Victor Beausoleil on the Criminal Justice System

Monday, May. 2nd 2016 12:36 PM
The criminal justice system recidivism rate and relationships. We’ll discuss it on this edition of Frank Relationships.

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FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: VICTOR BEAUSOLEIL ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Guests: Victor Beausoleil
Date: May 2, 2016

Frank: The criminal justice system recidivism rate and relationships. We’ll discuss it on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Yeah. As always, those are my babies. Thanks for getting daddy’s daughter today.

Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look in the relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.

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Greetings to my super co-host, Kweku.

Kweku: Hey, Frank. How are you?

Frank: I’m great. How are you doing?

Kweku: I’m good.

Frank: Today’s guest is the head of a youth lad initiative that provides services to African and Caribbean-Canadian youth involved in the Criminal Justice system. His organization uses a holistic approach to re-integration of youth offenders back into the community based on each young person’s individual skills. These supports include education, health employment, housing, and culturally specific programming. He knows that given the over representation of African-Canadians and persons of color and incarceration, his organization recognizes that to transform the statistic, support and change must come to those with lived experiences, who belong to the communities that they serve.

So, if you like me want to know why the rate of gun violence in North America pales in comparison to Germany and Japan, what a young person who’s unsure of what to do next should do after being incarcerated and what the next steps are when working with at-risk youth, then stay tuned as your Frank Relationships Team talks with father, author and the executive director of Redemption Reintegration Services, Mr. Victor Beausoleil. Welcome to the show, Victor.

Victor: Greetings, brother. How are you? And just to clarify, I’m the former executive director of the organization. I actually found the organization about 25 years ago when I was executive director for 7 years. [Unclear] I transitioned then I write full time now. I lecture.

Frank: That’s how you cranking all those books?

Victor: Yeah, exactly.

Frank: Victor, before we get deep in the interview, we need to check in and see what’s going on in the world of relationships. So, you got anything for me, Kweku?

Kweku: I don’t really—the airwaves are flooded with Prince, Prince, Prince. Relationships? I don’t know.

Frank: So in the last week, that’s right—Prince has departed this life and… Jeff had a great story as we were coming in into the studio.

Jeff: I’m not going to share the story but you’re talking about relationships, Prince and all the women.

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: I mean… just that they’re all dying pieces.

Frank: What it were.

Jeff: [Unclear] Sheena Easton, his two wives…

Frank: I didn’t know about Sheena Easton.

Jeff: Oh yeah, they did that song together.

Kweku: Yeah, that’s right. I’ve seen the…

Jeff: You got the look.

Frank: Ah.

Jeff: And then he produced a song called “Sugar Walls” that she did—

Frank: I remember that.

Jeff: You’re too young for—that was mid-80s.

Frank: [Singing] Come in… to my sugar walls…

Jeff: Well it’s Prince, it’s timeless music, but relationships? I mean, unbelievable.

Frank: And the thing is, not just relationships with women. I mean, he—Prince is responsible for a lot of careers. If you look at just the members of the Time, there were people in the Time—who’s that Jimmy Jam and Terry Louis.

Jeff: Sure. Grammy-award winning producers of the year.

Frank: Yeah. I mean these guys have—they’ve made careers.

Jeff: Janet Jackson.

Frank: Yes, for real. That is—you really nailing it there…

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Frank: Because she can sing a lip.

Jeff: Trickledown theory from Prince, from everybody he created the time.

Frank: He created the Time.

Jeff: And then there’s a bunch of other—I mean, people who’ve done his songs—

Frank: Yup.

Jeff: Like Sinead O’Connor… [unclear / Jackie Chan]… I feel for you as a Prince song. It’s just incredible. His relationship with his fans…

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: Because he’s one of the most amazing performers ever. Prince and Michael, James Brown put them up there and…

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: That’s entertainment.

Frank: And he didn’t have to come up with an album every year, every two years… I mean, even often. He was—

Jeff: He probably could have because he writes a song a day but no, he’s smart. I mean, he’s really smart, had a lot to do, let’s talk about business relationships… Remember, he put the word “slave” on his cheek once…

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: …because Warner Brothers—

Kweku: That’s right.

Jeff: He said, owned him.

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: Changed his name to a sign.

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: Just… there will be books and there will be volumes. You thought Jimmy Hendrix and Tupac came out with a lot of music after they passed? Wait.

Kweku: Oh yeah you [unclear].

Jeff: Wait. The next 30 years, we’re going to have a new Prince album every year if it’s available… if the state lets it out. Prolific and again, appreciation from a fan’s point of view is that relationship, that special relationship with his fans. Everybody knows Prince. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like him… may not like a song or two but…

Frank: Right.

Jeff: Everybody loves the song from Prince.

Kweku: This is going to be interesting on a different… people to come out and work on different stories now… and women relationships and you’re just going to find out a whole bunch of facts and fiction…

Frank: yeah. And you do the math, Purple Rain came out in I believe 1984.

Jeff: Correct.

Frank: That’s 32 years ago. Prince was 57. So what? He did Purple Rain at 25?

Jeff: Sure, his first album came out when he was 19.

Frank: And that was when he was dancing with the—he was doing concerts with his butt cut out right?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, a little bit after that.

Kweku: I watched that old interview when he was 19.

Jeff: American Band State?

Kweku: Exactly.

Jeff: He had nothing to say.

Kweku: Yeah, he couldn’t.

Frank: Wow.

Jeff: I mean, he was 15 when probably all those songs were done… but he wrote, produced, performed all the instruments and the two big songs from that record were “Soft and Wet” and “I want to be Your Lover.”

Kweku: Yeah.

Jeff: So a 19 year old singing that song “I want to be your brother and your sister too”… a lot of androgynous sexual stuff all from a teenager.

Kweku: [Unclear] outfit.

Jeff: He’s wearing it right now.

Kweku: We’ve known each other that long. Yeah, probably [unclear] with the lace, blouse underneath it…

Frank: Yeah, that’s me, that’s me… Okay. That’s why we keep him. Okay, alright. On other notes in relationships… Did—I saw a Facebook post a few weeks ago and… well, before I even add, Victor, you got anything on Prince?

Victor: Yeah, I saw that interview when he was 19 and it was phenomenal because he shared with the crowd that he would’ve came out with some powerful concepts when he was 15. He was producing music for 4 years but a lot of little recording companies would not let him produce some music they want [unclear / to say].

Kweku: Right.

Victor: So kind of show that he got it and protected intellectual property at that young age.

Kweku: Right.

Victor: It shows his brilliance and it’s [unclear / fortitude] to the extent that he’d been really—he want to engage the person interview.

Kweku: He really—

Victor: He responded very, very clearly, very [unclear] but with very little words. At one point, he just put his finger up to say “four years.”

Kweku: Yup.

Victor: So it really showed the mental fortitude and discipline it takes to actually be successful and to know your words and your values. So I’m so impressed that it shows he’s a brilliant, brilliant being a transition too early.

