By Taroue Brooks
You are part of an amazing legacy. Who is your grandfather and what did he do?
Reverend George Don Galloway Sr. Was not only my Grandfather, He was a pastor for 33 years he was a civil rights activist leader and one of the creators of the courageous eight. The first Black man to allow his kids to attend school with white kids. He protested, He marched, He fought and spoke for equal rights for blacks to vote, he integrated blacks and white by being the first man to take 40 African American kids from Selma High School to Boston Massachusetts to integrate with white kids in High School teaching them how play a all types of musical instruments music. He fixed all the white people pianos and teaching the white people kids but he was still teaching the black kids and they wanted him to stop protesting to integrate and just be a house reverend and teach only the white people and their kids……he invited all the great civil rights leaders to selma….which became a life long journey for black men.
What inspired you to write a book about your life?
My inspirations in writing the book developed from serving 12 years in prison for the lack of knowledge, enduring pain, lost of family members, violently stabbed in my back and yet and still Justice prevailed. After all that I have been through, I don’t think that It would be truly prevailed justice until I have prevented at least one young man or woman from experiencing or enduring the REPERCUSSIONS from my false moves in life.
How are you able not to be filled with anger having served 12 years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit?
I can honestly say that there was years I lived in prison in anger because I was under the pressures of incarceration, just as if I was Guilty.
Over time after Getting closer to God and learning myself and what I am physically made of, then And then only do I tap into the true me. Knowing what you are not is the first battle with self.
After my father passed and I realized time don’t stop, I devoted my life to proving my innocence myself; And After becoming humble, that’s when I was able to see my blessings clearer.
Given the difficulty of your case, what motivated you not to give up?
I was raised to always have faith, and to never give up. Seriously, there was times in prison when I didn’t know how I would make it through, but after surviving until the next tragic moment happen, I realize how much stronger faith was making me, therefore my faith became stronger!!!!
Why are you so committed to helping our youth?
I think we all go through our own life experiences for a reason and it took me 32 years almost before I realized it but I know that my purpose for being here was to help motivate the less fortunate for a fair chance the free shoulder to lean on, the Advice line when needed, their Law Library, their teachers/preachers, their bank when they broke and most of all their Guardians when their lost.
I think I missed those things growing up because those are not typically family things, those are essentials of life, which are transitional!
How does it feel to have a son?
My Son, (Daylan Preer) is 6yrs old, He is my world but everyday I have fears not wanting my son to fall victim to society of the crime of being a BLACK MAN, it’s almost as if it’s a felony to be black. It’s scary, frightening, overwhelming at times, nerve racking when you have been a VICTIM to the SYSTEM. I pass on my life experiences to the other young men so that another man will pass it on to my son through the Laws of Attraction.
Where would you like to see your life in the next five years?
In the next five years I see myself, having multiple books realesed to self help the people, I want to be traveling around the World delivering the messege to different lands and cultures.
I want to have THE LATHAN WORD REFORM CENTER up and running for At-risk teens and young Adults that come through this program, some off probation to rehabilitate themselves, but I prefer the word REFORM.
I don’t think any one can perform underwater welding without going under water first.
You have to know the worst, in order to know what’s best!!!
About Lathan Word
In prison 12 years for a crime he didn’t commit, Lathan Word is a free man who is on a mission to fulfill his destiny by highlighting injustices in the criminal justice system and wrongful incarceration.
Born in Andalusia, Alabama in 1981, Word had dreams of joining the U.S. Marine Corps. However, the week before he was scheduled to start basic training, Word was convicted in 2000 for an armed robbery and sentenced to 15 years in prison with no chance of parole. Despite the hardships Lathan faced, which included the loss of his father, grandfather, and violently being stabbed in the back six times, his faith never wavered in proving his innocence. Lathan spent years studying the law and the criminal justice system on his own despite several legal denials. In 2011, a judge ordered a directed verdict of acquittal for Word after the main witness against him (who is now serving multiple life sentences) admitted Word had no involvement. Three years after his release from prison, Word helped pass the first wrongful conviction law in the state of Georgia (House Bill 73). He joined the Alabama Innocence Project focused on assisting others with contesting their convictions. Word also began pursuing a degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Word is adamant in mentoring today’s youth from working for Midland Middle School as a building facilitator, teaching life courses at Best Academy (an all boys’ school in downtown Atlanta), and conducting numerous speaking engagements at various schools throughout the area. He is also an ambassador for Bridge the Gap, a world-wide youth engagement foundation.
The grandson of a minister, Word believes he is finally is realizing his calling by addressing the dire needs of his community and promoting equal justice for all.