Kevin Bilal Chatman
Bilal became an ambassador of We The People Org, because of his dedication to ending mass incarceration. Born in Los Angeles, Kevin Bilal Chatman and moved to San Jose as a child with his single mother (a nurse) and three brothers. In the 1980s when the economy crashed, Bilal lost his job. At this time the crack epidemic hit, he was swept up in drug addiction and dealing. Ultimately, he received a 150 years-to-life sentence under California’s “Three Strikes” law for selling $200 worth of drugs to an undercover police officer. He was then incarcerated at Soledad, Solano, Jamestown, and ultimately San Quentin State Prison. San Quentin, known for its unusual commitment to programming, Bilal took classes in Sociology, Anger Management, Conflict resolution, A.A. Peer Mentoring, Drug Treatment, Parenting, Humanities, and of course Yoga, which went well with Religious Studies. Bilal also was a very active member in (M.A.C.) Men’s Advisory Counsel. A go between of the inmates and officers. Bilal was also member of the prison’s Baseball, Football, teams, as well as coached and refereed Basketball.
In 2012, Californians overwhelmingly voted to amend the “Three Strikes” law and Bilal became eligible for release. After nearly 11 years, he returned to San Jose, a district with relatively high support for those reentering, and has since thrived. He is currently the Operations Manager for a major Logistics Company in Newark California. Responsible for 9 Supervisors, with over 150 employees. Bilal is also a Supervisor at world know Football team in Santa Clara. In 2015 Bilal was named Employee of the year.
As a member of “The Return Project,” as well as featured in the Emmy Nominated Documentary, “The Return”, he was also featured on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has been invited to the White House, and has been a panelist at a Capitol Hill Screening with Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore. Bilal has also been on panels in Philadelphia, Virginia, Washington D.C, Chicago New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, san Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland. He has traveled to Prisons in New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, California. Bilal also Is a member of the “Ride Home Program” a Program that picks up released Obama Clemency recipients, take them shopping, get them their first meal, share my story of experience, strength , and hope, and their first 24 hours released. He continues to travel the country speaking about the effects of mass incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse on communities and individuals across America. Bilal is also now interested in writing a book.