Kweku: I like what he asked about the instruments, how many he played… Is it a lot?

Victor: Before you said a lot, he said a thousand.

Kweku: Yeah. Yes.

Victor: Yeah, yeah.

Frank: Alright, I read a quote by Eric Clapton this week on Facebook. Have you seen?

Kweku: I didn’t. Uh-uh.

Frank: Someone asked Eric Clapton how’s it feel to be the best guitar player in the world. He said “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

Kweku: Wow.

Frank: That’s something. That’s something. But on another note, as it pertains to Prince, if you—I got to say this because I would’ve said it last year. I can’t just switch it up because he’s passed. If you were to watch Purple Rain now, it’s horrible.

Kweku: It was horrible that? It was the performances though… in the movie. I literally just watched half of it the other day.

Frank: Well…

Kweku: Because [unclear] on to you.

Frank: Uhuh.

Kweku: I mean, the performances are great, the actor was [unclear / out]. But you like the last dragon [unclear]…

Frank: Oh come on… You keep pulling my pot… Why’d you act like I don’t have a pocket full of [unclear / Kweku] cards… We were at the movie together!

Kweku: I know. Throw us a [unclear].

Frank: Lovin’ it… So… Yes, I loved the last dragon and so did you…

Jeff: Foot note: Prince did win an Oscar…

Frank: Yeah, yeah…

Jeff: …for that soundtrack that year.

Kweku: For what soundtrack?

Jeff: Purple Rain. Yeah, the soundtrack of Purple Rain.

Kweku: Okay.

Frank: Yeah. It wouldn’t [unclear]…

Jeff: [Unclear] notes…

Frank: And if you were to… I think that… I think the soundtrack at that time was the highest grossing soundtrack or the best selling soundtrack of all time.

Kweku: [Unclear] the best soundtrack.

Jeff: Maybe number 2 to Saturday Night Fever but it was up there.

[Cross talking]

Frank: Okay, but I think that’s all been eclipsed by I think the Body Guard eclipsed it or… I mean, I don’t know what came after that.

Kweku: …Purple Rain…

Frank: Yeah. Purple Rain is definitely special.

Jeff: 32 years, you still listen to it. It’s…

Frank: It’s still…

Jeff: And of course everyone’s playing at the—

Kweku: Absolutely.

Jeff: Yeah. Those songs… “Take Me with You.”

Frank: Yup.

Jeff: Still holds up.

Frank: Okay, the other relationship piece that I was going to introduce… Here we go… I read a Facebook post a little while ago about a woman that married her sister’s ex-husband. She noted that after a long time and several children, she and her sister and the rest of her family are reconciling. What are your thoughts?

Kweku: Can you repeat that?

Frank: After a long time, she and her sister and her mom are reconciling. They’re getting cool with each other. Apparently, there was a split or a rift between them after she married her sister’s ex-husband.

Kweku: What do I think about–?

Frank: What do you think?

Kweku: Her sister’s ex-husband—do you know how?

Frank: I don’t know how they split. I don’t know nothing.

Kweku: Or how long ago they split?

Frank: Nah.

Kweku: Or what—they’re like high school sweethearts and then 20 years later…?

Frank: I don’t know nothing…

Kweku: You’re not giving me much.

Frank: You got enough to take it where you want to take it. So—

Kweku: So on the surface—

Frank: If it was a year—

Kweku: No…

Frank: Or if it’s 5 years, give an opinion. Pick one.

Kweku: On the surface, that’s a no-no… but I’m not a woman either so two things are a little different.

Frank: Okay, alright. Victor, what are your thoughts?

Victor: I think that’s powerful. I think that when you look at most monotheistic religions, they speak to a couple even the [unclear / yokes]… Sometimes, they’ll come together and they’re not compatible. But I believe that the sister at one point loved that man, was involved with him to form the relationship and something went [unclear]. And the fact remained, maybe the sister was more compatible.

In certain religions and certain cultures, it actually—there’s some obligation as it relates to family reconnecting with spouses. So I think that there’s a powerful piece in terms of community healing. And more importantly, I personally believe that if that couple was able to weather the storm and have babies, it kind of shows that they were evenly yoked. They were able to go against some serious [unclear] resilience. You get with someone that was connected to your sibling and you have the storm of the family disagreeing with that choice and make it.

So it shows that they kind of affirmed their conviction to love each other, to be with each other. So I think it’s powerful because now the family’s bond is even stronger because that man—how the relationships—he knows that family intimately.

Frank: Yes he does.

Victor: So I think it’s powerful. We really need to get out of this thoughts and concepts of violations when it comes to relationships. Relationships are powerful [unclear], it’s a call to lead our souls. So a lot of times, we’re just into this… I guess a western ideology around her feelings with astrology… You don’t need to have so many feelings. You just need to be able to express them.

Kweku: I agree.

Frank: That’s my man! Victor is the man!

Kweku: I like that. So that’s what’s on the surface but my—so is this why they had to re–?

Frank: Well how come he could take it some way. He took it some way and you—

Kweku: No, that was a great put a lot of thought into.

Frank: I didn’t.

Kweku: So did they have to reconcile because of that situation?

Frank: I believe that that was why they had a right between them because she married her ex-husband.

Kweku: So okay… Would you marry my ex-wife?

Frank: Come on…

Kweku: So that’s the way I think about it.

Frank: That…

Kweku: I mean, why? I’m not telling about would you marry my real ex-wife…

Frank: Alright.

Kweku: [unclear] Jeff… I just want…

Jeff: Nah, I better not touch that.

Frank: I mean, I don’t even know where to start.

Kweku: [Unclear] second…

Jeff: That’s a no-win question.

Frank: Yeah!

Jeff: So [unclear] get somebody if they stop beating their wife. Yes? Yes…

Frank: I so much agree with Victor.

Kweku: I do too.

Frank: We are so—we put our feelings out there and we are not even willing often to take a look at whether they’re worth questioning. There’s so many standards, and there’s so many no-no’s that those no-no’s yes… our feelings can take us there. But if you back up from your feelings and you gave it some thought and even try to get over them, there’s all kinds of mountains and beautiful places that we can discover when we’re willing to challenge ourselves and let something go or say, “Okay, I’m not comfortable with that. I don’t like it.” However, I mean, I love my sister… and we’ll see how it goes.

Kweku: I agree. I’m just curious on how that would even start.

Frank: Yeah. Well I mean, it starts by I guess they got to know each other, they were in-laws. They had to get to know each other in some capacity.

Kweku: I agree with both of you. I think I want to know more details about this specific story.

Frank: Yeah. I mean, the truth is so do I. I know she’s had children with the brother that she’s with and… And another thing that I think about is when—it touches on something Victor said about other cultures. In many other cultures, when a man dies, his brother takes his wife. And that doesn’t mean his brother who’s single takes his wife. It means, if he’s married, he has a family, he takes in his brother’s wife and children.

Victor: Absolutely.

Frank: That’s… that’s powerful. It makes sense but I mean it’s certainly not something that happens here in America.

