Johnny Waller Jr. is the C.E.O of The JLW Group L.L.C & Founder and Executive Director of S.C.O.P.E (Second Chance Organized People Empowered), both located in Kansas City, MO. When Mr. Waller is not working on his organizations, he works in the community on various social justice issues including ranging from the reduction of violence to the civil restoration of second chance citizens rights. He has also worked to pass local and state legislation along with members of the community in an effort to build a united, more equitable Kansas City. Mr. Waller graduated with honors from Johnson County Community College with an associate degree in Business Administration. He also holds a Bachelor degree in Business Management and Master degree in Organizational Leadership and Development from Rockhurst University. In 2018, He was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma for academic excellence in business studies.
Mr. Waller is currently a board member with Synergy Services and the SE Youth Coalition and serves on various committees throughout Kansas City including the Jackson County Prosecutors Office, Chamber of Commerce, Alt-Cap, GreenLight Fund, Non-Fatal Injury Case Review Panel and Metropolitan Energy Center. In Addition, he has attended many training programs including UMKC’s mini-law school, M.A.R. C’s Community Leadership training and Addictions Academy hosted by Lincoln University to name a few.
Life, however, did not start off on a successful path for him as he struggled most of his teenage years. When he was 12 years old his mother moved out of their home due to abuse and left him with a drug addicted father. By the time he was 14, he found himself homeless and alone, turning to gangs and drugs to fill the voids left in his life. At the age of 16, he was playing Russian Rolette, selling drugs and involved in many shoot outs including one that lead to him being shot in the head at point blank range. A year later, he was arrested for perpetrating a violent shooting at an Omaha mall and faced up to 60 years in prison. He ultimately ended up in prison serving a 2 and a half to 5 year and 18-month prison sentence for possession and possession with intent to deliver. He struggled for serval years after his release until he made a dramatic transformation that changed his life for the better.
Today he dedicates his free time working in the community as a change agent. Having lived a life of crime and success, he has a unique understanding of what it takes to overcome the many barriers people face and how to change their life for the better. He collaborates with non-profits, colleges and other organizations sharing his story and experiences in an effort to help find solutions to issues that continue to plague our community. He believes that through mutual understanding and hope that we all can make a profound positive impact in our community.
Legislation & Policy work:
• SB680-Food Stamps for Individuals with Drug Felonies Passed – 6/20/2014 – Signed by Governor
• SB793- Raise the Age Under this act, no person under the age of 18 may be detained in an adult jail, unless the person has been certified as an adult – Passed – 6/1/2018 – Signed by Governor
• Kansas City Ordinance No. 130230 – Ban the Box – Passed – 05/30/2 013 – City of Kansas City, MO.
• Kansas City Section 38-104 – Criminal Records in Employment – Passed 02/02/2018 – City of Kansas City, MO.
• Deferred Prosecution of Drug Crimes – Implemented 2021- Jackson County Prosecutor Office
• H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2021 – Failed Cloture – Jun 22, 2021
Training and Certificates:
• National Leadership Training, Gamaliel, Kenosha, WI
• JCCC Leadership program graduate, JCCC, Overland Park, KS
• Mini Law School Graduate, University of Missouri-KC, Kansas City MO
• Community Leadership Graduate, M.A.R.C, Kansas City, MO
• Offender Workforce Training, Department of Justice, Kansas City, KS
• Addiction Academy, State of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO
Board and Committee Experience:
• Board Member, Synergy Services, Kansas City, MO
• Advisory Board Member, Metropolitan Energy Center, Kansas City, MO
• Board Member, SE Youth Coalition, Kansas City, MO
• Growth Loan Committee, Alt-Cap, Kansas City, MO
• Kansas City Selection Advisor, GreenLight Fund, Kansas City, MO
• Non-Fatal Injury Review Panel, Health Department, Kansas City, MO
• Policy Committee, Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City, MO
• Community Advisory Board, Jackson County Prosecutors Office, Kansas City, MO
• EXPO Saint Louis, Metropolitan Congregations United, Saint Louis, MO
Awards & Titles:
Kansas City Everyday Hero Award, ADHOC Group Against Crime, 2021
Equity Partner of the Year, M.O.R.E2, 2020
“Mr. Kindness”, KC Health Magazine, 2019
Community Champion, Aim4Peace: Violence Prevention Program, 2019