T.’s activities and overall reckless lifestyle would cause him to be shot four times, stabbed twice and as T puts it, “ I have had more fights than Mike Tyson and not get paid for none of ‘em”. One would could possibly visualize an image of a “stupid” or “ignorant” gang-banger, Yet this wasn’t the case with T. Through all of the turmoil (or perhaps in spite of it) T. was remained focused and well read. He is described by some as a “natural, nurturing leader and motivator,” even managing to graduate from reform school with 3.0 G.P.A that got him four scholarships to southern California universities.
T. always had “good” in him (greatness is always misunderstood). L.A.P.D. put a jacket on his back that as a Black “man” child they would never take off! The joyous birth of T.’s first manchild, combined with the brain matter of a childhood friend, and an “executive meeting with GOD” all of these other devastating experiences would cause him to take stock of himself and begin to make changes. T. began to look hard at how such self-destructive and high-risk behavior only had 5 certain endings; a life of physical and/or mental disability, incarceration or ultimately, death. The result of this “moral evolution” would become T.’s life work and passion.
After years of public service and dedication, T. Rodgers is now at the forefront of efforts to stop the violence of controllable crime and ease the tension in the home, streets, schools, and prisons. T. has assumed the role of the non-traditional leader in negotiating armistice, forgiveness and participating in a number of peace summits in cities across the country. When T. intervenes to end gang violence, he relies heavily on promoting dialogue and understanding one human being at a time.
T. Rodgers is “The Trainer” as he has trained the trainers. He has poured his heart and soul into reaching out to
troubled (high risk) young men and women and their parents around the country, helping them to redirect their energy from violence toward constructive solutions and actions. T. has said, “It is my mission to change the person, as I change myself. This change helps put anger in perspective and moves them away from violence. I provide support to individuals, encouraging them to empower themselves and utilize their natural talents in a more productive manner. This causes them to challenge the many Underlying Factors (such as abuse, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, mental illness, education, economics, food, shelter, and clothing) that have created the conditions that exacerbate their anger.”
Through his work as a surrogate father, community leader, consultant, and organizer, T. Rodgers has developed a comprehensive curriculum that is now used nationally. He has facilitated training, seminars and workshops for countless organizations including members of the California Department of Corrections staff, Peace Officers, school(s) personnel and other agencies in New York, Chicago, Miami, Denver, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston and Portland, just to name a few.
T. Rodgers has lived the life that parents most fear for their children to live. T. has taken these experiences, and now teaches parents how to prevent their children from following in his footsteps. T. is a motivational speaker who has spoken before diverse audiences from all walks of life. He is frequently a guest lecturer at college campuses and appears in film, television, magazines, newspapers, internet, books, radio and events to discuss inter-ethnic relations, youth empowerment, violence prevention, leadership and most importantly forgiveness.
Close observers of T. Rodger’s inspirational brand of leadership have noted that he approaches his work with patience, understanding, passion and an unwavering commitment to stemming the tide of violence in his community and beyond. As a leader, T. has developed a broad perspective and is willing to join with leaders of other segments of the community to define and solve some of society’s larger problems. His work in reducing the level of violence has been stellar and exemplary.
T. Rodgers could have been a leader in any field he chose, but he decided to dedicate himself to Sidewalk University, his community based consulting company that he founded in Los Angeles in 1975. Through Sidewalk U, T. provides seminars, workshops and consulting programs. T. also offers classes in conjunction with his Non-Profit 501 (c) (3) corporation, S.E.L.F. (Survival Education for Life and Family). Sidewalk U’s first graduation was in June of 1993, and since then T. has helped hundreds of young people get their lives together through continued education and entering the workforce. One of T.’s main philosophies is to teach “human proficiency”: How to move from a life of violence to one of peace and self-empowerment
In addition to his flagship company Sidewalk University, T. Rodgers owns and operates his website www.trodgers.com and is developing www.sidewalku.org to further get his message out to the masses. Famous Warrior Management which provides entertainment management to artists as well as casting services to the television and film industries. Sidewalk Press is T.’s publication division and Sidewalk Entertainment Group is his newly formed Film and Television Production Company. T.’s various business ventures all fall under the umbrella of T.R.I. (T. Rodgers, Inc.)
T. Rodgers is certified in gang intervention work. Has coined and begun using the title of “Gangologist.” simply meaning “a person who studies the philosophy of gangs”. Through his unique brand of “Gangology”, T. utilizes a holistic, alternative approach to reduce gang violence. T. has over 35 years of relevant experience, not only as a former gang leader himself, but understanding the gang culture through his extensive studies, research, and community based activities. T. is a Certified gang intervention worker trainer (he trains the gang in life proficiency). He teaches How not to be a professional victim, Crisis survival, and Community Survival Training and Support. T. is an accomplished actor/producer, getting his first break in 1987 with Dennis Hopper’s now classic, the seminal gang movie, Colors. Since then, T. has consulted/technical advised and/or appeared in many documentaries, films and television programs as well as provided technical advising to the 2001 hit Training Day starring Denzel Washington and most recently B.E.T.’s reality show Baldwin Hills.
T. Rodgers had the distinction of being one of the first ex-gang leaders to re-enter the various correctional institutions throughout the country without in the capacity as a trainer, motivator, an advisor and consultant. T. is also one of the first ex-gang leaders to break into main street America via his numerous appearances in major films, television and print. T. had the honor of brokering one of the first peace treaties on the West side of Los Angeles in 1970 and has participated in many major peace treaties since then. Over the years, T. has developed a well-deserved reputation as a respected face and voice for gang intervention throughout the country and has been invited by cities and organizations across the country to assist them with community problem solving.
T. Rodgers has gone, and continues to go where no other gang member has gone before!