Kweku: We live in a different place.

Frank: Yeah.

Victor: I think it happens in urban culture—I don’t even want to use the word “urban culture” but in the hood—

Frank: Quietly, yes.

Victor: Yeah… I don’t even mean sexually. I mean like I’ve had—many of my friends, I grew up in Toronto. 33 of friends died due to gun violence.

Frank: 33?

Victor 33. But I have an older brother that I know that I grew up with, that’s when like one of my friends passed away, one of my [unclear / groups] would no check for our friend’s children and the wife for years. Like he took care of this a year or even when brother gets locked up. He’s surprised how sometimes obviously, it’s connected to the community that was built, know what I mean? That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, if [unclear], you know? But there have been those [unclear] my life while being witness. Two brothers and sisters stepping up when a spouse or a partner dies or incarcerated or separation that manifest. It happens on a frequency now but not, it’s not some [unclear] in the cultural norms or cultural [unclear] like it was in indigenous cultures. Many years ago or still to this day in Europe or in Africa.

Frank: Tell me about the incarcerated piece. Given the population that you work with and actually the population that you work with Kweku. So you guys instantly have a connection whether you know it or not. Kweku does some similar work. But tell me about the culture that you see unfold when a man goes to prison, particularly as it pertains to their relationships.

Victor: The relationships, how they get stronger or get destroyed… one of the other. So a lot of times, when a man is incarcerated, I see women step up in incredible way, I’ve seen mothers, sisters, fathers step up in incredible ways and really support that man or I’ve seen literally his relationship goes to shamble not being able to access his children, not being able to access the woman that he was with at one point or the woman that he’s with kind of do—I don’t want to use the word “infidelity” because I don’t really believe in it but transition out of the relationship but with an honest and transparent. So it could go either way.

I believe that a lot of times with socio-economic circumstance that lead to that. if the man is incarcerated, had some form of thousands net worth, resources or network before he was incarcerated, [unclear] some more inclined support him in that situation. If he went in, kind of ass out, there really are folks that support because they don’t see his value, so it comes down to socio-economic status of the person being locked up as well as those around him in that space. So it can go either way.

Frank: How about the sexual side? Because there’s a whole culture that seems to unfold when you’re locked up around the sexual side. What I’ve heard is that you don’t even discuss what you do sexually when you’re in prison, when you get out or… yeah. And I don’t really know the ins and outs of that but maybe you can shine some light.

Victor: So in Canada, I don’t know from state to state but in Canada, it depends on region.

Frank: Okay.

Victor: So there’s correctional facilities from different regions and based off of those regions, some cultural norms that happen in those correctional facilities. So for instance, in Toronto, [unclear] 6, there’s most of the folks that are in let’s say Lindsay Correctional Facility and East Tension and West Tension are African-Canadian, South Asian [unclear / tamel]… There isn’t a lot of homosexuality happening in those facilities for various reasons. Folks weren’t culturally socialized around that practice so man will participate in self-coping, self-relief but it’s not really as blatant in other regions in Canada.

I can’t speak to the States because I’ve never worked I other correctional facilities in the states. I’ve done lectures out there and I’ve clearly [unclear] correctional facilities, I don’t know the cultural norms. I might do know that there is definitely violation that happens sexually but that’s more of to the emasculator, effeminize a man. It isn’t really for gratification per se…

Frank: Okay.

Victor: It’s more about punishing or injuring someone’s spirits… and kind of making them your subordinates. That don’t manifest in Toronto, I’m positive of that but it isn’t for the pleasure. I’m sure the pleasure’s out because that’s involved in it but it’s not the intention.

Frank: What do you see as the—what’s kind of some of the sexual culture that ensues with if a man goes to prison, that the woman or the women in some cases that are left in the community. What do they do about sex?

Victor: A lot of times, these women will find a lover and keep them and keep that disclosed. A lot of times, they may come out later on if her partner’s released or maybe they can completely transition out of the relationship because this new lover or this new partner is able to provide. Because once again, a lot of times, these women, people may call them names and slut shame them but the fact remains. It’s about provision.

So they’re actually engaging the masculine principle or another man because they’re not getting the resources, provision, protection that they were getting from their partner while incarcerated. So actually reaching out and engaging lovers suing their womb to engage lovers actually help them provide for children or for themselves.

So it’s more of sometimes it’s a survival tactic. Other times, it’s literally just love. They meet someone, they make that connection, they’re even yoked and something manifests that’s powerful and hopefully their wise enough to be able to be open and honest when their partner’s incarcerated because we see that scenario play out to homicides and violence when folks get [unclear].

Frank: Yup, yup. You’ve made the comment about evenly yoked several times, what does it mean to you?

Victor: Yeah. So… I’ve studied all monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and I’m also a practitioner of various astrology systems. My brother Rakim [unclear / Seiku] and Kenya Stevens—I think you’ve interviewed them before—

Frank: Yup.

Victor: —I’m one of their students in Progressive Love. My wife and I and Rakim and I wrote a book called “Bagua Astrology”. So I also practice astrology. I believe that people—

Frank: How did I end up stumbling on you and it wasn’t through him? So I—yes, I’ve interviewed him and his wife. She was on a show a few weeks ago.

Victor: Yeah.

Frank: But how did we end up connecting and my producer pulled that together—I don’t know. But…

Victor: It was actually through my brother Rakim.

Frank: Ah, okay.

Victor: Rakim connected me to you. Yeah.

Frank: Okay.

Victor: I believe that couple weeks to be compatible on a level and if they identify after they’re in love deeply but they’re not compatible, they have to do certain things to work on that compatibility. The bible speaks of being evenly yoked—meaning, evenly matched. And I think that that’s one of the greatest struggles we’ve had.

You have people coming together and they’re not using any science, and [unclear / mythos] any cultural norm to decide if they can work together. That’s one of the greatest challenges because 4 years into the relationship, 8 years into the relationship, you’re like “I don’t know this person.” But the fact is, you never knew them. They showed you a compartment, a portion of their being because they wanted you and you show them a portion of your being because you wanted them. Ya’ll been working under the guise of [unclear / kind of a misnomer of] a happy relationship until she gets fact. When that happens, then you see all the ugliness, the shadow and to love someone unconditionally, you need to know them.

So when I say “even the yoke,” I mean that the compatibility that’s so important for healthy relationships. With healthy relationships, circumvents all the problems that we have in society right now. We wouldn’t be talking about incarceration, youth homicide, injustice, inequity if there were healthy relationships in the planet. Healthy relationship with yourself, then healthy relationships with your partner and healthy relationships with your partner creates healthy children, and healthy children can change the world literally.

Frank: Yeah.

Victor: But once again, it all comes back to relationship with yourself and with your partner. So I’m big in since I studied relationships immensely and even more than the work that I did previously in the past 10 years and that’s where my passion is right now.

Frank: And being understanding, well, being in a healthy relationships and getting to know your partner has everything to do with also being patient with them…

Victor: Absolutely.

