CEO and Founder of LIFE, Camp Inc.
"This is not a job, this is my LIFE; my undying love keeps me committed to my people until my glory day takes me away."
? Erica Ford
remembers what it was like growing up in Jamaica, Queens back in the 1980s, where crack use and gun violence was an everyday occurrence.
A resident in the high crime neighborhood since the age of five, Erica
grew up attending countless funerals for friends and seeing mothers left alone to raise their children after losing their husbands to death or prison.
With a burning desire to help effect positive changes in her
attended a rally for the December 12th Movement
, an international human rights' group.
Joining the December 12th Movement
, then 18, and solidified her
life's ambition to become a change maker.
Shortly after, she founded the Black Consciousness Youth Move- ment that not only helped create and develop student governments in New York City high schools, but also organized action against police brutality, while calling for self- accountability.
While at York College (The City of the University of New York), where she earned a bache- lor's degree in political science, she served as President of the Black Student Caucus, Vice President of the Evening Student Government and co-founder of The Code Club, formed in 1994, with her friend, the late Tupac Shakur, and others.
The group's mission was to keep young people out of jail and to decrease "Black on Black" crime.
In 1998 and 1999, The Code co-coordinated the Million Youth March where tens of thousands of young people from across the country assembled to rally against injustices and strengthen their plat- forms.
In 2002, the tragic murders of two children in her
community inspired Erica
, along with Jef- fery "Ja Rule" Atkins and others, to create the monumental LIFE
Camp (Love Ignites Free- dom Through Education).
made numerous appearances in print, television, radio and Internet outlets and has partnered with numerous entertainers, and athletes, such as Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Salt & Pepa
, NBA Allstars Kenny Smith, Stephon Marbury and John Starks, NFL Superbowl Champ Michael Strahan and TI, to name a few, encouraging them to give back and play an active role in transforming lives and communities:
After practically 30 years of dedicating herself to championing for today's youth, Erica Ford
shows no signs of stopping.
current 'Bury Da Beef' campaign has put together a citywide coalition/campaign to reduce gun violence.
Another recent brainchild, her
NY Peace Week, occurs each January and honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of non- violence.