by CRAIG COLEY
With a company motto of “Moving you with an attitude of gratitude” and the stipulation that employees do volunteer work such as collecting and moving furniture donated to St. Vincent de Paul, Antonio Jackson says it’s clear Big Boy’s Moving is meant to be a vehicle for community service.
Jackson hires ex-felons who are ready to reinvent themselves. “It’s not a job, it’s an opportunity to serve,” says Jackson, who introduces himself as AJay.
The success of Big Boy’s Moving has allowed Jackson, 48, to launch a nonprofit organization that helps ex-offenders rebuild their lives outside of prison. Its name, M.U.M.—for Made Up Mind—reflects a turning point in Jackson’s own life. First arrested at 15, Jackson was incarcerated five times for possession of drugs and stolen property and spent a total of 27 years of his life in prison. In 2009, the death of his grandmother—a woman who always believed in his potential—made him reappraise his life.
In his cell, Jackson says, “I asked God: What do you want from me? I heard, ‘Make up your mind, man.’ I decided to make a life that honored my grandmother.”
Jackson began making changes. While incarcerated in the R Dorm at Westville Correctional Facility in Westville, Indiana, he directed and expanded a program teaching prisoners how to refurbish donated eyeglasses for impoverished people in other countries. He wrote a straight-talk advice book, On My Momma, and self-published it on Amazon. And he earned an associate degree in business.
Released in 2015, the following year Jackson launched Big Boy’s Moving with a single box truck. He hired non-violent offenders he met in his re-entry program. In less than three months, he needed a second truck.
Through the company, and through M.U.M., Jackson says he is able to provide not just jobs but also a community of accountability and support. “A place to stay and a job is not enough,” Jackson says. “Men and women coming out of prison need mental training wheels. I say that from experience. A made-up mind is more than just not using drugs or not breaking the law—people have to truly reinvent themselves.”
For more information about Big Boy’s Moving, visit bbmoving812.com. To learn more about M.U.M., visit mummadeupmind.org.