but that first night was like, you know, incredible, right? The first night, he was super, he was dead. And that's what he has sustained us. Right? Because we have such a solid foundation, right? apparent like apparent, right. And, you know, well, obviously, as I grew up, you know, from nine years old to him being able to shoot, he did his best apparently from prison. But that is incredibly difficult. But we had, we always had that first nine years, as again as the foundation for whatever, like he could be put me on punishment from prison. Right? Well, what's up with that report calling that's the kind of father that he was. And he has been a, you know, so I'm grateful for that. Because a lot of my homies they had none of it, you know, but then also I've just always learned to, from people around me, right. And I've always watched others and tried to emulate and then I had, you know, my uncles who inherited you, but when they were in the street, they would act the father's right. And so, I think I had, you know, again, these guys who would think the world would call bank robbers or gamblers or drug dealers or whatever, really set a great example for me, you know, I'm, again, I'm a product of that. I'm not different and sometimes I get described as being, you know, the polar opposite of those guys. I'm actually not, you know what I mean?
Marcus: Yeah, yeah.
Tony: So, and I think, you know, the risk they took or the sacrifices they made, was sort of that could be who I am, and I look off and try to pour into, you know, younger dudes or people coming up behind us, you'll share information, you know, being a mentor, or just being somebody a soundboard or whatever the case because that is that important to me. And trying to be an example, you know, obviously, you transfer you know, you're, you know, you're amazing children and all of them are wonderful things you are doing with them, exposing them to when, you know, my that kind of stuff is people watching us grow. And I'm, I'm obviously clear on that. And I think you are I can never understand just how much of an impact you know, in a dad has right outside of our success or what have you. Our biggest success is our wives, and our and our children. You know, because a lot of times where we come from, people don't see that my parents weren't married. That's all another part of it, too. And one of the things my father called me one day, I was on an interview, and the interviewer asked my dad, what was the thing he was the most proud of me for? Right? And I'm thinking we'll talk about me saving lives in people jobs. Always. He was like, me being married. Family, and I was like, Whoa, like, whatever, like, right? That's something he you know, anyway, he had he got married when he was in but like, he never dated create death for me. And I think he sees that as like, that's the most thing. That's the thing. That's the most like mind blowing. Because in our neighborhood, you know, really, that your man who wasn't how tough you are? How many? How many women you had? Right?
Marcus: Yeah, talk about.
Tony: Right. So, was what we're doing is really, we changed the paradigm in more ways, the one we teach in younger dudes that, you know, family is the most important thing. You know, having a nuclear family having love and support being an active in your kids’ lives. And even for the naysayers and people that think this particularly around black fathers, right to think that that's not what we do, but that's what we do. And its structural violence, you know, in this country that plays a part in robbing us of that and taking us away from our families. Right. But it's not like people, a lot of people think like, we just make a choice not to be in our children's lives. And I think that can't be the furthest from the truth. That's not what I saw growing up even in the midst of, you know, the men in my life being involved in in our so caught you that, you know, took them away. But they were family men. And if I'm a continuation of that, that's one of the things I'm incredibly proud of,
Marcus: You know, um, you know, you drop it, I can't do you drop it Jews, it's hard for me to digest because I got so many questions for you. Yeah. And it's interesting, right? Because you talking about that, like your relation with your father, your father and how he was like to hear you talk about your father was putting you on punishment from this, I wanted to talk about the respect and reverence that you have for your dad, and not even it didn't matter where he was, you know, without no matter what the number, the number that was attached to his name at the time or where he was living, like on a phone or gone. I mean, you post pictures all the time of you and going to go visit your dad for you over the entire of all these decades, right? And then you, now I'm watching you post pictures on your own timeline where you're sharing the experience of what it looks like to bring your children in there for them to be able to spend time with their granddad. I think one of the things I think it leans on the importance and value of staying connected to him in a very interesting, like very intentional and demonstrable way. You, as you know, you know, the basis behind what we do a flikshop is we work to keep the families connected during the incarcerations because we also believe like, yo, you keep the family connected, you keep that nucleus going, like it Is impactful for not only them inside there, but for you out here. And that's one of the things I'm hearing from you. I mean, how do you what do you say to the people that have a dad, or I forget it, it's a parent, right? This is specifically about this episode about fatherhood. But like a person who has a parent that's imprisoned. How important is it to keep them woven into your daily life?
