Speaker started NLC scholarship for male education majors.
Young men who want to stay out of prison should strive to join the middle class or above, a Texas Supreme Court Grievance Oversight Committee member said Friday at Northeast Lakeview College.
E.F. “Smiley” Williams, the first person to provide an endowed scholarship at the college, spoke to an audience of about 50 people, most of them young men.
Williams offers a scholarship at the college for males who want to be teachers. He started this scholarship due to the lack of men in those roles. In 2011-2012, 23.7 percent of public school teachers were male, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
He said “men are becoming extinct” and described how his daughters can’t find a decent man because “most men don’t have an education, they are on drugs, in jail, or have a police record and can’t get a decent job.”
He also discussed socioeconomic suppression in the justice system, and the importance of obtaining middle-class status.
“The less money you have, the more likely you are to be locked up,” said Williams, a retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant who also served in the Firefighters and Police Officers Civil Service Commission in San Antonio.
He linked this reasoning to the ideals and disposable income of the middle class.
Unlike their lower-income counterparts, middle-class families send their kids to college, have money in their pocket and invest in retirement, he said.
If their children get arrested, they have the money to bail them out of jail, and to hire an attorney to represent them in court, he said.
Williams explained that those without disposable income cannot bond out of jail, which means they have to sit in jail without a conviction until a judge is able to review their case.
“There are a lot of people in jail that confess to a crime they did not do,” Williams said.
He explained that many people cannot afford a lawyer and have to settle for a court-appointed attorney that does not have the time to deal with the case.
Many times people are offered a plea bargain and, due to circumstances, take a deal to avoid a longer sentence or a stricter punishment.
“This wouldn’t happen if you had disposable income, because you would have a lawyer that your family is paying and not a court-appointed lawyer who is in a hurry.” Williams said.
Nursing freshman Jeremy Winfrey asked, “Is disposable income affected by your race?”
Williams responded, “No, disposal income is disposal income. It doesn’t matter what race you are. Money is green.”
He encouraged students to avoid trouble with the police and to vote.
“You are suppressed, and you don’t even know it,” Williams said.
He discussed the importance of being knowledgeable about the legal system and encouraged students to visit websites such as www.prisonsucks.com and www.prisonpolicy.org
After the presentation Williams wanted young men to walk away with the information that “life is tough and they are responsible for their life.”
For information on the E.F. “Smiley” and Sandra Williams Endowed Founders Scholarship, visit www.alamo.edu/nlc.