“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

On November 30, 1998, I told my mom to stay home with me. I wanted to wake up the next morning and have her get me ready for school and walk me to my bus stop. Instead, I woke up to my aunts and Godmother crying, telling me that my mom had been murdered, shot sixteen times.

Here I was, a five-year-old who had lost not one but two parents to gun violence, as my dad was murdered five years earlier. Throughout my life, I used the loss of my parents as fuel to become successful; I wanted to make them proud. I was determined to be the first in my family to graduate from college and obtain my CPA license. With the support of family, friends, and mentors, I was able to achieve these goals.

My life journey has taught me that talent is somewhat evenly distributed but opportunity is not. This realization inspired me to create the Angel B. Wilson Foundation, a non-profit organization created in memory of my mother and dedicated to helping high school students impacted by gun violence. To date, I have awarded fifteen students over $15,000 in grants and scholarships. As I ascend, I will continue turning my pain into purpose and using my resources to shrink the opportunity gap for disadvantaged youth.

— Jerome Fulton, Jr.