In this feature, Association CEO John Hawkins introduces you to people you see every day,but you might not know who they are. The Club reminds you that we all have names and stories to tell.
Meet Jonathan Brooks
Former linebacker in the NFL. Former homecoming king and class president, now a street artist and philosopher. Here’s his journey.
See More of This Interview on YouTube
Back in 2019, Jonathan prepared an art sketchbook that he had planned to enter into an international competition. See his art – and hear him discuss a lot more of his thoughts — in this People We See video:
Age: 61 (in 2019)
Came to L.A. “Eight years, off and on.”
Family: Married/separated, with children and grandchildren.
Education: Attended Clemson University. “I was one of the adventurous ones who experimented. I got introduced to drinking and smoking marijuana and other drugs from my first day in college, and I kind of yielded to the peer pressure more than I should have. I got drafted by Detroit into the NFL in the fourth round, and never went back to finish my degree. That’s one of the reasons that my life has been kind of helter-skelter since, my fatal mistake.”
NFL career: “I was with the Detroit Lions first. Then the Atlanta Falcons, then the Cardinals out of St. Louis. Then Philadelphia in the USFL. Then I ended up getting married and having a family, and that kind of changed things.”
Other jobs since: Construction, auto sales.
Prison: “I did a little prison time in Phoenix. I studied science and history the whole time I was there.”
Religion: Humanitarian Faith, his own spiritual organization. “During my research [in prison], I came to the conclusion that the major religions were just fake, especially Christianity and Islam. They had no foundation in the history of science. So I started my own, to just believe in mankind to do the right thing, to make the world better for each other. It’s not enough to criticize something, you’ve got to have something to fill in. It’s all on my Facebook page.”
If you were mayor: “I have a plan. I call it co-op investing, a dollar-a-day plan. You take 40 million poor people in America, and have everybody [in the country] [invest] a dollar a day in businesses, job creation … and that’s the people’s money. That’s the poor people’s money. You give 40 million people the interest
off that, and they’ll be financially secure.”
Favorite candy: “Snickers.”
Discovering art: “I started promoting myself. I was a walking billboard, mostly with philosophy at first. Then I met this girl last year, and she gave me a lot of paint brushes and markers and stuff. I started working with it, and I found myself liking it … loving it!
“I’ve got a painting in my tent now that reads, Fight Wickedness in High Places.”
Viewing the poor: “You see so many homeless people go through so much money buying drugs. I’m not trying to judge them or look down on them for it, because of the situation they grew up in, we can’t relate to it. You can’t judge them until you’ve been in their situation. They’ve been through a lot, and a lot of them just called it quits.”
Association President John Hawkins and Jonathan Brooks.
John Hawkins of the Club gave Jonathan bottled water and $20 for food. The interview, conducted by John Hawkins, took place March 5, 2019 on Main and Third Streets downtown.
The interview was conducted by John Hawkins, Association President, Los Angeles City Employees Association.