Frank: …and being willing to allow them to go wherever they need to go in order to get to know themselves, in order to have whatever experiences they need to have so that they are 100% meeting and fulfilling whatever their destiny is.

Victor: Absolutely.

Frank: You said you don’t believe in infidelity. Wow, this interview has taken a whole another term. We’re going to talk about more on the Criminal Justice piece in a second but I didn’t see this coming but talk a little about the infidelity piece.

Victor: Yeah, well that’s the energy on the planet right now. if you are brother, anywhere North America that cheated on your girlfriend, your wife, your lover, you’re in trouble right now. That is the energy that’s in North America right now. You can’t listen to a radio, a song, you can’t watch a tv show, that lemonade energy is here, very present. Amazing marketing—

Frank: Speak about the lemonade energy because I haven’t watched it yet. So I don’t really know what that is.

Kweku: That’s hilarious.

Frank: I’m hearing about it and I got an inkling of what it is but I don’t know for sure. So please…

Kweku: Check it out.

Frank: Okay, I will. You got something, Victor?

Victor: Yeah, it’s the consciousness of fear. We enter relationships believing that we can be someone’s everything and that is possible. I believe that you can be someone’s everything if you work on intentionally but the fact remains. If you’re not working on yourself intentional day in and day out, you’re going to have shortcomings. And those shortcomings, some people are adventurous, risk taking enough or just attracts certain energy that they will potentially have another relationship and that relationship may become emotional, may become intimate, may become sexually. We’ve used a misnomer infidelity or cheating to kind of describe that energy and it seems like Beyonce and her husband, JayZ went to a scenario which was very public it seem. There isn’t any facts associated with it. The public’s kind of getting what they’re getting…

Frank: Right.

Victor: …and they’re brilliant people because she’s been able to—

Frank: Market.

Victor: —generate a [unclear] amount of resources and market her brand stronger…

Kweku: Oh my.

Victor: …through this video and through actually attaching herself to that pain in body, that pain in energy. Because remember, if you’re a female performer, Mary J Blige made millions of dollars—

Frank: Talking about her pain.

Kweku: More pays.

Victor: …Keisha Cole, she was doing the same thing but she got sidetracked. So now—

Kweku: That’s right.

Victor: —she also realizes that millions of people because remember, relationships are not working in the current structure. You got a 52, 54% of [unclear] in North America, high ends regions for first marriages, over 70% of second marriages, the current construct of relationships are not working.

So if you are brilliant or if you are someone that has the ability to [unclear] the masses, you have a brand…

Kweku: Well she is…

Victor: …frequency that she needs to attach herself to because you know that people are dealing with this pain.

Frank: And introspective.

Victor: So you also attach yourself to that pain.

Frank: So it’s not just if you are brilliant, but it’s if you’re introspective also because—

Victor: Absolutely.

Frank: Yes, and she sounds like she is introspective.

Kweku: Was—

Victor: She’s a goddess. She’s not just introspective, she’s intuitive, she’s—

Kweku: We should have mentioned that first because we’ve been talking about her all week. I got the edge of the story because I’ve wrote in the work with my fiancée and my fiancée was driving. We played this—she was playing the tracks and mind you, I enjoyed the music because music is like facing to me, it’s like reading a comic book. So because like when we were young, gangs and rappers will make you do this and nah, I just listen to it like it’s a movie. So we listen to the songs, when I got out of the car [unclear / to test the train], I felt like I did something. So I [unclear], I told my fiancée—I told her, I said, “You know I’m getting out of the car with my head that like I just did something wrong. This might be a problem.”

So you have weaker people in the world who take this music to heart and then she has the visuals to go along with it and they can create like we talk about relationships, we talk about the huge wedge because of things like that because people can’t think beyond the fact that this is isn’t the time… it’s introspective in some ways…

Frank: But it’s real.

Kweku: It’s real but it’s not her reality.

Frank: We don’t know that.

Kweku: It’s—

Victor: We don’t know that.

Kweku: I mean, come on man…

Victor: No, I hear you…

Kweku: Give her a genius props like this is—

Victor: Yeah, yeah.

Kweku: She’s been doing this though… she was doing this with Destiny’s Child. This is not nothing new. It’s just a little bit more complex and layered.

Frank: Okay, so I got to ask for a—mind you, I haven’t seen it, I haven’t heard the music. So give me some foundation. My understanding is she’s talking about kind of open relationships… but I don’t know. So…

Kweku: So okay. I pay more attention to the themes. The theme of one of the tracks is… payback, often time this is part of her theme… I’m this bad chick…

Frank: Yeah.

Kweku: …like you doing this—

Frank: You’re not going to treat me this way.

Kweku: You doing this but I’m the baddest, even lost your mind. So you see visuals, she got [unclear], knock the windows and that kind of thing. She’s always done this.

Frank: Yeah, alright. I can go there.

Kweku: She just gets more genius behind it now with the vision and the visuals and her lyrics and everything, like she is great. I’ve seen her in a concert. Best concert you’ll ever see, I mean now. I don’t know anybody that has a [unclear] like her.

Frank: I’ma give it to JayZ and Anita Baker… but…

Kweku: Listen, I just had to be security…

[Cross talking]

Kweku: But I’m just telling you her—she’s very powerful as far as the messages she purveys to people who I believe can’t really think past just the music and what they see.

Frank: Well what’s you rendition of what’s going on with lemonade, Victor?

Victor: I believe that the two questions that I have is, is she channelling all the hurts and pain of mothers, black women, but women in general across North America, across the planet and provisions actually articulate our energy or is she using her brain to control that energy. When our brother spoke to feeling a central guilt, he isn’t even doing anything, you know what I mean? When he left the vehicle, I believe that sometimes we don’t recognize the power in music.

Kweku: I agree.

Victor: Music operates at a certain level of megahertz and terahertz, and those hertz actually impact a being. So I think that there is some outcome associated with music, it’s energy, it’s energy-emotion, emotion. Music plays on your emotion and we see that play on society almost daily so I think that she’s brilliant and I’m more trying to figure out if she’s channelling some energy that’s coming from the community or the masses… or if she’s working with some folks and trying to control some energy because it is a fear-based energy. It’s the energy of lacking, and energy of lost…

Kweku: A little bit of both.

Victor: …and not attraction. If you look at her and her husband, like if you’re using your right mind, you’ll realize that they’ll still forgive them. But if she weighs all those emotions, they made it through, one, and two, more importantly, she’s making millions off of leaking the lemonade video and now the video that every—like everyone in North America wants to see is exclusively being played on Tidal, her husband’s company.

Frank: Yeah.

Kweku: Exactly.

Victor: So… there’s a level of brilliance so I would rather them use that brilliance to show the manifestation that the brilliance manifests, because they are master manifesters. They have the ability to attract so they understand the law of attraction.

Frank: The beauty is…

Victor: I’m not sure why they’re using their power to [unclear], lack.

Frank: Well the beauty is if you can peel back the layers—

Victor: Yeah…

Frank: You can see what they’re doing.

