Jelani Anglin is using his sharp entrepreneurial skills to impact the community around him. With partner Gabriel Leader-Rose, Jelani launched Good Call NYC in 2016, a hotline that provides people who have been arrested with immediate legal support. Getting arrested is a very intense experience, and often people can face arrest and jail time for trivial reasons. Good Call gives people quick and trustworthy support for those who get arrested and don’t know where to turn.
Growing up in Far Rockaway, Queens, Jelani has always had an interest in business and activism. In fact, much of his talent for business came from observing his father who owned a tax and preparation service.
“I remember spending my weekends in Harlem, because my father lived in Harlem and my mother lived in Far Rockaway,” explains Anglin, “…my dad being an entrepreneur and watching how he did things—that’s how I got my knack in business.”
Anglin, however, credits his mother for his drive and focus. He continued to pursue business and entrepreneurship in high school. Jelani began his first business venture, Nobones.net, in high school all on his own. This initiative would prove very rewarding.
“I taught myself how to build a website, because I couldn’t find a job in the summer. it was the gateway for me getting a scholarship for college,” says Anglin.
Jelani won the NYS FBLA Business Plan of the Year award for his online business. After high school, Anglin attended Long Island University for political science and business. Early in his career, Jelani worked with the ALF-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) as an organizing intern. It was through this organization that Anglin found a gateway to activism.
“I was [advocating] at a rally for fair wages, and that was our first day,” says Anglin, “…I could see how I could use the extra energy that I have to help the community around me.”
Jelani would continue to feed his passion for activism, and later find like-minded individuals to work with as well. At Blue Ridge Labs, a social impact incubator, Anglin would meet several people at the top of their fields who shared a desire to help those around them. It was in this environment that the criminal justice system came up. This topic of concern hit home for Anglin, who was arrested once himself.
“I was arrested when I was younger, even though I was doing the right thing,” says Jelani. “I wasn’t arrested for anything big, it was a subway arrest. But I never forgot what it was like being arrested as a young Black man.”
Personally experiencing the fear of being arrested as a young Black man, Jelani and a team built from Blue Ridge Labs created Good Call NYC. With partnerships with legal providers all across the 5 boroughs of New York, Good Call can provide anyone arrested with immediate legal help through their hotline.
On their website, the team of Good Call states, “Low-income communities experience a higher number of arrests, most of which are for low-level misdemeanors. Unfortunately, legal help comes too late after potentially damaging events have unfolded.”
Good Call sets out to get people legal help early on, to avoid potential damage. Being that someone arrested only gets a limited amount of phone calls upon arrival, Good Call sets out to be a prime option.
“We want to give people a trustworthy resource to navigate the criminal Justice system,” says Anglin.
Anglin and Leader-Rose are making a true impact on the criminal justice system and are set to be recognized in Forbes 2020’s 30-under-30 list for their contribution to politics and business. As a non-profit, Anglin and Leader-Rose hope to raise a million dollars next year for their company. To donate, visit their website: goodcall.nyc
If you find yourself or a loved one arrested in NYC with no access to legal help call 1-833-3-GOODCALL (1-833-346-6322) for free legal support.