Tony: It is incredibly important. And really, I think, the sort of the sanctity or the sort of the foundation, the bonding of that relationship is really more apparent on the person and freedom because the person inside is limited in what they can do, right and I learned that early on in life, so, seeing my dad pitches like that again back to what you do bro like that's so important as critical having people inside be able to be a part of what's going on outside to be aware to see what's happening to see the changes to live in those moments with their family members, their children even though they can't beat it is incredible, right? And you know if I got to fix up I can do that right in the moment. Those things that's that that brings that person out of out of those walls out of those gates have you want to look at it that's part of also how we've been able to stay so bonded right for me to keep my dad present in the only way that I can you know in you know letters whenever we got email right but throughout you know, back then we were letters and pictures in my, with my dad first 13 years and he was in California. So, one like a week
Marcus: no way close to DC No way.
Tony: 3000 miles away, you know, I went from being nine, or like ten by Tony got sentenced to like 10 to like 23. You don't say California? Yes. So, these in DC, but it was I do mean, I know we don't have a local prison system, right. So, everybody goes into the federal system, whether you break a local law, or federal law. And so, children in D.C. have that paradigm now every day, your family member, your dad could be anywhere in the United States, whereas a federal prison. And so, with that, again, these kinds of things are the most important things, man send a picture in mail, and not only what it does for them, but like you said, what it does for the person out here, and that's what allows those bonds to stay constant, it stays, you know, intact as much as possible. Um, but parents present that relationship with somebody in prison, man, it can, it can really chip away at the most sacred bonds. You know what I'm saying? Especially if it's this for a long time, and I wake up, oh, come on, man. How Wait, God bless, just knowing that we still have the relationship that we have, you know, by the grace guy because I like you say, I'm in this work, you know, and I know how difficult it is to maintain those bonds. I'm talking about parental bonds, sibling bonds, you know, spouse, all of that. It already rolls up. Because listen, listen, bro, when you will you and I don't have to tell you that, you know, but when you away, you're not here. You know, and for children, you need your parents. And then you know, a lot of kids deal with that resentment. Right. And one of the things I think parents this incarcerated got to understand he must be accountable. your intentions mean nothing you when you come home, and your children may not, you know, respond to you the way you think that they show you like, Oh, Daddy, I'm back. like, yo, do you talk to them about what they went through? Apologize to them for being there. That's so, so important. Because it's things that happened with them or went on with them, that you have no clue. And a lot of them. Like I used to call myself protecting my day. You know, I went Why? Because, you know, I mean, when I wrote the book, some things they really never tell me that wow, you know, what could you do about it? I know what adds stress to your life. You in there, you don't have time? I know you can't do nothing about it anyway, I'm not even going, you know, where are you with this? Because guess what, I have to handle this. I've got to handle it. So, I think there's a lot of kids that take that approach, like I'm not even goanna share that with you drowning and want you to be worried about that. And at the end of the day, you can't do a thing about it. I have to deal with this. And so, all of those things I sort of mixed in the past, were you dealing with that parental incarceration piece. But, you know, those pictures in those letters are the most important thing, bro, and trying to, you know, help that obviously, visits are the most important. But when people are far away, and even in some state, right, California, Texas, you could be a day away. Right? You could be
Marcus: Literally. Yeah
Tony: So, yeah, yeah.
