Marion Beckerink introduced the day’s special guest speaker, Isaiah Rashad II, a Buffalo street gang member at the age of seven, and by five years later a homeless vagabond. He presented the story of his transformation to a decorated military veteran of foreign wars, civilian law enforcement officer, a college assistant professor, and currently a lecturer and author concerning human rights, cultural behavior, and crime, as well as a PhD candidate in psychology at Capella University. He is now married and a father of five and a step-daughter.

Isaiah recounted his long and ultimately inspiring odyssey from a troubled childhood to a life of service--a champion of restitution and recovery--a realistic hope for anyone trying to rise from troubled beginnings. He told a number of personal stories that illustrate and illuminate that path. Dreams can be both instructive and foreshadowing, at times God’s message--able to save lives when remembered and understood. He also explained many telling details and insider reflections on the brutality of gang life on the streets as he experienced it as a youth and as it continues today, even in communities like Jamestown.

Isaiah’s stories can be read at length in his recent books, including Homicide of a Rat examining the questions of what is right and what is wrong through real-life stories of murder, deception and betrayal from the view of a gang member. Also see Man's Search For Peace, examining what holds us back on the path to peace and a life of integrity and responsibility.

A lively Q&A, as always, followed Isaiah’s presentation.

Isaiah expressed sincere appreciation for the contribution made in his name to Rotary’s international campaign to forever end polio across the world.

To more fully share in Isaiah’s inspiring presentation, members are invited to log onto the recorded Zoom meeting proceedings of the September 25, 2023 meeting of the Noon Rotary Club of Jamestown.