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“In America you have the right to free speech and a right to remain silent. In response to injustice and inequality the latter is not an option.” Tracey Syphax
Expert on: Motivational speaker, entrepreneur, community organizer, author
Tracey D. Syphax isan entrepreneur, community activist, author, and a motivational speaker. Heis the President/CEO of two million dollar award winning corporations Phax Group Construction & Design LLC., providing home and building improvements and real estate developer, the Phax Group, LLC.
But the backstory here isas amazing asitis inspiring. Today hes a successful businessman serving his community. Twenty-two years ago Tracey was identified as inmate #226926. Hewas once a drug addict, gang member and drug dealer. Being shot in1988 and in a coma for three weeks wasnt enough tokeephim off the street and we hear that criminals, drug-dealers and ex-offenders will re-offend after theyrereleased. But Traceys story took a more positive turn. After completing his high school diploma in jail, Tracey made a decision to change his life. He didnt return to the streets. He didnt return to a life ofcrime. Instead he built a solid business, amassed millions in real estate and became an advocate for helping others make a successful re-entry into the community.
He grew upin a single parent household and lost his brother in a car accident. In prison, he recognized that so many of his fellow inmates were good business people,but used their skills for the wrong business. His life took many turns, including a bout with cancer. And the lessons he took from all this was tobe humbled by what he has, what hes able todo and to see that life, health and freedom are the true blessings.
That change of attitude has led to awards and accolades too many to name, but heres a sampling. Tracey has lent his voice to the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice onBan the Box laws in New Jersey, serving as a board member of the Mercer County Re-Entry Task Force, Chairman of the Board ofthe award-winning entrepreneurial program, Minding Our Business.In2011 Tracey made history asthe first African-American tobe awarded Entrepreneur of the Yearsby the 55 year old Princeton Chamber of Commerce. He was also appointed by New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie to oversee millions of dollars in construction in Trenton. Hes a featured contributor in the 2014 documentaries, Elementary Genocide, which reveals the school-to-prison pipeline and Incarcerating US, which explores the prison and criminal justice system in the US. And in 2014, the White House chose him as a White House Champion of Change for his tireless work in helping to facilitate employment opportunities for former prison inmates. There areat least a dozen more accolades and awards. His story has been told inSource Magazine, NJBiz, Black Enterprise Magazine, BBC News of London, among others.