UBF Productions Presents...
Click Here
Click here for your free ebook download of "My Comrades' Thoughts On Black Lives Matter"

By UBF V.P. Tiffany Munoz and Vincent Bragg

The coronavirus is spreading in the U.S prison system with new cases emerging daily. People in prison are sick and rebelling. Recently, Vice News did an interview with an incarcerated person who exposed the conditions of California Department of Corrections prisons and the system’s complete disregard for protecting the incarcerated population and CDCR staff against COVID-19--a fertile breeding ground for the spread of the virus.

Since that video was published, Ivan Kilgore, incarcerated at Solano State Prison, has been accused of being the whistleblower and as a result he is being retaliated against by CDCR. The general population has had their liberties taken away and been told that Ivan’s actions caused their loss of privileges, from taking away exercise and day room activity to unwarranted cell searches. CDCR also planted false information amongst the prison population to intentionally pit prison gang leaders against Ivan to take action against him as a form of retribution. This was done to bred a hostile environment for Ivan and threaten his safety. Fortunately, he had enough respect amongst his peers to diffuse this nonviolently.

Consequently, CDCR has now threatened to bury Ivan deeper into the system, essentially making him disappear to his loved ones, and restrict him from being heard by transferring him to another prison.

Ivan is the founder of the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Incarcerated for the last 20 years & serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, Ivan has created an organization that “rebuilds the community from within the community.” Through working with universities, sponsoring youth basketball teams, community reinvestment programs, and prisoner book publishing projects -- UBFSF is challenging the narrative imposed upon communities who are plagued with high incarceration rates, poverty, drug use, and violence.

Today we are asking you to help us stop CDCR from silencing Ivan’s voice and every other COVID-19 whistleblower that comes forward, both incarcerated and staff CDCR members. It is not uncommon for people in prison to be shipped from prison to prison or put in solitary confinement as a method of silencing. We are asking you to help us stop this from being another one of those stories.Let’s hold the American prison system accountable by ending this retaliation and protecting everyone in the system from being infected with COVID-19. Call Governor Gavin Newsom’s office (916) 445-2841 today and ask him to put an end to the retaliation and negligence of CDCR. #EyesOnCDCR

Call and email Giselle Matteson - Warden at CSP-Solano
Hello, my name is ________. I am calling to urge you to dismiss the misconduct report against Ivan Kilgore for alleged whistleblower activity. I have been informed that Mr. Kilgore has been accused of speaking to a reporter about inadequate protections against the coronavirus pandemic at California State Prison, Solano, and has been threatened with a transfer to another prison. A transfer to another prison would be a disproportionate punishment for the alleged disciplinary violation and danger during the current pandemic.

“A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”

What it's like to be in prison with COVID-19
As an incarcerated author, activist, and founder of the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, I cannot begin to express how elated I was to host our first Nonprofit Coaching & Leadership Training event this past February in Oklahoma City. Indeed, it was a very humbling and emotional moment. 

Having built this organization from behind maximum security prison walls has been a challenge to say the least. Yet sure determination and perseverance prevailed in the face of the fact that for the past six years we have been working diligently to get to this point: launching our first university-sponsored intern program with the University of California, Santa Cruz and providing staff training. 

After years of hard work, on February 29th and March 1st, we were able to fly several volunteers, interns and our consultant, Glenn E. Martin (in the vest), from California and New York to Oklahoma City, where the event was held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel. 

During the conference, Glenn, who notably has raised over $75 million in the nonprofit sector, provided our team a number of leadership and fundraising tools and a winning strategy to secure funding for our programs. Notably, he emphasized the fact that funders are going to be "floored" that I've managed to establish a legitimate 501c3 nonprofit organization from within prison walls. The uniqueness of it alone is what he assures us will get funders' attention. He's like "call them on their b.s.!" (I.e., that they claim to support social justice advocates but have yet to "support someone currently incarcerated who is closest to the problem, and has intimate insight on the solutions.").

We were also honored to have as a guest Oklahoma Senator Connie Johnson (in red) and her team.  It was definitely a blast and an excellent networking opportunity for us all. 

