William Elmore was a peculiar child growing up in New Jersey who loved solving mathematical problems, writing short stories and playing instruments. His penchant for drawing blueprints and graphs, and for building household objects, made young William contemplate a career in architecture. However, book-smart talents and promising academic opportunities did not outweigh the allure of street culture and lifestyle, and his slickness earned him the nickname “Slick Will” or Swill. For Swill, street life was the catalyst for a maze of miscalculations and bad choices with dire consequences, which overtook him on March 30, 199. In one fragile moment, William Elmore made a decision that started a chain reaction, resulting in arrest for first degree murder and a sentence of “natural life” to be served in the state of North Carolina.
Over his 24 years in prison, William read hundreds of books, but two that inspired him and shaped his character were Sidney Poitier’s Measure of a Man and Bruce Lee’s The Fighting Spirit. With the support of his mother and sister, William took advantage of every opportunity to expand his horizons. After moving to a minimum custody facility, he started doing outreach to share his life experience with troubled youth.
William has matured into a man who is a force of peace, a man worthy of forgiveness. The moniker Mecca, was gifted to him twice; once as a teen in East Orange, NJ and years later by Scottso, who felt it described calm and enlightened demeanor.
On December 21, 2015, at age 45, William Elmore was released from Orange Correctional Center in Hillsborough, North Carolina, paroled and returned to his loved ones as a rejuvenated person. His homecoming and experiences in transition to society echoes a phrase written by Bruce Lee: “Be like water…” which he interprets to mean ‘be open to your own evolution, take the shape of any situation you’re in, move rapidly yet appearing to be still, be soft enough to bathe a newborn and solid enough to sink a titanic vessel.”