Latif is currently incarcerated. If you would like to know more about Latif and his TaQuan book series or schedule an interview, fill out the contact form. If you would like to send him an encouraging note or add some funds to his commissary account, also fill out the contact form and let us know. Latif would love to get to know you.
For any work-for-hire interest, please contact Latif’s literary agent, Sharon N. Elliott at AuthorizeMeNow@gmail.com.
For virtual interviews or speaking engagements, you may schedule a video conference using the following 4 steps:
~ Go to vadoc.gtlvisitme.com/app
~ Download app
~ Sign up (Latif Torres-Robinson #1195475)
~ Schedule visit; $8 for 20 mins./$16 for 50 mins.
For Latif’s book representative, contact Von Johnson.
This is Von’s story: At 10 years-old, Emanuel Johnson, also known as Von, started hanging out with friends. He began smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol with his friends. Years later, cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol led to harder drugs. The Richmond native went from using drugs to selling drugs. Von’s story is like any other drug addict/dealer; however, he has accepted responsibility for his actions: “… if I sit here and blame it on anyone else, I’ll only be making excuses for something I wanted to do anyway,” Von admitted. Learning from passed mistakes, the 43 year-old uses his early life lessons to help him with today’s obstacles. “It was all in God’s plan for me,” he said.
After years of running the streets, abusing, trafficking illegal substances, and going in and out of jail since he was 15, Von’s criminal career came to an end. On December 10, 2008, Von was arrested for distribution of crack cocaine. “I felt like the police was harassing with me, but now I know that they were doing their job and I was part of it,” Von said of his multiple run-ins with law enforcement. Exhausted from a fast lifestyle, Von was tired of it and tapped out. He pleaded guilty and was given a 10-year sentence with 4 years and 11 months suspended, leaving him with a little over 5 years to serve.
During his first month of incarceration, Von claims he made the best the decision of his life – that was, to follow God wholeheartedly. “I will never forget … I was in the hole, and the cell felt like Satan slept next to me,” he said. After being there for 6 months, the father of six children chose to go to a tier called the B.E.L.I.E.F (Becoming Experienced, Liberated, Encouraged, and Free) program. “It was there I learned of what had me stuck in the revolving door: ‘Recidivism’,” he said. Committed to change and prayers, he received his G.E.D and over 30 certificates in life skills and leadership.
“If a person works and prays hard, God will open doors that he or she wouldn’t have thought could be possible.” — Latif Torres-Robinson
In 2010, Von, who was now a man of God, was eligible to file a motion to reduce his sentence. “By the grace of God, I was released after serving 2 years and 7 months in the Richmond City Jail,” he said with grateful tears. Von was released to the Brother Keepers Ministries – a program facilitated by Rev. Smith, Rev. Luster, and Rev. Mckind. “They’ve been inspirational to me.” Von said.
As of date, Emanuel Johnson is the proud Director of Marketing for R.O.O.T.S (Reinventing Ourselves Outside The System) – a program made up of formerly incarcerated men and women whose mission is to help reentering citizens find a new, positive way of life. “Once we reinvent ourselves, the acronym changes to ‘Realize Our Obligation To Serve’. That’s when we go out and tell our experience, in hopes to help those who are at-risk,” Von happily explained.
Von has been to various places to share his story: churches, schools, colleges, jails, TV shows, radio stations, probation and parole boards, courts and justices program, and even the same jail where he was an inmate. Furthermore, Von’s most notable appearance was an award-winning documentary. In 2020, Von’s story was featured on VPM/PBS documentary called “Heard”. Although he’s achieved great things, Von’s mission is far from over.
“My life today is centered around spirituality, family, friends, and people that I can help. It’s not easy, but woe to the man who endures to the end. Things do come up against me more than ever; however, my God tells me that it’s only a test for my testimony. I am happier now than I’ve ever been. I have a great network system, I’m a certified barber, I’m a licensed commercial driver, and I still have time for speaking engagements and to help others. I am committed to represent Latif’s “Taquan Makes a Choice” series and to share our stories to at-risk boys and girls. Wooowww is what comes to mind when I reflect on my past, present, and future. God is the best! I will continue this path, so I can be an example for those who don’t believe that a better life is possible. If you are reading this, I love you, and know that prayer changes everything. Please have patience because the best has yet to come. Stay focused, stay free. Peace!” Von shared as he concluded his story.