Despite the fact of not being able to personally attend due to my incarceration, looking at the below pictures were awarding enough for me and my fellow prisoners. Without question, they gave us a sense of hope knowing that there are definitely more things to come: hint hint... we look forward to the day PBS airs our journey, which our newest board recruit and media consultant Cedric O’Bannon is currently documenting as part of a documentary feature chronicling our amazing stories building the UBFSF. 


Lastly, I'ma very humbled at having recently received an acknowledgment from UCSC Professor Megan McDrew for the work I’ve managed to accomplish. That she and others have entrusted me with so much, speaks volumes about the general misconceptions of incarcerated persons and our ability to effect change in our communities. Trust I do not take any of this for granted.

In solidarity,
Ivan Kilgore, 
UBFSF founder

Check out "The Zo" an animation film short produced by the Marshall Project based in part on my writings and concept about prison which has been illustrated by international sensation Molly Crabapple and Emmy nominated film producer Jeff Seelbach.

The Zo, episode 1
The Zo, episode 2
The Zo" episode 3
REBUILD is a multi-angled program to revitalize prison pipeline communities. It aims to rebuild the community from within the community by refurbishing properties in communities that are plagued with high incarceration rates, poverty, drug use, and violence.

This program will work with local community members who will be involved in the reconstruction process and will subsequently develop marketable vocational skills.

REBUILD also aims to develop a variety of social justice programs fitting to the needs of the communities we are working in to address the systemic and structural issues of race and class.
Coach Andrae (left), Coach Cater (right) at UBFSF Conference
Coach Cater at UBFSF Conference

Testimony-4-Kids History

Coach Andrae Tramble has put his blood, sweat and tears into building AAU basketball teams. Over the course of the past over 15 years, he has dedicated himself to this cause. Ballin' Babez's humble origins began with a group of girls that formed together from the YMCA League in Shawnee, Oklahoma. There, he began his coaching career and for the next three years would develop a winning team.

Coach Andrae’s unorthodox approach to coaching would eventually catch the attention of the Athletic Director for the YMCA. Impressed, the director suggested that he take his team on travel tournaments; and so began their journey as the Ballin’ Babez. Initially, they had no jerseys; so he collected as many YMCA jerseys that he could to dress the team out in. This was a bit humorous because they would become known as the “Y” team and not the Ballin' Babez. After a summer of more losses than wins, they would become an elite team through hard work and dedication.

Over the years, Coach Andrae’s league has made amazing contributions to the communities of Shawnee, Seminole, Wewoka and surrounding cities: State Championships for 5 years straight for Pleasant Grove School Middle of Shawnee, Shawnee High school girls' team 29-0 record with a state championship title,  and providing a winning season for their school program. In addition to coaching two of his daughters and successfully getting them both through college to graduate with bachelor's degrees, Dale High School won two state titles with Ballin' Babez's Breck Clark at the heart of their team. Notably, she also graduated and went on to attend junior college before being admitted in the University of Texas where she would receive numerous awards, including MVP. She is now coaching at El Reno High School and has already taken her team to the state playoffs her first year of coaching.

Coach Andrae’s successful coaching career with the Ballin' Babes would eventually land him an assistant coaching position at Wewoka High School. While there he would successfully assist to lead girls to the state playoffs. 

The success stories are many for the communities and children who have benefited from this basketball program. Without it, many of these children would be at-risk for teen pregnancy and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Coach Darry Carter Jr. founded and trademarked Testimony-4-Kids in March 2011 thanks to an opportunity placed upon him by Coach Andrae. He began his career by coaching the younger grades, which gave him the opportunity to launch the youth camp he now directs. Last summer, Coach Carter and Coach Andrae decided to join their teams, Badd Boyz and Ballin Babez respectively to form Testimony-4-Kids. 

Coach Carter feels blessed to be able to have this opportunity to assist the young men and women along their paths in life. Having been formerly incarcerated, he realized his calling: to give kids a structured environment and leadership that allows them to become successful people on and off the basketball court. He began thinking and planning six months prior to his release and once released he vowed never to return. Like Coach Andrae, he has also put his blood, sweat and tears into building his teams and planting the seeds of success into each of his athletes to help them grow into successful basketball players and adults. 

