Sam Sparks is the new CEO of Englewood Peace Company. He is working to share a message of courage, opportunity and hope in and beyond the community. Sparks transformed his life powerfully, from living below the poverty line and selling drugs on Chicago’s streets to working as a professional nationwide motivational speaker, life coach and personal stylist to Steve Harvey.
Sam grew up in a single parent home and resigned to life on the streets as a young adult. He dealt narcotics and was in direct shootouts. With each day becoming harder to deal with, life around him began to cave. In 2011, Sparks was faced with the possibility of going to jail but was granted an opportunity to remove himself from the situation. He took this as a sign to change his life and began working to help others. Sam always felt driven to dress immaculately. He attended a live taping of the Steve Harvey show and caught Harvey’s eye, ultimately becoming Harvey’s stylist and mentee.
Englewood Peace Company is a t-shirt company with a focus on positive social messaging, founded by Quentin Mables, currently operating as COO. Twenty-five percent of the company’s proceeds go to Grow Chicago, an Englewood-based nonprofit and community center offering free supportive and holistic services. Sparks is launching a new shirt with the message “Bury Prejudice, Grow Opportunity.”
“Everyone has a tie to prejudice,” says Sparks. “Whether it’s one’s own prejudice, or prejudice among friends, family, the world—I’ve created this message to say let’s bury prejudice among all: Black, white, Mexican, gay, straight.” The shirt features an image of the American flag, with the red stripes serving as shovels, symbolizing bloodshed and burying the prejudice, which causes it. “One nation, under all, indivisible means unable to break or separate,” says Sparks. “I put the word ‘opportunity’ in gold. We need to turn from prejudice and see each other as humans. When we share our strengths and opportunities, we lift each other up. Sharing our gifts shows us we’re equal.”
The new t-shirts are available at englewoodpeace.com.