Victor: Absolutely.

Frank: Like if you’re willing to look at it in terms of how you break it down, she’s doing this for his company despite this, despite an elevator fight between she—you know that we suspect ahd to do with so and so… You know, who knows? But if you’re willing to peel back the layers and really look at it, you can see that they’re working at a whole another level and you can see that they are master marketers. Like you can’t believe nothing you see because it all boils down to marketing and getting your dollar.

Victor: Their level of success, it may not just be marketing and money like it’s literally manifestation like they are just attracting energy… I mean like—and I think that there comes a point I guess in people’s success where it’s no longer about the money because Beyonce, she has pretty much everything she could possibly want potentially, you know what I mean? In the physical realm. But right now, she wants the ears, the eyes, the hearts and the minds of the people and she’s just by dropping—I mean, a record, she’s able to just create so much energy like the tree of us, we intelligent, brilliant brothers on the phone, we’re talking about that. They’re receiving energy from all of us right now—

Frank: Yeah.

Victor: and that’s the power of manifestation. Like that cannot be comodified or can be monetized and comodified but in this moment, we’re not giving them trash, we’re giving them energy, indeed?

Frank: Yeah. Indeed, very nice, well said.

Okay, well I’m going to act like the interview’s starting on the justice piece… What advice would you give to a 25 year old couple that has a baby due in 2 months?

Victor: This question’s for me?

Frank: Yup.

Kweku: Yup.

Victor: You definitely need to align certain principles of precepts. I think first, spiritually, what are your values as a couple in terms of rearing a child and how you’re going to govern your relationship. I think they need to create transparency around finances. Finances are something that really breaks homes…

Kweku: Yeah, that’s major.

Victor: …especially when there isn’t a foundation or I just leave some transparency around how you’re going to govern the bills, how you’re going to govern investments, how you’re going to govern savings, how are you going to govern spending… So I said spirituality, fiancés critical and then nutrition and health. I think that’s a critical piece. You’re bringing a new child into the world of [unclear / geomoles] and you’re bringing a new child to the world where you can’t even get yoke, a grape with a seed…

Frank: Yeah…

Victor: So I think that we’re going to raise healthy families. It starts put within our bodies. So I think connecting or aligning your principles and precepts from a spiritual standpoint, then addressing finances because economics is critical, it’s right up there with spirituality section, one of the highest forms of spirituality [unclear]… And nutrition and diet, and then I’ll be [unclear] those other pieces that come along with rearing a child. But I think that’s the foundation for me and so important.

Frank: Well alright. What is restorative justice?

Victor: Restorative justice is when the community comes together to basically build a village around someone that participated in something that culturally we believe is wrong. So someone… stabs someone, shoots someone, kills someone, rape someone, robs someone and the community identifies—you know what, based on socio-economic circumstance, based off of family upbringing, based off of enabling a design, based off of plethora of different social bills, this person is sick and we want to come to get to heal this person.

We could [unclear / sold a book] at him and be punitive in our approach to this person or we can try and heal this person. Now that’s what restorative justice—that’s the theory behind it in terms of academia and scholars right now in the social work and new justice. They will say what sort of justice is when someone comes out of incarceration and he provides of support and opportunities or before someone goes down the road of incarceration, receive some issues and problems the community comes together to try to restore that individual.

Frank: Okay. And what would you say the state of African and Caribbean men in the Criminal Justice System in Toronto or maybe even Canada is at this time given that that’s where you are?

Victor: [Unclear / Reform]. Reform. Our laws explained always trapped poison and there’s no difference in terms of Canada or Toronto or of New York, Baltimore, Chicago like I’ve been all over the states. I’ve worked in Cabrini, Greece, I’ve worked in the States, I’ve worked in Canada and most of the communities and what is consistent is if you have a community whether the high level incarceration rate amongst black men, I assure you people do their groceries at the convenience store, there’s a cash for gold shop down the block—

Kweku: It’s the truth.

Victor: —there’s a pawnshop, the liquor store close nearer than the library—

Kweku: Yup.

Victor: —there’s certain [unclear] strip club in the community, more strip club than a full banker or new shelter. So there’s some common denominators associated with so-called at-risk youth or under-served marginalized young people.

Frank: What about pay day loan spots?

Victor: See don’t, come on now… You got to have atleast [unclear] come on now… and most of them are underwritten by the banks, the major banks. Well a lot of people know that even.

Kweku: I’m leaving.

Victor: The banks ethically cancel all your money—

Frank: At that rate.

Victor: —for those rates or they’re under writes, the pay day loan spot that’s doing that to the community.

Frank: I always got the impression in life for black people were better in Canada than it was in United States. You sound like—

Victor: Well we have—we have better health care based off, yeah. So we have the ability to engage, exercise our full citizenship but I wouldn’t say it better like today, Drizzy Drake is dropping views from the 6th. He’s going to make hiphop history again and meanwhile the biggest rappers in the world right now is right here from my city. I’ve got to meet the brother a few times, don’t known them personally but you listen to that album and you will get a picture of 41st side Queens. You’ll get a picture of Cabrini [unclear / Greens], you get a picture of Seamore, there’s no like—most of these may—major municipalities or cities across North America same social design. It’s actually the same social engineers that build these [unclear]…

Frank: And so what’s going on? Is it just black males aren’t worth a damn? Or is there something else?

Victor: Poverty… Poverty, inequity and poverty is not just physical poverty, spiritual poverty. Young men are being reared without a rite to passage, I hear you know brother Kweku has a powerful name. That is a good name. That’s—

Frank: He also has a history with rites of passage programs.

Victor: There you go.

Frank: That’s where you guys may connect again.

Victor: Absolutely. I’m born on a Thursday so my baby name is Yao. As a black man I was reared to know—

Frank: I know somebody else with that name.

Kweku: Yeah, somebody, yeah…

Frank: Excuse me, uhuh.

Victor: But these brothers are growing up in communities where there—and I hate to go over because everyone knows this and I don’t prescribe to victim theory but the fact remain if there isn’t a father in the home, then the young man is not being raised correctly. If he’s receiving information off the block, he’s not being raised correctly. So the rite to passage for most young men in the city of Toronto that are black or African or have a high concentration of melanin, whatever misnomer you want to use [unclear], who they are it’s a pack of Velmonts to [unclear], regular cigarettes at 13, a blunt in their mouths, maybe a gun on their hip of 4, 5 or 22, whatever they can get or [unclear] pistol and they’re trying to get in. They’re trying to get some work on consignments, [unclear / which I’ve been], whether they be start weed, or what could be some coke or some of the MGMA’s , whatever it is they’re trying to find work.