Notably, he has assisted them to attend elite a number of universities and colleges around the country to not only play basketball but succeed in their academic studies and other aspects of their lives. Many of which have received scholarships for their athletic abilities. He stresses it is not just about basketball, but rather basketball as a tool to help these young men and women succeed in their lives.  

Testimony-4-Kids has a mantra in its youth camp, which is “Set the example, don’t be the example”.  This just exemplifies the leadership and hard work Coach Carter and Coach Andrae instill in these young people. 

Recently, Testimony-4-Kids partnered with United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, whose mission is  "Rebuilding the Community from within the Community." This organization offers a range of programs from college-level internships, community reinvestment, working with youth, scholarships and community awards, and publishing books written by prisoners. 


Yusra Dawood

As a University of California, Santa Cruz student interning with the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma City for a Nonprofit Coaching & Leadership Training event. It was life-changing. While there, we were able to explore a community of dilapidated properties our organization plans to revitalize. 


Careful not to step on any syringes, we peered through the broken windows and checked the damage. It was disheartening. Seeing the state of these properties really assisted me to understand just how important the work we are doing is. We are working to rebuild the community from within the community. That means understanding how these eyesores play a vital role in underfunded schools, crime, and a dire need to work with community members with high incarceration rates and poverty. 


Oklahoma City has one of the highest crime rates in America. Oklahoma incarcerates 1,079 people for every 100,000 people. Blacks make up 7% of this population, yet make 26% of Oklahoma’s incarcerated. Without affordable housing and a strong tax-base, many are left vulnerable to Oklahoma’s School-to-Prison pipeline. Our goal at the UBFSF is to reinvest in these communities and work to address these issues.


As we were browsing the Eastside, we also stumbled upon an abandoned school: The Marcus Garvey Charter School located in the epicenter of Oklahoma City. We scouted the perimeter and found just behind the fence, a cracked window and a chair conveniently standing next to it. Before I knew it Mark and Cedric were climbing through the window. I quickly threw my purse on the ground, not wanting to miss any of the action and jumped over the fence with the ease of my long legs. 


Inside, cables and debris littered the floor as I found myself standing on a large wooden stage. I’ve never been inside an abandoned school before. I was simply taken aback by the radical paintings that covered the walls. The art spoke of a level of consciousness, unlike any school I'd been in before. This was especially so considering most schools today resemble prisons rather than learning spaces to grow and thrive. As we ventured into this abandoned structure, we found a calendar on the floor dated 2012-2013. Lessons on biology still covered the whiteboard. Something on the left caught my eye. Painted on the wall was a saying, “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” That there was a moment. 


It was most awe-inspiring to see the leadership that was being taught at this school. It was shocking. Yet at the same time, seeing it closed made me angry and sad. How I’d wish I was nurtured in a school like this where I would be invited to love my identity, instead of feeling ashamed. Still and yet, I came away with a sense of joy knowing there existed a place like this.


As we prepared to return to our hotel that evening, we spoke to an older man near one of the properties we were looking at. He suggested we host a community picnic as a platform to address our REBUILD program. Without question, it was one of the best ideas that could be thought of to bring this community together to address this dire social issue. A month later, we obtained approval for the event and we are now planning our first-ever town hall meeting and community picnic in Oklahoma City this coming August, 2020. Support a great cause! Donate today!


ILLUMINATION--A Testimony of Education & Experience 

Let's give a mad shout out to our intern Tiffany Muñoz who was able to raise over $700 with our organization's first raffle contest.

I would like to tell you a story about education, hope, leadership, and critical resistance. To do so, I must take you back to the fall of 2018. At this time in my life, I was a junior enrolled in a course called Social Problems taught by Megan McDrew at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was a Tuesday & Thursday class taught at 9:50 am during the most perfect season. The weather was inviting and it wasn’t that cold in the early mornings. I would stumble through the door of this class twice a week, often wearing my favorite off the shoulder floral shirt and sit in the second row, slowly inching my way up to the first row as the quarter progressed. Little did I realize how this class would change the course of my life. 