Marcus: So, we are over at time, I got one more question that I want to ask you before I let you go. But before I let you go in 5x. And I forgot to actually question because you started to. I am actually question but before you answer it, I want to I want to talk about some other work that you're doing. But to prepare you for that question. You started; you began to talk to the dads that are incarcerated you like let's like you like you talked about things that they need to do. Like, I've never heard anybody do this before. It's only and I finally had a question. I'm ready. But listening to you, like you talk about like, yo, apologizing to your children like listening to your children thinking, all that kind of art. I want to ask you specifically, what do you say to the incarcerated day that's in there as especially as mothers or fathers because I still celebrate all of you dads that are incarcerated now. Like, you're still a day, and I'm grateful, you know, I mean, that you guys are still just living, and you have the opportunity to be able to be in your child's life, whether it's today, tomorrow, next week, and we're praying for you to be able to have a safe return back to your community. But before Tony asked the question about what instance so he can talk to those dads pretty quickly. Do you do all of our audience, do yourself a favor, take an opportunity. And literally Google Tony Lewis Jr. You'll see a bunch of content there not only when he talks about the work that like the work that he's doing to help get us debt free. But the work that he literally is doing every single solitary day for people and families that like literally like mine, that you're the one trying to figure out how to deal with incarceration, how to work within the reentry process and working through what it looks like to come home from prison and like live and going back to your neighborhood. They may look different, going back to the neighborhood and you know, you got to stay home with your grandmother and now you can't be you know, mean, somebody's doing some crazy, bring it to your grandmother doorstep as you come home. Like there's a responsibility. Did you have? And it's an accountability that's baked into it. Tony talks and most recently about, like what it looks like in order to be able to even receive addiction treatment for drugs while you're making decisions, as you know, somebody that lives in a neighborhood. And the first decision you make is being led with violence, and how to be able to attack that Tony talks about maintaining your mental health, while you're going through and living in an environment that's filled with trauma, like the neighborhoods I grew up in, in a neighborhood that Tony still lives in today. Tony even wrote a book called slug, that's that he was very, very transparent about his dad, his journey with following his dad. And then he took the extra step to build a learning manual that he takes back into facilities that allow you to be able to dissect the stories that he's telling, and how he got to be this amazing person that he is today. I'm super, super, super grateful to be able to have this conversation with you, Tony. And every conversation that we have, whether it was an ask them when we were chosen them in a bar, or you know, to me like whether or not I'm listening to you with a bullhorn in your hand, advocating for not only your father, but for all of the mothers and the fathers that deserve the clemency and need to come home, especially after serving decades in prison. What you want them to do. I mean, what more do you want from him? Right? I mean, seriously, real talk, what you want one more view on I'm goanna get off my soapbox. I am a Tony Lewis Jr. Fan, if you guys can't tell, and for real, it's not because like, like, this is no man. He's doing all these amazing things. But he literally puts in the work, and he's earned that right? And so do i 100% always want to make sure you get flowers. While you're still alive. We can look dude; we could just scroll through all the people on his timeline, who will also want to give you your flowers while you're still alive. And I'm so, so grateful for you for taking the time to chop it up with us, especially with this audience. I'm goanna let you give out the closing words as we close out man, like let's talk to those dads real quick. Celebrate Father's Day. What do we say? What's the one core message that we give to incarcerated fathers?
Tony: Happy Father's Day. First of all, let your children drive every decision that you make, even why you in everything in your quest to give better and improve so that when you return to them, you'll never leave them. Right. And when you get back to them, just know that you know if they're not responding the way that you want, right? That that you have to keep trying. But don't quit. Keep at it. Again, be accountable for your role in your in their life. What has happened in their life? Never, never give up. And just,they're following, you know when you get out here, be ready to set the example for them. You know what I mean? And they need you. That's, that's the that's the main thing I want to leave. They need you and more importantly or as importantly, as a community. We need you and we'll be here to support you when you touch them.
Marcus: No question. No question. Hey, Tony, thank you again for joining us for our second episode of Marcus Asks. Y'all Happy Father's Day early Father's Day.
Tony: Father's Day to you too, bro.
Marcus: Yeah, man. I appreciate it. Man, I love you bro. Hey, thank you again, you guys for jumping in and even jumping into chat in the comment section. And thank you guys so much for joining in this conversation. I think I can speak for Tony I'd say this was a dope Convo. In a short amount of time. We went a little bit over. So, thank you shout out for you guys for hanging out with us. Even if you guys found it. Hopefully you found it valuable in your own lives. Join us again for another version episode of Marcus asks. If you think that there are questions that you want to ask Tony that we couldn't get to today. Please make sure you follow him at Mr. Tony Lewis Jr. Jump in his DMS he got a lot of he won't answer them a shot and see if he's able to ask me some of your questions. Thank you, Tony. Thank you, bro,
Tony: Free Tony Lewis
Marcus: FreeTony Lewis.