Our Founder, Darrin D. Howell
Darrin moved out of his parents’ house at age 17. Grounded with a good work ethic, he maintained employment in various corporate settings, including a financial institution, an insurance agency, and a medical center. He began attending college, completing three semesters at Katherine Gibbs Boston.
Yet, Darrin also felt the pull of the streets. At age 21, he was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, and sentenced to a year in jail.
Before serving time, Darrin had no long-term aspirations. Like many young men in our community, his goal was to simply survive. Once in jail, and locked in a cell for nearly 23 hours a day, Darrin deeply reflected on his life and his goals. He realized he needed to turn his life around and start giving back to the community.
When Darrin was released from the Suffolk County House of Corrections, he was given five dollars and told not to come back. He hadn’t been provided any resources for finding employment or for transitioning back into the community.
Darrin took initiative and sought gainful employment on his own. He registered with over 200 staffing and temporary employment agencies. Yet, because of his CORI, he faced extraordinary challenges. At one job, Darrin was offered a permanent position after a two-week temporary assignment. He informed his employers of his CORI. His employers proceeded to have him train someone in the work he was doing and, when it was clear that the person trained was competent in doing the job, fired Darrin and hired the person he had trained.
Confused and frustrated, Darrin was encouraged to call Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner for advice. Councilor Turner set up a meeting with Darrin and, after seeing his drive and self-motivation, offered him a position on his staff as Director of Constituent Services. At Councilor Turner’s office, Darrin was the first point of contact for constituents facing employment discrimination, foreclosures, navigating city government, and responding to neighborhood violence. There he learned how various resources, programs, services, and agencies could assist residents with the issues that they were experiencing.
Darrin has mentored at-risk youth, helping to steer them away from crime and toward positive activities. He has been considered an expert on violence prevention, leading a number of initiatives to reduce crime and recidivism. Darrin authored a report examining 20 years of homicides throughout the city of Boston, and spearheaded programs to bring together victims and perpetrators of violence to create “ambassadors of peace.”
Darrin was unsuccessful at his attempt for elected office in 2010 but because of his journey he has become a recognizable community leader and role model for youth growing up in urban cities.
Darrin continues through his work and his activism participating in various protests, demonstrations, and rallies around social and economic injustice issues. Darrin is a graduated of the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Political Boot Camp program and has worked on several electoral campaigns for progressive candidates and progressive issues locally and nationally.
Darrin has been able to apply his own life lessons to others facing the same struggles. Darrin deeply and personally understands the struggles our communities face. He is a natural leader, and brings people together to overcome challenges.
For more information about booking DRIVE Boston founder Darrin Howell for a speaking event at your school, place of worship, or community event, please fill out the form below. We will be in touch soon. Thank you for your interest!