I stumbled into this class as a sociology student, but with no real direction of where I was headed and what path was calling my name. I knew I was a part of something bigger than me and I knew I was guided to every single moment that I experienced. However, it was not yet clear to me who I was and where I was going. But this course illuminated a path that I followed and it has brought me to this very moment in time. I was taught to consider what my role is in social justice and I was taught to cultivate the attributes that I want to be remembered by. I was taught to question the norms around many institutions that sit within this country and I was taught to think critically about every pocket of tragedy in America--from tribal land devastation by America’s violence and historical erasure of a people to neighborhoods lacking in resources, educational funding, accessibility to food, to prisons filled with men and women who are socialized into a role of “deviance.” I left that course forever changed as I now see the injustice in every facet of life. The most profound experience for me as a student of Megan’s was the experience of visiting prisons. These were fundamentally the experiences that left me as a changed woman and drew me to the work I am now doing.


I remember the first time I left a prison after our very anticipated tour. I was deeply saddened and disturbed by what I just saw, and more so disturbed by how caging “deviant” men and women was normalized. I could not conceptualize how we armor seemingly normal human beings (guards) into the role of forcing prisoners into submission with violence and the weaponization of dehumanizing tactics to break their spirit. I sat in my car as all these feelings came rushing into my head.. How could this be so normalized? How could this be considered so socially acceptable, rehabilitating, and a form of “justice?” I had the privilege of going on 3 tours to two different prisons, Correctional Training Facility and Salinas Valley Prison -- a minimum and maximum security. I then was able to volunteer a handful of times in the courses Megan taught within one of the prisons. These experiences were absolutely invaluable, in fact I am led to believe every citizen in America needs to go on a prison tour after this experience. During two-quarters of courses with Megan, I became incredibly drawn to prison work, activism, and developed a profound sense of hope that we can and will make a change in this country. 


A year and a half later, I am nearly 22 years old and have stumbled across the path of an organization where I would come to meet some folks who have become a second family to me. I have found a mentor within a profound man by the name of Ivan Kilgore. He has been incarcerated for the last 20 years, serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. While incarcerated, he was able to found a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, United Black Family Scholarship Foundation (UBFSF), with the assistance of friends and family. From behind bars he has authored several books and built this organization. 


At the start of 2020 I was offered an internship with UBFSF and I will be accepting a position of employment with them post-graduation. We have a number of projects and programs we are working on to achieve our mission of "Rebuilding the Community from within the Community." They range from internships, community reinvestment, working with youth, scholarships and community awards, and publishing books written by prisoners. I am incredibly humbled to be working with such an amazing and unique organization. We will rebuild communities that are plagued with high incarceration rates, poverty, drug use, and violence -- we will empower those who are the most affected by the structural and systemic issues of race and class. We will challenge the status quo and denaturalize the reality laid before us. 


Two weeks ago I met Oklahoma Senator Connie Johnson while at UBFSF’s Nonprofit & Leadership Coaching Conference in Oklahoma City with guest speaker Glenn E. Martin. Mr.Martin notably has raised over $75 million dollars in the nonprofit sector. Without question, I gained valuable insight and networking opportunities. Glenn taught us how to navigate leadership and social justice. I tell you all of this because this organization and the amazing folks working within it and around it, will create change. We will be leaders and we will advocate for the change this country needs.


All of this matters because Megan McDrew was the link to this connection -- to finding my passions and direction in life, to connecting with Ivan, to working with a non-profit who has become a second family to me, and to finding hope even when the future seems bleak. 


Never underestimate the power of education and experience. Megan’s courses offered this to me, both in the form of books that humbled me with knowledge and with experiences that left me deeply changed. I would not be here today, nor would I be embarking on this journey of social justice with UBFSF, without the beautiful and hard work of Megan McDrew.


