Dr. Marlon A. Smith is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Black Greeks Speak Social Justice and Human Rights Council. Prior to founding the nonprofit arm of BGS, Marlon served as the Texas State Reentry Manager for the Innerchange Freedom Initiative (IFI) from 2007-2014. IFI is one of the oldest and largest faith based pre-release reentry program in the country under Prison Fellowship Ministries. While at IFI he helped reduce the recidivism rate of program graduates to thirteen percent, and increased the number of men enrolled in a college degree program by over 65 percent. Furthermore, he developed partnerships with local, state, and national public officials, educators, and advocacy organizations to impact the rate of incarceration in communities of color and developed programs and policy initiatives to address the challenges previously incarcerated men and women face when leaving prisons and jails. He also provided leadership to state and national research projects on reentry and criminal justice reforms, with particular focus on the collateral consequences of incarceration on communities and families.
While managing the reentry division for IFI Texas, Marlon created and hosted Black Greeks Speak Internet Radio show on the MJWJ Radio Network. As creator and host of BGS radio show he was able to bring together public officials, activists, and community leaders for engaged dialogue and community awareness on a broad range of social justice and public policy issues. Prior to working for Innerchange Freedom Initiative, he served in local parish ministry for churches in Texas. He served as both the Associate Minister for Missions and Evangelism at New Faith Church in Houston, Texas and as Minister of Outreach at New Bethel CIC Church in Fort Worth, where he directed the Certificate of Theology Program for the Interdenominational Theological Consortium in Atlanta, Georgia. While in both his role as Minister of Outreach in Fort Worth and Minister of Missions in Houston Texas, Marlon was able to design local and international coalitions and strategic outreach partnerships that united church leaders, city and government officials, and school administrators for the purpose of assessing and addressing social inequity issues for men in women not only in the United States, but also in Peru, Jamaica, Africa, and India.
In 2001, he became the Program Director for United Nations Advocacy for the General Board of Church and Society for the United Methodist Church, where he researched and participated in international justice projects on race and poverty. Prior to going to New York to work at the United Nations on behalf of GBCS, Marlon worked as the Coordinator for Continuing Education from 1999-2001 for Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Between 1994 and 1999, he also worked in community and government relations for both corporate and non-profit organizations.
Marlon has written and lectured on the intellectual and political contributions black male felons offer to the black radical intellectual traditions. His dissertation entitled Reshaping King's Beloved Community: The Experiences of Black Male Felons and their Impact on the Black Radical Intellectual Traditions, brings together Black Liberation Theology, American Pragmatism, and Public Policy to address the socio-political and socio-economic constraints faced by incarcerated persons. He continues to direct national reentry and criminal justice reform efforts and trains and consults organizations on reentry program initiatives across the country.
His civic involvement encompasses leadership roles with a wide range of local, state and national organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People, Former Board of Directors for Interfaith Worker Justice of Houston and founding Board Member for the Achievement through Leadership Foundation. Marlon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations with a minor in African American Studies from the University of Houston in 1994. He went on to earn a Master in Theological Studies from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University and his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute and University with a Specialization in Martin Luther King Studies.