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‘The Wire’ actor talks addiction past at annual McGreevey conference

Terrence McDonald | April 18, 2019 | Jersey Journal |

JERSEY CITY — Michael K. Williams, the actor best known as stickup man Omar Little on “The Wire,” gave an impassioned plea for support of ex-offenders during former Gov. Jim McGreevey’s annual prisoner re-entry conference on Thursday.

Williams, 52, discussed his own history with drug addiction during the all-day conference, held at Saint Peter’s University’s Glenwood Avenue student center. Williams said he was an addict when “The Wire” began filming in 2002.

“I was living on the streets on Newark, New Jersey, struggling in my addiction,” he said. “That’s who I really was … until God blessed me to come through the doors of Christian Love Baptist Church.”

This was McGreevey’s first conference since he was essentially booted out of Jersey City. The board of the quasi-public Jersey City Employment and Training Program fired McGreevey as its executive director in January. The agency ran the city’s jobs training and prisoner re-entry program.

McGreevey remains chair of the statewide NJ Reentry Corporation nonprofit and that’s what hosted Thursday’s confab, a day of roundtable discussions and speeches about addiction, recovery and prisoner re-entry services.

State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, D-Jersey City, has championed second chances for ex-offenders. In 2014, she led an effort to approve a statewide ban on employers asking about prospective employees’ criminal histories on job applications.

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