Michael’s initiative is the NYC based Crew Count created to combat an NYPD initiative called Operation Crew Cut, which drastically increased the gang database in NY by over 40,000 people who are overwhelmingly people of color. Mind Wide Open is partnering today with Crew Count to raise funds to continue the important work they are doing in the most challenging NYC neighborhoods. Their goal is to create educational, employment and other opportunities to lower the numbers of kids that are getting involved in gangs.
The pair also delve into subjects including systemic oppression, prison reform, women in prison, and mental health challenges. Michael reveals his own struggles with intergenerational trauma, how therapy has helped him and how he still loves the neighborhoods in and around NYC where he grew up.
He told Lily, “It’s imperative that we start to allow space for our young people to recognize that nothing about systemic racism is normal and the trauma that comes from that is not normal. It’s okay to say that we’re hurting and asking for help.”
Michael is his authentic self, talking candidly about himself but also about other initiatives he is involved with including helping Women of color. Michael recounts a trip to visit a relative in prison where he noticed that the vast majority of people taking the bus were visiting the men’s prison, while there were far fewer people visiting the women’s prison.
He says, “When women go to prison, we forget about them. They’re left there to deal with all sorts of abuse. I’m just starting to unpack that and becoming more verbal about lifting up our women in our communities.”
Lily says, “It elevates Mind Wide Open and my mission in welcoming Michael K. Williams today. His work toward systemic change, racial justice, and focus on the importance of mental health exemplify everything I could hope to achieve with the series. He is a force for change, honesty, and authenticity. If you are able to donate any amount to Crew Count, please do.”
In season two of Mind Wide Open, Lily has conversations coming up with renowned artists, activists, mental health professionals, and others. The show will be on IGTV every other Tuesday at 12 noon ET and is now available as a podcast on Spotify and Apple as well as on YouTube with subtitles available in Spanish and English.
Lily Cornell Silver is the creator and host of the IGTV interview series, Mind Wide Open. Her mission is to reduce the stigma surrounding the conversations around mental health. Lily is a poised, intelligent, and talented young woman whose goal is to open and amplify the conversations around trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, and other challenges. Lily is a junior in college majoring in Media Studies, Sociology, and Psychology. She is also a singer and In addition to managing and promoting Seattle musicians, she is active with many social justice initiatives including organizations such as Black Lives Matter, NAACP,Equal Justice Initiative, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Planned Parenthood among many others. Lily Cornell Silver is the only daughter of music industry manager Susan Silver(Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Screaming Trees), and the first-born of the late singer/artist Chris Cornell, (Soundgarden/Audioslave) She is twenty years old and makes her home in Seattle, Washington.
ABOUT Michael K. Williams
Michael Kenneth Williams is one of this generation’s most respected and acclaimed actors. By bringing complicated and charismatic characters to life—often with surprising tenderness—Williams has established himself as a gifted and versatile performer with a unique ability to mesmerize audiences with his stunning character portrayals. Williams is best known for his remarkable work on THE WIRE. Williams also co-starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed series BOARDWALK EMPIRE in which he played Chalky White, In 2012, BOARDWALK EMPIRE won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Williams received his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor for HBO’s BESSIE and subsequently received his second Emmy nomination for his work in HBO’s highly acclaimed limited series THE NIGHT OF. His recent projects include Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries WHEN THEY SEE US, which garnered Michael his third Emmy nomination. Williams’s recent HBO series LOVECRAFT COUNTRY from producers JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele was also critically acclaimed. Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama BULLET after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. Giving back to the community plays an important role in his life. He does Crew Count and launched MAKING KIDS WIN (MKW), whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play. He serves as the ACLU’s Ambassador of Smart Justice, and as an ambassador for the INNOCENCE PROJECT while serving on the board for NY based URBAN ARTS PARTNERSHIP. Born, raised, and currently residing in Brooklyn, New York.