Black Words Matter –
February 19, 2020 – After 13 trips to detox and an equal number of arrests, Kearse “hit rock bottom” on the roof of his mother’s house in a failed suicide attempt. Today Kearse is Vice President of Recovery Services and Community Partnerships at Samaritan Daytop Village, the Briarwood headquarters of one of New York’s largest health and human services non-profit organizations.
“I was a full-blown knucklehead, I think that would adequately describe me,” Kearse said. “I was going through a constant revolving door of getting released from prison and going back to my community a high school dropout with no job. It would always lead me back to the criminal element and drugs.”
Kearse says it was 1980 when he “came out of the rain” and began to educate himself, first earning a GED and then a Bachelors Degree at York College in Jamaica and on the graduate school at Fordham. “I wanted to be the first one from my family to ever earn a Master’s Degree but I needed help with the cost,” Kearse said. “I worked at a Jewish organization called The Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side and I wrote a letter to the board of directors and each of them put up a thousand dollars to send me to Fordham.”