--and when I author my own books, speak in front of crowds, and become an elected official one day, I will always remember and acknowledge the work of Megan McDrew and how she enlightened a path for me and hundreds of other students.


Tiffany Munoz

Support Our Internship Program, click here
Tiffany Munoz, Mark Ledbetter and Yusra Dawood.

by Mark Ledbetter


According to the national bestselling author Mark Sanborn, "[leadership is] an invitation to greatness we extend to other”. What started out as a mere interview turned into me receiving and accepting such an invitation. It was a rather dark night for late May; although, it was nearing 10:00 pm. I dialed the number my Death and Dying professor, Megan McDrew, gave me and nervously awaited the answer. A warm and distinct voice answered and introduced himself as Ivan Kilgore. He was the last interviewee of my undergraduate thesis. His intellect and ambition struck me and I was drawn into every word he spoke. Less than one month later I received another call from Ivan in which he asked me to help him raise funds for the 100 Books Project, a project in which 100 prisoner written works will be published. The project is a tool for prisoners to take control of the narrative around crime and incarceration, which has been hijacked by the very institutions that have conspired to put them there in the first place. The premise of the project was very intriguing to me and I agreed without hesitation; and in doing so accepting Ivan’s invitation for greatness. Little did I know that I was going to be building the organization, United Black Family Scholarship Foundation with him.

The vision and true leadership Ivan displays from behind bars is awe-inspiring and allows me the space to grow my potential for leadership. This idea is the basis of our organization's success: fostering greatness in the social justice advocates of the future. Each and every individual in the organization has the capacity and opportunity to practice and expand upon their own leadership because of Ivan's ability to see the leader in each team member and intern. The vision of our organization: Rebuilding the community from within the community; will be realized because of the culture of leadership and subsequent greatness that inevitably follows. 



In Loving Memory of Phillip Lavell Harris III

It is with a great sense of pain and loss that we announce the recent passing of UBF Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Phillip Lavell Harris III. A longtime friend of our founder, Ivan Kilgore, Lavell a.k.a. “Comedian Velly Vel—Big Belly  All”—passed from this life on Friday, April 17, 2020 at his residence. He was born on April 1, 1972 in Oklahoma City.

He will be missed dearly for his humor and work with the foundation and as a friend to us all. He was the epitome of dedication. From day one, some six years ago, he came in 100% dedicated to the change we represented here at the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation. Forever a public servant. Rest in power good friend.

For more about Lavell’s funeral arrangements, click here.

Mayhem, Murder & Magnificence is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Click on image to preorder today!

Mayhem, Murder and Magnificence chronicles the inspirational story of Ivan Kilgore who, after suffering a wrongful conviction for first-degree murder and being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, set out to build a successful, multi-million-dollar community-based organization from within the walls of a maximum-security California prison. Born into a world of chaos, murder and mental illness, this is a story about a country boy from Oklahoma who turned tragedy on its head by taking everything he learned from small-town trappin’ to big city hustling to lessons learned while fighting for his freedom after spending over 20 years in some of the nation’s most violent prisons.
Buy Now
New Book: My Comrades' Thoughts On Black Lives Matter
Preorder today!
Release May 5, 2020

My Comrades' Thoughts On Black Lives Matter is a volume of writings collected from people imprisoned by the U.S. racist state. It is a prisoner-led project produced with the assistance of an outside editor and aims to bring a prisoner’s perspective on the Black Lives Matter concept and a much-needed perspective on the Movement for Black Lives in its entirety. Key components of the project focus on the abuse and violence suffered by imprison people, histories and theories of the prison industrial complex as a regime of engendered racist chattel slavery, and the methods of resistance from—the everyday to the insurgent and spectacular—that people inside U.S. gulags use to oppose their condition of enslavement. The book includes the works of Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa , Yusuf Bey IV, Ivan Kilgore and many other imprisoned artists' writings and poetry.
Buy Now
Click here to go to our UBFSF shop for more colors and styles
Copyright © 2019 UBF Scholarship Foundation, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: 

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
United Black Family Scholarship Foundation · P.O. Box 862 · Bristow, OK 74010 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp