Greatness is a Process, and Peace is a Lifestyle, and it only makes sense that Paper Planes and Erica Ford would join forces in June for Gun Violence Awareness Month. Set to release later this year is the limited edition signature orange Crown, a celebration of the impactful work of LIFE Camp Inc.
Listen to the Erica Ford Interview
n the heart of Queens, amidst the vibrant streets of Sutphin Boulevard, resides a remarkable figure who has dedicated her life to transforming communities and empowering individuals. Erica Ford, a force to be reckoned with, has spent over three decades fighting against violence, advocating for peace, and instilling a sense of greatness in those around her. As the founder of LIFE Camp Inc. and a prominent community leader, Ford’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience, authenticity, and an unwavering commitment to positive change.
The Early Years
Erica Ford’s upbringing in South Jamaica laid the foundation for her invincible spirit. Growing up in an environment plagued by violence, poverty, and limited opportunities, Ford witnessed firsthand the destructive impact it had on her community. She was determined to break the cycle and create a better future for herself and those around her.
“Every single person’s skillset is just as a valuable as the next person’s skillset in this process to liberation“
The Birth of a Movement
In 2002, Ford embarked on a mission that would forever change the landscape of her neighborhood. Recognizing the urgent need for intervention and peace building, she founded LIFE Camp Inc., an organization aimed at providing alternatives to violence and empowering at-risk youth. Through innovative programs, mentorship, and community engagement, Ford created a space where young individuals could reclaim their lives and chart a path towards greatness.
Greatness is a Process
For Ford, greatness extends far beyond mere achievements or material success. It is a state of mind, a lifestyle built on authenticity, resilience, and self-discovery. She firmly believes that every person has the potential for greatness, and her life’s work revolves around helping individuals tap into their true potential. Ford understands that the journey towards greatness is not a linear path but a process of self-reflection, growth, and continuous learning.
Over her 35-year journey, Erica Ford has encountered numerous challenges and triumphs, each teaching her valuable lessons about the nature of humanity and the power of compassion. Through her work with the Violence Intervention and Prevention Specialists (VIPS) and other initiatives, Ford has witnessed firsthand the transformational impact of credible messengers—individuals who have experienced similar struggles and can connect with those most in need. She has come to understand the significance of emotional intelligence, integrity, and the power of leading with love in fostering lasting change.
The Power of Community
One of the most remarkable aspects of Ford’s work is her ability to unite diverse communities, bridging the gaps that divide them. Whether through organizing rallies, collaborating with influential figures like Russell Simmons, or engaging with artists and entertainers, Ford understands the importance of collective action in effecting positive change. She empowers individuals to see beyond their immediate circumstances, envisioning a future where peace, equality, and opportunity are not just aspirations but realities.
Erica Ford’s indomitable spirit and unwavering dedication to uplifting communities have made her an influential figure in the fight against violence and for peace. Her journey, from the troubled streets of South Jamaica to becoming a beacon of hope for countless individuals, exemplifies the power of resilience, authenticity, and the pursuit of greatness. Ford’s unwavering commitment to transforming lives serves as a powerful reminder that through love, compassion, and community engagement, we can overcome adversity and create a more peaceful and equitable world. Her story is one of inspiration and a testament to the enduring impact one person can have on an entire community.
This conversation was made possible by the support of Paper Planes, whose commitment to empowering individuals and promoting positive change aligns perfectly with New York Said’s vision and mission.