By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
WILLINGBORO – J.W. Piercy III knows he is being watched as an African-American male, but the New Jersey correction professional, media specialist and in the community activist embraces it.
Piercy created his motto about leaning into those moments, whether engaging with the offender population, hosting several podcasts, supporting his fraternity Omega Psi Phi and working alongside his wife, Dr. April Piercy, as an officer in the Southern Burlington County Chapter of the NAACP.
“As I grow wiser, I realize that being a role model is actually being the baton holder,” Piercy told Front Runner New Jersey this week. “My purpose is to prepare some young Black man or woman to take the baton and continue the race, carrying with them the traditions, customs, and respect that was so graciously given to me. Each one, reach one, to teach one.
“It is also the basis for my motto: ‘When you walk outside of your front door, it’s SHOWTIME and the world is your stage. Just make sure that people are not watching the rehearsal,” he said.
Making a Positive Impact
The Petersburg, Va. native, best known by his alter-ego Dean Geronimo on his podcasts, said one of his goals is the make a positive impact on people once they come into his presence. He works in the Division of Programs and Community Services, Office of Transitional Services, which provides therapeutic programming to the offender population.
“Having experienced both the custody and civilian side of corrections, I have learned that it takes patience, a calm demeanor, being firm, fair, and consistent and possessing an understanding attitude in order to help individuals make positive changes,” Piercy said, who has been in corrections for more than 20 years.
“Helping them with identifying things they would like to change, and taking steps toward making those changes in a positive manner to begin living a law-abiding, pro-social lifestyle upon leaving prison is most important. I believe that if one person remembers something that I said or that it helps them with making those changes, then I have done what I have been tasked to do,” he added.
One of Piercy’s passion is the media. He started producing the podcast/live radio show “The Voice of the People” in 2014. When the host suddenly left the show in 2016, he and co-host Marc Lee, from Raleigh, N.C., rebranded it “Straight Talk with Dean and Marc” and its popularity soared.
He also co-hosts the national radio show “Let’s Talk About It,” which airs biweekly. “Straight Talk” is a property of 807 Media.
- “Straight Talk with Dean and Marc,” Mondays 7-9 p.m. Eastern Time, on www.blogtalkradio.com/squared807, facebook.com/squared807 Twitter and Instagram @squared807
- “Let’s Talk About It,” Thursdays bi-weekly 7-8 p.m., on wbks1.com.
“807 Media is the name of my company,” Piercy said. “We specialize in streaming media center sales, mobile tv applications sign-ups, promotions and hosting events. We also create flyers and are able to generate press releases. The ‘807’ part of the company’s name pays homage to my hometown family. Back in 1992 while students at Virginia State University we used to have events under the name ‘Room 807.’ I guess I keep a little piece of home with me.
As for the Dean Geronimo moniker? “I didn’t want to use my own name, so I created one. I was given the nickname of Geronimo by a good friend that has since gained his wings. In my fraternity, I was responsible for bringing 15 new members into the chapter. As I was their “Dean of Pledgees,” that is where the first part originates. Putting the two together and preferring to be a background force rather than being in the front, the name “THE SIXTH MAN DEAN GERONIMO” was born.”
Piercy doesn’t hide the fact that he is close to his fraternity Omega Psi Phi, the historic African-American Greek-letter organization that counts the civil right icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and entertainer Steve Harvey as members.
“Omega Psi Phi means so much to me because it was created on the foundation of friendship,” Piercy said. “My Godfather (the late Dr. Elmore E. Rainey, Sr) and his son (E. E. Rainey, Jr.) are Omega Men, so they were my examples growing up. Also, there were a number of teachers within the Petersburg Public School System that were Omega men. Just the basic interpersonal relations amongst themselves and others is what appeals to me.
“Omega Psi Phi is like no other fraternity. We live and breathe its tenets, and provide outstanding community service in the areas in which we live. My joys are the joys of my brothers; they are there in times of need, as they make my sorrows their own. It is a very special thing when you can work and have fun with men of like attainment. Wait until you get to see firsthand how we greet each other, no matter how long (or how short) of a time that has passed since we were last together.” Piercy said.
With His ‘Best Friend’
The Piercys are both members of the SBC-NAACP. He said he enjoys that time because you “have your best friend by your side.” April Piercy, cofounder of the blog Queen Village LLC, serves as secretary and membership chair.
