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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reiko Brown: More Than Just A Product Of Her Environment

(Photo credit: Paula Joy)

by Cyrus Webb

When I think of the theme "New From The Inside Out" it is hard to have the conversation without mentioning Reiko Brown.

Just a couple of years over 50, author Reiko Brown has seen more than a lifetime's worth of heartache and pain, yet to meet her today you would never imagine the horror she has faced or the lows she has had to experience to get where she is. She chronicles her journey through abuse, drugs and the everyday challenges of life in her book Product Of My Environment. It was the book that brought her to my attention in 2010, yet it has been her desire to use her life as a lesson for others that has kept us connected.

What has life been like for her since the book's release? "It's been an incredible roller coaster," she says. When referring to the Reiko that we learn about in Product she adds: "People today aren't worried about that girl. They are more concerned about the woman they see today. They can't believe we are the same."

Brown is candid about one of the most hurtful chapters of her past, that being her relationship with her mother. Her mother being the very woman who called her the Devil's Child. "I loved my mother so much," Reiko says. "I would have done anything to be accepted by her." The absence of that love and affection contributed to the choice that young Reiko would make.

Another subject that Reiko discussed with me on the radio show in 2011 was her abortion that she had before she was even in her teens. In a conversation called "A Look At Abortion" she shared what was without a doubt one of the most powerful shows I have hosted in the eight years that I have been on radio.

Though there were outside influences that may have cause her to do some of the things that she did, Reiko doesn't point the finger at others. As she relates her experiences, she feels a sense of relief. "Everyday I have to speak about the book it gets me more and more towards gratitude," she says.

That in itself brings up another point about Reiko's journey. She believes that she has lived the life she has so that others don't have to. That is why she feels as though she has to share it with others. In many ways, it's like her ministry. "I wake up thinking what can I do to make your life better," she says.


Regardless of what we are going through, she believes each choice has a lasting affect. "The choices you make today are going to direct you the rest of your life," she says. "We all have a purpose. Every single person has a purpose."

For Reiko it is all about what we choose to do with the life and chances we have been given. It's plain to see what path she has chosen. The rest is totally up to us. Today you can find her making a difference in the lives of young people in Florida by sharing her story and giving them a platform where they can feel safe enough to talk and know they are being listened to, not judged.

To find out more information about Reiko Brown and her book Product Of My Environment, visit www.productofmyenvironment.net.

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