A young man set something so piquant, looks like 7 years ago and a mayor was present at a conference I held in Toronto. He said it’s easy to get a gun than a job in my neighbourhood… and that was his reality. I checked the room because that was reality. The unemployment rates for young people were so high in that neighbourhood that he got a gun in the job and if you’re safe with that decision at a young age 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, naturally, you’re going to bound to them so you’d shelter naturally than bounce around, you know what I mean? Some prison to prison to prison especially if you come from a homeless [unclear]. That time you’re 15, 16, you’re looking like you’re daddy. I mean if your mother left that man, you know what I mean, or your daddy left that woman, then that’s going to cause tension as based off of your energy, your nature, you know? You know what I mean?

So I think there’s a lot of human to take place and I think that young [unclear], young brothers have an opportunity to step up but I really believe and it just goes back to the lemonade. Music plays a huge role like it’s placed in huge role. The rap music right now is literally socializing our young men around violence but it’s soul music. LA Reed said that just the other day and I heard that it made so much sense.

When you your future these brothers, they’re spending sometimes nonsense, gibberish sometimes. And I’m a younger I love hiphop, I love [unclear]. Sometimes I can’t even grasp what [unclear] said but I felt it in my chest.

Kweku: Yeah.

Victor: It made me want to nod my head in agreement. You know what I mean? Like I’m agreeing or something I know is wrong. You can feel it, you understand?

Frank: Yeah.

Victor: So this soul music that’s a passionate self to our shakras, and our energy centers and having us agree a lot of times there is not conducive talk community help or to cultivating great wise minds.

Frank: Speaking of guns and violence, tell me about your book “The Year of the Gun”.

Victor: The Year of The Gun manifested in 2005 actually on my youngest son’s birthday, December 26, 200. They named it the Year of the Gun because a young white child, European child passed away. Her name was Jane [unclear / Crivo] Downtown Toronto. There was a shoot-out in the Downtown core near Regent Park, one of the oldest projects in North America (please Google “Regent Park”) and this young child was killed in crossfire between some brothers shooting up the block basically. That made the whole—it shook the city, local politicians, city counsellors, MP’s, MPP’s, all came together in a rally advocates—

Frank: MP’s, what’s that?

Victor: So you guys have senators and governors and alderman; we have city counsellors, members of parliament and members of provincial parliament. So our government is a little bit different from yours.

Frank: Got it.

Victor: So basically the politician. These folks came together and they generated a lot of money actually impact gang violence in the city, a lot of the ideas were off. They’re trying to hit a moving target, they flooded the hood with a lot of money and resources, the money and resources were attached to agencies.

So what the book does is it impacts the social and economic ramifications of youth violence member. Youth violence is an issue. A lot of folks think that the non-purposive sector is non-purposive—no, that’s not the case at all. You have agencies and organizations in many neighbourhoods across the world especially North America that are 10, 15, 20, 30-million dollar agencies per year… and they’re like they’ll be in the ghetto. Like I’m talking about agencies that every building around that agency or organization is dilapidated, there’s ramp and poverty but you got a 30-million dollar agency that gets that money annually, ANNUALLY. You dig?

Frank: Yeah, I did.

Victor: And stop doing some great work. A lot of times the from and staff on the ground are doing incredible work. Sometimes they’re from staff on the ground are actually from the neighbourhood. Ideally, if you can [unclear] afford a credible messenger or someone that can actually build a rapport that neighbourhood… but the youth chief justice is a huge industry. People are making money off our baby’s blood, that’s a reality.

So the book unpacks a lot of the issues and challenges related with intervention.

Frank: What’s your history? What brought you to this place in this conversation right now?

Victor: In general? I came from a good home but I hit the block early so it’s I got myself and a lot of children when I was younger. I’m not going to go into details in terms of the level to [unclear] behavior [unclear] my community but I grew up in Scarville. Scarville was like Baby Brooklyn. It’s the east end of the city you’ll hear Drizzy Drake [unclear] many times over and a lot of my friends passed away. A lot of my sisters ended up on poles or on back page, selling themselves… a lot of things that more conducive to the brilliance and the potential that could’ve amassed through the generation life being young African princes and princesses to not manifest because the social dynamics that were governing our neighbourhood.

So I’ve seen that and I want to transition into a new lifestyle. I started working for with my community, I’ve had much struggled my life and right now I’m focused on my wife, my 4 beautiful children and just putting out some hot contents quarterly. I try to put out a book every 4 months.

Frank: Wow.

Kweku: How long have you been married, if you don’t mind me asking?

Victor: My wife and I have been together for 12 years and we’ve been married for 6. It’s actually our anniversary this Saturday, April 30.

Kweku: Excellent.

Frank: Congrats.

Kweku: Congratulations.

Victor: Thank you, brothers.

Frank: We’re talking—

Victor: But we got our struggles…

Frank: Oh we know.

Kweku: You don’t have to explain over here.

Victor: Yes sir, yes sir…

Frank: We’re talking with father, author and the former executive director of Redemption, Reintegration Services, Mr. Victor Beausoleil. He works to provide youth offenders with the programs and services they need to become skilled, active and engaged members of the community. Victor, please tell our listeners what you’re up to and how they can find you.

Victor: Right now, I’m putting out a book called “Aptitude”. I’m co-developing a child care app for day cares and child care centers in Ontario and Toronto. My book “Aptitude” unpacks my journey dealing with programmers and engineers and really just unpacking how to really get involved withtechnology to generate resources and employments for my neighbourhood.

I’ve also written 14 books, published 10. You can contact me or get access to my content at www.victorsoleil.ca. That’s www.victorsoleil.ca.

Frank: Would you talk about the Rites of Passage Programs that you’ve worked with? And please, Kweku, join him on the conversation. I mean, we know, I know that you have some similar history. So I’d love to hear your piece on that too.

Victor: Absolutely. I developed the Rites of Passage Program when I was 18, 19, when I didn’t even know the rites of passage was. I was spelling it R-I-G-H-T-S, like I don’t even know what it was but I knew I had to do something. I got a whole bunch of DVDs from 125th St., Harlowe with my brother, [unclear] and I was really just on a wave to get powerful concept to my community. I built a program about 25 young men to show up every Saturday morning. We implemented a yoga-taichi component with the brothers actually hiding their weapons from the bushes to actually participating yoga. So it’s an incredible program.

Frank: did you know they were hiding in the bushes?

Victor: Yeah, we were—the community that they were in to trans—for them to travel across where we were, they needed to protect themselves. So we were—that was the reality. That is still—that was reality back then.

When I was 23, I joined [unclear / Ganyemsoo] Youth Community Development. This was a real true Rites of Passage Program where it was run by a man, [unclear]. He is a professor at York University in Toronto, that was in [unclear] chief in Ghana and [unclear]. They actually made his [unclear] for a few tears when I was working with him. His Rites of Passage Program was very thorough. It really but my spirits, my nature. It helped me to kind of wean out some of the negative aspects of my being based off my socio-conditioning and socialization. It really helped me govern myself under the principles of [unclear] ad really—that’s when I got my baby name. It really just built my capacity, understand my ancestors, my history.