“We are able to bounce ideas off of each other and along with the rest of our talented branch members come up with quality programs (like our SOULcial Justice Cafe and Bowling events), as well as effectively fight for social justice, which continues to this day,” Piercy said. “Currently, we have our Saving Our Sisters #SOS Campaign, which provides personal alarms to deter human and sex trafficking. Please go to http://sbcnaacp.org/?p=1128 for more details. Any donations are greatly appreciated.”
Piercy addressed various other subjects in his interview with Front Runner New Jersey.
FRNJ: Tell me about your family and education.
J.W. Piercy III: I am the oldest of three sons born to SFC (Ret.) John W. Piercy, Jr. and the late Claudette J. Piercy. I am a native of Petersburg, Va. having completed high school there in 1991 and then completing my bachelor’s degree in business administration from Virginia State University in 1995. I am also a graduate of Capella University, having earned a master of science degree in public safety with a specialization in criminal justice in 2016. I currently live in Willingboro, having moved here in 2004. We ended up here because after coming back to N.J. from my home state in Virgina, I did not want to move back to North Jersey. Wanted a more laid back pace. Closed my eyes and put my finger down on the map. My wife said Willingboro was where my finger landed. We came, checked it out, and have been here since that time.
FRNJ: What led you to corrections as a profession?
J.W. Piercy III: I was previously in retail management and wanted a change. It was my cousin who had recently separated from military service and had begun working in corrections that talked me into giving it a try. Riverside Regional Jail and Superintendent Darnley R. Hodge (now Compliance Director with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana) gave me that start. I started as a unit officer, then promoted to run the jail’s Work, Education, and Rehabilitative Release program, and then promoted to the Training and Education Department. In 2006, I came to the N.J. Department of Corrections as a social worker at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. I was promoted to assistant social work supervisor in 2007 and relocated to Central Office headquarters. In 2016, I was promoted to program specialist 3 and remained at Central Office.
FRNJ: How long have you been connected with the SBC NAACP and why did you get involved with the organization?
J.W. Piercy III: For the past 6 years, I have been involved with the Southern Burlington County NAACP. My wife joined first, and she wanted me to check it out and said it would be good if it were something that we could do together. I went to a couple of meetings and then became a member. From there, I became the Freedom Fund chair in 2015. I was elected to second vice president in 2016, and then first vice president in 2017. Currently, I am still first vice president. It is a small branch that does great things, having won Branch of the Year in 2018 under the leadership of Mrs. Crystal Charley-Sibley, our branch president. The fight for social justice continues. Check us out and join the fight at www.sbcnaacp.org!
FRNJ: Tell me a little more about your involvement with Omega Psi Phi.
J.W. Piercy III: I was initiated in Nu Nu Chapter (Willingboro) in the Spring of 2007. I have both International and district life memberships and was a deputy state representative for seven years. I am also a charter member of the Gamma Nu Nu Chapter (Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst). While in Nu Nu Chapter, I was director of public relations for five years and vice Basileus for one-year term. I am currently the Gamma Nu Nu director of public relations. Like “The Bridge Builder Ques” on Facebook at facebook.com/jbmdlques and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @jbmdlques
FRNJ: Who has and continues to inspire you (parents, teachers, etc.)?
J.W. Piercy III: My parents were my first inspiration. While my mother has transitioned to be with the Most High, my Father is still with us. That is my first best friend. The things that I learned from them definitely make me who I am today. I was fortunate to grow up with a strong family unit, so my younger brothers and all of my aunts and uncles and cousins have and continue to motivate me to continue to represent my parents in the best possible light. My friends have inspired me as well. We push each other to do better, and celebrate in each other’s successes. My fraternal brothers (both Greek and Masonic) inspire me to be the best person that I can.
FRNJ: Where do you see yourself in five years?
J.W. Piercy III: Actually, smiling because I will be two years to retirement. Seriously, I hope to be able to learn more, do more, and impart some wisdom to someone else. If I can just get these Powerball or Mega Millions numbers right. We don’t always get to choose our path. Whatever the Most High has for me to do, I will do my best to be that good and faithful servant.
FRNJ: Anything else you would like to add?
J.W. Piercy III: Let’s see, I am also a Prince Hall Mason, hailing from Woodlin Lodge #30 PHA F&AM (Bordentown) and a member of Princess Leah #23, Order of the Eastern Star, PHA for the Jurisdiction of New Jersey where we also provide outstanding service to the community. I am a part of the Internet Special Ops Team of Jamla Records, based out of North Carolina and owned by Grammy Award-winning Producer 9th Wonder. Finally, in 2016, I was recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of its 100 Modern Men.
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