Erica Ford is a peace alchemist. Born in Southern California, Erica moved to South Jamaica Queens with her mother at a young age, following the senseless death of her father in the Vietnam War. Her anger was born out of the impact of this tragic loss, as well as the general conditions of imbalance experienced by Black people in America. Her alchemy is the ability to channel that anger into an inspiration and motivation for peace.
"I'm someone who wants to make peace, but was often fueled by anger over the conditions in my community... Deepak Chopra used to call me 'The Angry Peacemaker'..."
Erica has impacted the lives of thousands of disenfranchised Black and Brown people in vulnerable communities, schools, housing projects and within the prison system, for over 30 years. She got her start at a Human Rights rally on December 12th 1987, at the young age of 22 and learned early the power of enrolling others to see a vision greater than themselves. She worked with the late great Tupac Shakur co-founding The Code to decrease youth violence and incarceration within the Black and Latino Community; in 2002, she created LIFE Camp Inc in partnership with Ja Rule.
"Most people have great ideas but don't commit to the process of execution. It's through the process that greatness comes"
Since the founding of LIFE Camp, Erica has been sought after for her expertise in New York City and throughout the United States. Her presence has become essential for many known anti-violence initiatives. Her work has ignited significant funding of this work (more than 50 million) supporting a widespread impact of peace. This is not EASY work, especially as a woman in the male-dominated field of violence prevention.
“As a woman leader in this field, I bring so much more than just my gender; I often wish I could be equally acknowledged for my great mind, ideas, and contributions to this movement.”
Erica has been the recipient of many awards, including the MIT Elevate Fellowship, New York City and State Power 100, and Ebony Power 100. Her birthday of April 8th has been officially proclaimed Erica Ford Day in New York City. She also co-founded Peace Week in New York City.
“You can’t (just) be validated on the outside because you will always be looking beyond yourself for something.”
Although Erica is very much a self-starter and self motivated, her love for the people and her dedicated work in the community has been celebrated by many luminaries and industry leaders, including Julianne Moore, Deepak Chopra, and Fat Joe. Her work has been highlighted by The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, iHeartRadio, Emmis Communications and countless others. She is a sought after speaker and subject expert on this work throughout the U.S. and on the international stage. Her greatness is not in question. When asked about where others could start in this work her advice was “Start where you are. Start with your voice. Start with your vision, your mission and grow from that.”
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