Stacey channels his voice and passion into advocacy work

Nov 18, 2022   |  By Alex Mitchell

Stacey’s passion is spreading awareness and faith through music. He finds joy in expressing himself by laying lyrical gospel rap down over hip-hop classics.

But his music is not the only thing he’s devoted to. Stacey is an advocacy fellow for the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). He says this position has opened the door for him to tackle issues he cares deeply about.

“I love doing empowering and inspiring work,” Stacey says. “As an advocate, I feel that I am doing both.”

Stacey, who was in and out of prison for three decades since his childhood, says he lacked the guidance he needed to get his life on the right track. But after his last stint in prison, he knew something had to change. He heard about CEO and figured that would be the best place to start. This was a decision that he would come to love.

“CEO gave me a platform,” Stacey said. “I didn’t have a voice when I was locked up and CEO has provided me with the opportunity to have my voice heard loud and clear.”

Through his participation with CEO, Stacey was able to explore different opportunities. He not only secured employment but he also completed the University of Michigan’s Community Organizing for Social Justice course–what he calls his proudest accomplishment. He says it was an amazing opportunity for him to learn how to harness his passion and energy and focus on advocating for social justice.

Stacey says he is driven by his past mistakes and poor decisions to help create a better and safer community. “Self-reflection is a big thing to me,” he says. “I like to reflect on the good and the bad because it allows growth.”

Since becoming an advocate, Stacey prioritizes informing people of their right to make individual choices but also ensuring that they understand that each decision should have a positive impact on the people around them.

As Stacey puts it, “Stay open-minded. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have but make sure it’s not one that takes advantage of others.”

According to Stacey, this is what his fight is about: dismantling existing exploitative systems and institutions. He believes people should have the opportunity to live their best lives. Not one should be steeped in discriminatory practices and injustices because of past mistakes. He says his work with CEO is based on this belief.

Stacey has found his voice and he is shouting “enough is enough!” When you hear Stacey advocating for what he believes in, you’ll recognize that the passion in his voice is as clear as his gospel raps.