Jonathan Abdur Rahim King will be honored as the 2020 Community Champion of Adult Literacy at the Literacy Is Essential Telethon on October 21, 2020.
Jonathan is an agent of change and a force for good in the City of Chester, the city where he was born and raised.
As a community leader, he has been involved in mentoring young people, community organizing, prison reform, education, citizen re-entry, and reducing gun violence.
That’s quite a resume for someone who was sent to jail for selling drugs as a young man. While there, Jonathan had an “aha” moment when seeing a father and son incarcerated at the same time. He decided prison was not the future he wanted for himself.
Based on his personal experience, Jonathan has worked tirelessly to ease the difficult transition that community members face when returning to society after serving time in prison, also known as citizen re-entry.
He has taken action to guide young people to make good choices in their lives, serving as an Amachi Mentor and providing leadership in Brothers of Concern, a community organization that presents positive role models and alternatives for at-risk youth. He started the Safe Corridors program in Chester to ensure the safety of students as they arrive to and depart from school. In addition, he is a supervisor for Cure Violence Global, a nationwide initiative that promotes creative solutions and personal intervention to reduce gun violence.
Because he believes education is key to creating opportunities, he is the Community Liaison for the Chester Charter School for the Arts and has served on the Board of Directors of the Delaware County Literacy Council since 2012. He also proudly notes that he has an Associate Degree in Social Work and is working on his bachelor’s degree.
But he is perhaps most proud of being appointed as a citizen member of the County Jail Oversight Board of George Hill Corrections Facility, the very jail where he served time more than 30 years ago.
Jonathan believes his lifelong activism shares goals with the Black Lives Matter movement. He sees the injustices that Brown and Black people face on a daily basis, but he remains hopeful that things will eventually improve, stating “It is young people’s energy that is going to be the driving force to bring about change.”