Angela: How Shareef Cousin turned travesty into triumph
It takes a lot at this stage of life to really be impressed with someone; but a young man I met not long ago is someone who is making an impression or many, many people... including me.
Shareef Cousin went to Angola when we was just 16 years old. He spent 11 years there, and was only released when it was proven that he had not commited the murder he had been accused of.
It is such a heartbreak of a story, on so many levels: A miscarriage of justice, a young adulthood stolen. A travesty by any definition.
If you had been accused of a murder you didn't commit and spent 11 years of your young life in Angola, would you be bitter? Would you be angry? Would you be defeated even as you were being released?
The word Shareef used when I asked him those questions? "Devastated." And that's totally understandable. But the true story of Shareef Cousin is that he did not allow the miscarriage of justice, the lost youth, or the travesty defeat him! He went to Morehouse College and then formed his own non-profit organization, Beacon Industries. And he has commited his life to helping others; primarily young black men who need direction and encouragement.
We all concern ourselves with what is too often identified as the origins of crime; fatherless men who come from poverty. Shareef Cousin is actually doing something about it.
Today we talk with the man who made a decision to look beyond his past to create a productive, meaningful life for himself and for others. And we'll meet the young men whose lives may well be changed because of Shareef Cousin's heart.