Organization Name
Saving Icarus
About Us
My name is Jerry Johnson and I am an African American man who happens to be a former prosecutor. For over twenty years I have worked in or around the criminal justice system and I observed hundreds of young African American men enter into the criminal system and not be seen again for several years. I prosecuted people who made life-altering decisions in moments of distress or poor judgment. During sentencing most people said that they were following the wrong crowd. It bothered me that once the decision was made, it was impossible to undo the criminal act. I wish I could have gone back in time and help each one of them make better decisions. I prayed about it and what you are about to read came to me one small portion at a time Statistics: Saving Icarus was created to help the kids avoid becoming a part of the following stark data. The Sentencing Project determined that there are 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Prisons determined that 38.2 percent of all Federal inmates are African American and 93.2 percent are male. According to the National Center for Fathering, 85 percent of youth in prison come from fatherless homes and 70 percent of gang members come from the same single parent family structure. Although these numbers are abstract, I experienced them day after day and it is surreal. The criminal justice system is in the beginning of greatly needed change. While the system is under construction, my objective is to create a detour around the criminal justice system until it is corrected. We can even the odds for an at-risk youth. According to, an at-risk youth who has been mentored are: 85 percent more likely to participate in sports and extracurricular activities, 78 percent more likely to volunteer, 55 percent more likely to enroll in college, and 46 percent less likely to use drugs Mission: Saving Icarus’s mission is to help at-risk kids avoid the criminal justice system by teaching better decision-making skills and mental coping methods. These skills and methods will be cultivated through bike touring adventures, presentations on how individuals overcame hardship, small group discussion, journaling, and volunteering. My goal is prepare them with tools that they can use to overcome adversity and self-doubt
We Participate Because
I created this endeavor because there are cultural pitfall and land mines that people of color face that require a sophisticated approach that is rooted in planning, reflection, observation, creativity, resiliency and empathy. These tools are not inherent or intuitive but virtues that need to be cultivated over time. Grappling with race, discrimination, gender, interacting with the police all while not having a parent who can guide you around these land mines results in deep self destructive anger and mistrust. I think that it is critical to give the tools of decision making and mental coping methods in a loving and adventurous manner of biking, storytelling, and volunteering. Our culture presents unique challenges for young people of color and to help them meet these challenges with creativity, thoughtfulness, and empathy is the objective.