Yeah, so it was an amazing experience. It was an 8-months experience. Since then I’ve been to my whole family, I went to Africa twice. My wife and I flew to Washington to Ethiopia, Ethiopia to Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe to Zambia and I love my ancestors, I love my history. I’m a book-nerd. [Unclear] some of the writer. So the Rites of Passage experience is phenomenal.

Frank: Kweku, what you got on that Rites of Passage piece?

Kweku: Well first is a question, do you have Rites of Passage Program active now?

Victor: No I do not.

Kweku: Okay.

Victor: I’m familiar, I support a few of that have been active in my city. Actually there’s one that from the [unclear] Community Organization, incredible organization in Toronto manifested from March [unclear] Summer Camp for some young children. I did some astrological charts for 32 young children [unclear] like 8 hours. So I still support some of the programs in my city but right now as I’ve said, I’m doing the writing and really cultivating my wife and my children for a lot of community workers. You’ll be surprised how many community worker’s children grow up to be… you know what I mean?

Frank: [Unclear].

Kweku: Right, exactly.

Victor: Yeah, because mommy and daddy are trying to save the hood. I forgot about the babies in the house, you know.

Frank: Now you got him talking. Okay, okay Kweku. What you got?

Kweku: Do you have… So give me pros and cons of Rites of Passage Program. I was a part of an organization that started with a Rites of Passage Program for young men, 14—I think we were 14 to 16… and it was new and so since then, they have probably been… we did it ’91 so more than 20—Rites of Passage groups, both male and female in the last 20+ years.

Frank: Kind of classes?

Kweku: Classes, yeah. Sorry. Classes and they’re still consistently disorganization is still consistently doing the Rites of Passage groups. What I have found which is probably consistent with a lot of programs like this is that you have the program and then the program ends. So there’s not much put into the program afterwards. So—

[Cross talking]

Kweku: So you have this intense training, reading exercise… out of town activities, camaraderie, relationships with the elders in the community, relationships with each other and then it stops, not because it’s anyone’s fault but it’s a program. That in relationship with the work that you do with youth in community whether state or anything like that. It seems to have the same effect as far as—you can engage in youth for a certain amount of time, 6 months, let’s say 6 months, 3 months whatever the program is but there’s no follow up afterwards… sometimes because of finances.

Victor: That’s exactly [unclear], it’s due to poverty or socio-economic—

Kweku: Exactly.

Victor: A lot of the folks that are developing the program are successful people that want to give back and contribute to their community. There isn’t an overarching amount of resources to fund the model or to fund the community.

Kweku: Right.

Victor: If you look at just shitty paradigms, like a multi-level marketing company, actually there are entrepreneurs that are doing great work but I’m saying, a multi-level marketing company creates culture of literally a cult—

Kweku: Right.

Victor: Where folks are ensued because they’re breaking bread.

Kweku: That’s true.

Victor: One of the highest forms of spirituality is sharing wealth. I mean, [unclear] when you talk about bonds, shares, appreciation, trust. So when you have the Rotes of Passage Program for young men or young women, and it’s 6 moths, 8 months then after that that young person won, there’s a huge gap between them and maybe the elders. There’s kind of a mediator to maintain rapport relationship and to that young person that’s going to get a job and [unclear] a subway and the go back to their crappy apartment building gin the hood and past all these stores that we spoke of earlier, it’s not sustainable. The energy’s not sustainable.

So I think the baby steps that we can take in terms of making dynamic Rites of Passage Program is one, creating train the trainer models because a lot of the elders are in their 40s, 50s, and 60 years and they want some good work but they actually have to retain and engage some 20 to 28 year olds.

Kweku: Right.

Victor: And those20 to 28 year olds has to be infused with so much powerful content and information that they now can internally sustain that relationship with those 14, 16, 17, 18 year olds. I tell you right now, I was 23 and I went to a Rites of Passage Program. My elders, these are the people that I like respect more than almost anyone on the planet. And there were times I’d [unclear / bullshit] them like crazy. Like literally, we used to have to line up at 7 o’ clock in the morning, Downtown Toronto in eldership. I mean, we couldn’t even go inside the building, (it was cold outside), unless everyone was there from [unclear]. I was at 6 in the morning smoking, drinking, and I’d show up hot like—

Frank: That will teach you.

Victor: But I would have my shaver on my face and I would be shining, and I couldn’t believe it showed me how brilliant I was for completing the program because I was a hot mess in those days… hot mess. I was trying to keep a lot of things together in terms of my family, my work, my job… you know [unclear] where I come from… but if I had let’s say, a 30-year old brother that can look in my eyes and say, you know what I mean? Or that was on Facebook or Instagram, you dig? And you are was last night.

So I think the critical piece is to create that intergenerational collaboration where you can make—you can have checks and balances and accountabilities for the participants… because I’m telling you, these young people are brilliant they will shine in the program, but you’ll be surprised. So many young men have broken my heart where you think they shine in something and then they’re dead.

Kweku: Oh yeah…

Victor: You shine in something and then they get locked up. You’re like “What??”

Kweku: Absolutely.

Victor: I couldn’t be here. Like with a what? You know [unclear] where I come from? So I decided it’s really important to create that intergenerational collaboration and then I’m definitely signed ways in new to break [unclear] together. Like economics is a high form of spirituality… people always hate on money. I’m telling you right now, like money is a form of spirituality.

Kweku: I don’t hate it.

Victor: …language associated with money. Shares, bond, trust…

Kweku: Do you think we can successfully implement… Rites of Passages in the Juvenile Justice System?

Victor: Yes and no. No because it’s blue versus orange. So the correctional officers—the only way it would work is if you were to rebound the mindsets or complete change the CO’s. There are correctional officers that are amazing people. I’ve met many that are brilliant and I love people, which is weird because that might be a different dynamic in the States but I’m talking about in Ontario, there are correctional officers working in correctional facilities that actually love our community and want to good work. You dig?

But there are others that hate our community and one—I mean, restore our community. It’s not even intentionally, just the way they are way. We can’t blame them. But to implement a program like that will be challenging because it will come down to what manifest in between the programs. Myself and my wife ran a program in a correctional facility. I’m not going to name them because I have a contract with them. They pay my organization money so I won’t name them right now because we do have nondisclosure agreement. But my wife and I we used to bring in—I’m talking about [unclear / aki and saltfish] like serious Caribbean cultural food every Thursday into the correctional facility in the western of my city for a year and a half every Thursday. We would be with 13 young men for about 2 ½ to 3 hours and when I tell you like it was an incredible experience because we literally saw somebody’s young brother’s transformed in 3 hours a week. So I couldn’t even imagine if we had more time with them or if were able to really build a capacity and cultivate the different portions of being that haven’t been addressed for many years but to implement the Rites of Passage Program into correctional facility, it will take a lot of work in terms of not just the CO’s but the systemic transformation. Your system are designed to crush people, that is the reality.

