I recently applied to attend the Black Summit conference at Turning Point USA. I admire many of the Conservative influencers such as Candace Owens and Kingface because I do share many traditional values as an African-American and agree with a lot of the speakers from the conservative community. In the application I shared how I have a violent felony conviction and my belief that this is partly due to the illegal immigration in the community I was from. I was accepted to attend the event which was $10. I had lost interest in politics and was going to skip it in favor of visiting nearby Salem, Massachusetts and getting a tarot card reading from Rachel True but a week before the event I received an invitation from the White House stating I was invited to attend an event at the White House.
I was ecstatic about this opportunity and decided to make the eight hour trip and bought a new suit at Men’s Warehouse. Not to mention my lodging expenses for three days at a nearby La Quinta Inn. I attended the first day of conferences and heard from speakers I greatly admire such as Candace Owens and Pastor Mark Burns. I even met many of the influencers in the Conservative movement who I interact with online and that I’ve never met in person like Kingface and Terrance Williams.
However, I wasn’t allowed into the White House because of my violent felony which I had disclosed in my Turning Point application and was treated very rudely by Turning Point’s staff Tyler Bower who stated “we just don’t want a scene” and Lauren Toncich who rolled her eyes when I calmly stated “they could have told me this before I made the trip to D.C.”. I also would note that my felony conviction is eight years old and I’ve made huge strides at self improvement such as pursuing a graduate degree at Harvard University, performing countless hours of community service, and being a father and husband. Keep in mind I’m also a Veteran and while I can understand not being allowed entry to the White House, perhaps they shouldn’t have invited me and this situation raises more questions about Trump’s actual commitment to Criminal Justice Reform such as his “First Step Act”. Even with that stated it was a huge honor to be invited to the White House, I’m ecstatic for the people who got the opportunity to attend and it was a historic moment, I just wish a mistake I made almost a decade ago didn’t prevent me from participating in it.