Aaron "Malik" Burris
Business Development Director, Facilitator & Co-Lead Trainer IC’s Mentorship program
Aaron spent over 22 years of his life in prison after a childhood filled with neglect, abuse, and finding a path through the struggle that many young men face today in the journey to become a man. In his youth he found himself at a crossroads in street culture and the embracement of the surrogate love that gang membership offered. At a critical point in his life family intervened and encouraged him to enter the military. After a tour of combat, he returned to the free world he returned to the nexus where the emotional love and support in his life could only be found in the brotherhood that gang life offered. All roads led to prison and he found himself spiraling deeper and deeper into gang politics, drug addiction, and violence.
In 2000 he became involved with Inside Circle and started a path of transformation where he began to build a support network to escape the lifestyle and addictions he had. He began building community for the men inside the prison where he served his time. Creating sober and safe spaces where they could begin to examine their lives and find healing, he created six programs that the CDC&R still use today for rehabilitation. He began his pursuit of a post-secondary degree in Applied Sociology and Psychology while still incarcerated.
Paroling in 2015 Aaron was quickly instrumental in forming reentry support networks and pioneered the peer navigator model in California’s parole system and the San Francisco Bay Area. He eventually became Inside Circle’s first formerly incarcerated Board Chairman in 2017. Aaron and a group of Inside Circle graduates collectively known as The Firekeepers began to align their mission and lives in support of the mission of Inside Circle. Aaron stepped down from the Board in 2019 to become the Business Development Director and to nationally project manage the End the Youth Prison Model programs for the organization in Georgia, New Jersey, Illinois, California and New York. He spearheads the work Inside Circle does with academic institutions in alternative high schools, The California Youth Authority, and Inside Circle’s San Francisco Probations Workshop Leading Change From Within.
A father of seven he currently resides in the Bay Area and is heavily involved in his community and local programs supporting local youth in recovery and disentangling themselves from the justice system.
Walter Williams is a Richmond Ca native. Growing up in the east bay and working in the non profit world for most of his adult life, he has a background in affordable housing and working with at risk youth. Through patience and perseverance he brings a sense of hard work and ethics to any endeavors he sets out on. He has a passion for helping others and helping to build up his community. He believes this can be achieved through building strong financial foundations within that community for it to be self sufficient on its own. He will use his skills and knowledge to help guide him through the challenges ahead and to help grow the Water and Honey Wellness program to be the best it can.