We had the good fortune of connecting with Mar Butler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mar, what do you want people to remember about you?
When people mention my name to their kids, I want it to in connection with stories of perseverance. I want my life story to be the bar that an individual uses to believe that because of me, they too can defy the odds of their family generational curses with recidivism, poverty, drug and alcohol addiction. For every young black boy or girl to believe that it’s not by the status of their class but by the level of their belief and determination that makes them just as credible as anyone else to be a great leader. Overall, my legacy will be the symbol of the love that I strived to give towards everyone, without even a consideration as to race, creed, color, or gender. That I’ve served my purpose for being chosen to walk this earth, opening the door of enlightenment that leads to love, life, and the pursuit of happiness.
What should our readers know about your business?
This incredible journey all began with a formula I first used for myself called TREE (Truth, Restore, Empower, Evolve). Now for over ten years, I’ve contributed my services and products in support of Leadership Development and Community Activism everywhere. Born and raised in the West Side of Dallas, Texas, to teenage parents, I soon became heavily influenced into a life of Drugs, Gangs, and eventually imprisonment. After years of hard work and intense studies, I gained redemption by providing services (learning curriculum, speeches, mentoring, leadership development, books, podcast, talk shows, etc.) that offer alternative lifestyle choices for anyone needing to take affirmative action whenever, wherever, and however necessary. I went from being a known hardened criminal to serving on the City Council’s Advisory Board, Volunteering for the Judicial Court Mentoring Program, and currently working on a youth voting campaign with the Texas Civil Rights Project and Dallas Independent School District. It’s quite ironic when I look back and reflect on my journey to get here. As a young teen, I was approached by older people who tried to give me some words of wisdom but didn’t listen. Now I’m the former wise head who’s giving advice. During my speaking sessions, I tell my young people that there are two types of grownups in this world: those who know better, and those who LEARN Better. Don’t be one of the many who had to learn their lesson later on in life because they didn’t listen in the beginning. After years of starting from the bottom with no help, no financial investments, no idea of where to go or where to start in my business, the most challenging part of it all was the FIGHT. Fighting to gain the trust of everyone I hurt in the process of being in prison for ten years (my parents, my children, and siblings). Fighting to become more than the statistics showed that a person of my caliber should be. Fighting to keep the image of the man I am today at the forefront of my dreams while riding the bus from Dallas to Ft. Worth every morning for a minimum wage-paying demolition job. The feeling of triumph didn’t come to greet me every day. There were moments when I recall walking in the cold rainy weather at 4:30 am for a half-mile to the nearest bus stop feeling like the odds are against me. Wondering if things would ever get better for me! This was a time when phrases like ”Prison Reform and Offender Assistance” were unheard of, and opportunities in support of entrepreneurial education were scarce for a convicted felon. Most employers offered just enough financial compensation to survive with little or no chance for advancement within the company. But as I look back on it all today, I’m glad I took the hard road because those struggles made me stronger. I developed a mindset of total determination and approached every given opportunity as though success and failure equated with life or death. Doing ”just enough” was never an option. Because of the disadvantage, I had to be more than good; I had to be better. And even still to this day, I have the resolve that whatever I’m a part of, I perform at such a high level that the thought of criminal history no longer comes into the equation. I do this not only for myself but for those who also share the same struggle for redemption.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my girlfriend to my favorite place in the city: Restaurant Row by the Margaret Hunt Bridge in my old West Dallas neighborhood. There, we can get something to eat and drink, then walk across the bridge that sits adjacent to the city’s skyline where we can stand over the trinity river as we watch the sun go down.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To God be the glory, before and after anything, that I say or do. For it is in Christ that I live, move, and have my being. If it weren’t for the fervent prayers of my mother, Marilyn Turknett Butler, this interview wouldn’t be possible. She’s the true definition of perseverance in my eyes. As always, I give credit to my childhood mentor, I’d to thank my tribe of TREE Leadership and Leadership Digital. Your unending loyalty, dedication to the craft of leadership, and community engagement have made a tremendous impact in our city of Dallas. We have nowhere else to go but up from here. I’d like to thank all of the community activists, stakeholders, and non-profit organizations who appointed me as their head speaker of the Black Male Agenda for the sole efforts of challenging the injustices which perpetuate men of color leading in every negative quality of life category in the city of Dallas. Finally, I’m grateful for the teaching philosophies of Dr. Myles Munroe, Dr. Ernest Holmes, Bob Proctor, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Stokely Carmichael, John C. Maxwell, Bishop T.D.Jakes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and my father Maurice Butler.