Charles X. Cook (far left) receiving an award from the African-American Leadership Association

A few months ago, I interviewed Charles X. Cook, owner of One on One Personal Fitness, for the  GAME CHANGERS PROJECT. Charles tells the story of how he went from a highly recruited High School basketball player, to drug dealer, to federal prisoner for 17 years, to now the owner and operator of his own gym.

Charles’ story of incarceration is all too familiar in our community, where one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime,  yet his story of redemption is inspirational. His gym One on One Personal Fitness, just moved into a larger location, and recently held a fitness boot camp fundraiser to assist the Team Maliyah campaign. Maliyah Jones, two years old, has stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer. So if you’re looking for a place to get in shape, go to One on One Personal Fitness.

On Saturday, January 19th, I’ll be doing a special performance spotlighting the plight of longtime wrongly held political prisoners, many of whom were members of the Black Panther Party. The performance will be a part of the 17th Annual Dinner Tribute to Black Prisoners and their Families organized by the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee. It will take place at the Martin Luther King Labor Center, 310 West 43rd Street, near 8th Avenue. It will take place from 3-7pm with dinner served promptly at 4pm. The theme for this year’s dinner tribute is ‘Transforming Solidarity: Working Together To End Political Imprisonment and Mass Incarceration.