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Dawan Williams
Dawan Williams

Dawan Williams

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA USA

"The mindset is 100%—maybe 110%—of your success."

Career Roadmap

Dawan's work combines: Non-Profit Organizations, Politics, and Upholding a Cause and Belief

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Day In The Life

Restorative Justice Program Manager

I work to strengthen our community in Philadelphia through restorative justice initiatives.

Life & Career Milestones

I've taken a lot of twists and turns

  • 1.

    As a teenager, I was deep in the streets of Philadelphia and I had a child on the way—I was applying to jobs and wanted to get out but wasn’t successful.

  • 2.

    I ultimately ended up in prison.

  • 3.

    In prison, I participated in the Fathers and Children Together (FACT) project, a collaboration with Mural Arts that helps incarcerated men reconnect with their kids and become positive role models.

  • 4.

    After being released, I was invited to join the restorative justice program at Mural Arts to help get it off the ground—I haven’t looked back since!

  • 5.

    In addition to my role as restorative justice program manager for Mural Arts Philadelphia, I’m also the vice president of restorative justice for NOMO (New Options More Opportunities).

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Society in general:

    You can't do this. You won't make it. You'll be back.

  • How I responded:

    You have to be headstrong in order to succeed. In life, people will tell you that you can't do this or you can't do that. This is especially true when you're incarcerated. People will tell you that you won't make it, you'll be back, etc. Move forward with pure intentions and proper treatment. Tell yourself you can do it. Don't listen to the naysayers. Keep going. Read more. If they tell you that you can't do something, read about it and find out for yourself.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • I served 10 years in prison and my mindset was that I was going to do what I needed to do to put myself in position to win. I joined the FACT project, met the people I needed to meet, and started working towards restorative justice while in prison.