Yusef-Andre Wiley was born October 24, 1969, and raised in South Los Angeles, California. Both his parents, Betty and Sampson Wiley, are originally from Texas. Yusef-Andre is the youngest of five children. By 13, he started associating with gang members and getting into trouble around the neighborhood. After serving a juvenile sentence, he continued gang involvement in South LA (Compton, Watts, and Willowbrook). The negative lifestyle that comes with being a “gang banger” eventually landed him in the California prison system at the age of 21.
After being placed in solitary confinement, Mr. Wiley began to discover his spirituality and later converted to Islam. His spiritual faith took him away from the violence and destruction of gang life to a purposeful and honorable way of living. He served 22 years before he was released in May 2012 at 43. Mr. Wiley has worked for many years to end gang and youth violence through his program development, writing, and intervention.
Mr. Wiley has also assisted several reentry start-up organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, was a former Commissioner on the Human Relations Commission of the City of Union City, and sat on Alameda County reentry panels and advisory boards. He is an author and has earned an AA Degree in Small Business Management and a degree in Paralegal Studies. Additionally, Yusef-Andre Wiley is a certified speaker, trainer, and life coach of the John Maxwell Team, an international certification program.