Kweku: Our detention center is a little bit differently in the district. They actually promote. It’s more or less not a detention center even though it’s a secure facility in locked doors and they have to remain behind their doors for a certain amount of time but the city actually promotes—it actually has Rites of Passage Programs or contracts that’s becoming into thing of cultural in nature… just anything you can imagine, they are able to provide the kids. However, because these youth once they’re released they have to go back to their reality in addition to contractors losing contracts and another vindicate in the contract. So you can get locked up today and there will be something for you in the facility and then their contractor won’t be available a couple of months or something always changes and the districts always changes. So it’s kind of hard to maintain and be consistent. In addition to that one, when they released, like I said they start all over, they got to go back home. So it’s like the Rites of Passage Programs, unless you can reach home in some amazing capacity, it will be successful temporarily. You just hope that one or two—

Victor: I agree…

Kweku: —youth got something from it. I’ve worked in a detention center. I’ve done community work and I’ve had quite a few young men and women who still know me after almost 20 years but and they always say, when I was with you or when I did this, this is how I felt and this is what I was doing BUT—there is always a but—and so it’s like, I see you 15 years later I pray that you were able to get something or like I just got something from you. The guys get locked up… I’m “Where you been?” “I’ve been locked up for the last 6 years but I remember what you told me.” So just these Rites of Passage Programs, they’re great but they’re limited to finance and availability.

Victor: Definitely.

Frank: Wow.

Victor: And just pure… I mean like, I got one point in my life, I was incarcerated for not a very long time. I was incarcerated for 4 days in a correctional facility. I’ll just be real and vulnerable right now, I would safe in… potentially serious time in terms of I can leave the cell with a deadly weapon. It was a horrible experience, I had children at that time. But I was released on bail and I subsequently had house arrest for very, very long time. I’m saying all that to say that what I saw manifest inside that facility was brilliance because within a few days they call me [unclear / Gavi], like… you know like, connect with my brothers but I saw some… these brothers that have really been to the ringer. So like, how do you bring healing to a place with so much trauma? Like there are folks that are dealing with generational wounds. I mean, my daddy was this, —

Frank: Yeah.

Victor: —my grandfather was this, —

Kweku: Yeah.

Victor: Understand? And I’m this. You’re dealing with folks with so much pain I their body and their chest and their soul. And then we’re going to try and bring healing an hour, 2 hours, 4 hours… it could be a full day. I mean, 24 hours and you’d still be so a lot of work has—and more importantly, don’t forget a lot of times the facilitator’s like no matter how good we are as facilitators, we have our own hang-ups and shortcomings.

Frank: Yeah.

Victor: And that begs the question of a lot of times with social work, social work is actually that attracted this work and this is their passion, their purpose, this is part of my passion, my purpose…

Kweku: Right.

Victor: I know that I have healing to do…

Kweku: Right.

Victor: So you have facilitators that need healing and on top of that, you have folks that need healing. So there’s a lot of work that need to into the systemic transformation, the resources… like you said, sustainability strategy and more importantly, healing… addressing all that trauma by curious trauma and a little trauma to manifest in day to day.

Kweku: On that point, I’m glad you said that as far as the healing, as far as the provider and the people—those of us providing the services. When we first started the interview, what was cool about you was that you said you had to say bye to your family. You kiss the kids and so forth—that’s awesome. So I said to say how important to you that those that you serve now about you—like you didn’t want to go into great detail about your past and that’s cool. I understand that but how much of yourself do they need to know in order to trust you and be able to say “Okay. If he can do this, I can do this,” you know what I saying? Because it’s like you can’t give everything, you can’t—in my history I used to have my “clients” in my cars, we’ll be sitting at the—they got to learn me, they got to learn my tendencies, they got to be around my kids, that kind of have an adverse effect on my family life because I spent a lot of time with the youth that I was working with but they do have to know a part of you though in order for you to be effective.

How much do you think?

Victor: To be honest with you, I have mixed feelings like I would share everything. Like I would staggering my chest [unclear] my heart.

Kweku: Okay.

Victor: If I was in a big speaking engagements with a couple hundred young people like it’s summer time, I’d show my chest. You know what I mean? Like I think building rapport is so important especially with young people that are associated with “gangs” or “tribes” in our community, trying to get money. because if they believe—because anyone can come with some boot-like street vernacular and speak.

Kweku: Exactly, and that’s my point.

Victor: But I can literally talk about war so even so short amounts of my body.

Kweku: Right.

Victor: To say, “You know what brother, I’m an incredible messenger and I have a message for you and this is part of my incarnation objective [unclear].”

Kweku: Yeah.

Victor: To engage you because I had this experience and I wish someone’s going to engage me.

Kweku: That’s—

Victor: [Unclear] I tell you. I’m 33 years old. I’m still going through it brother. I’m still learning about myself daily like my wife and I, we drop our children to school every morning together but the interview landed at 8. So I made arrangements from last night. Years ago, I probably would have made that mistake. I’m like, I had to figure out some other things this morning but last night I said, “Hey love, can you do this?” and we communicated effectively and she said, “Absolutely.” I woke up a little bit earlier, you understand what I’m saying?

Kweku: Right.

Victor: SO in terms of your question around how much do I give them, it depends on the [unclear].

Kweku: Okay.

Victor: If it’s a large speaking engagement, I go in. I go in. [unclear]

Kweku: Okay.

Victor: My tool, my… but if it’s one on one, sometimes I struggle being that vulnerable because I don’t want to go overboard and give someone too much information so now they think that they could—because I let a scary life… so I don’t want someone to think “Hey, this brother went through all these but I only went through this and he has a wife and 4 children, he’s written books. So I’m still good.” You dig?

So I’m mindful of what I share and under what context.

Kweku: Okay. I asked that because I focus always on relationships so it’s important for people that are listening to hear that.

Victor: Absolutely.

Kweku: My story, I don’t have [unclear] ones and [unclear] but I’m going to the worse and the worse hoods and I have established relationships—

Victor: Yes, sir.

Kweku: —with youth that I work with so it’s important for people to hear both sides of those that are providing services and even their life told us this work.

Victor: Absolutely, absolutely.

Frank: We’re talking with father, author and the former executive director of Redemption Reintegration Services, Mr. Victor Beausoleil. He works to provide youth offenders with the programs and services they need to become skilled, active and engaged members of the community. One more time Victor, would you please tell our listeners what you’re up to and how they can find you.

Victor: I’m up to speaking to these brilliant brothers this morning and I’m just enjoying the conversation. I’m an author as [unclear] I’ve written 14 books, published 10. My most recent book is coming out shortly called “Aptitude”, my journey to develop on an amazing application to help families enroll in child care centers across the [unclear] and Toronto and you can reach me at www.victorsoleil.ca.

Frank: Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed lemonade, rites of passage and how much of your family life is best to share with the young people that we’re working with. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had talking with Mr. Victor Beausoleil about restorative justice and everything else that we came up with over the course of the hour

As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that I hope you create a relation that’s as loving and accepting as possible.

Let us know what you think of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter at @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. If you’re listening via Blog Talk Radio, make sure you like us there and if via iTunes, make sure you subscribe so that you can receive each week’s show.

This is Frank love.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

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