Ground Game Ministries is a street level, boots on the ground ministry centered in Oakland, California where founder, Reverend Harry Louis Williams is affectionately known by many as, "OG Rev". It applies creative, Outside-of-the-box concepts to violence reduction and community building.
Ground Game Ministries
Ground Game Ministries uses urban fiction books and hip-hop music to illuminate an alternative path to street crime, violence and human trafficking. The organization promotes urban peace using the language of the streets. Ground Game Ministries uses credible influence to point out a positive path to young people in troubled urban streets or incarceration facilities.
You might have grown up in a community with positive role models, concerned adults and community guideposts marking right and wrong. Now, imagine growing up in a neighborhood where members of the underground drug economy and shadowy human traffickers with platinum Cuban link chains were hoisted up as role models. Imagine being a highly impressionable child in a world where social media stars bragged about committing robberies and flexed with fat stacks of raw cash on Instagram. When you are young, influence is everything.
Ground Game Ministries is built on the concept of critical influence. Oakland gangsta rapper, 1100 Himself called executive director Rev. Harry Williams (aka OG Rev) a “bridge.” The young hip-hop artist pronounced OG Rev, an elder whose voice resonates with young people through the mediums of hip-hop music and urban fiction literature,
22 years of grassroots ministry and activism amid some of America’s most crime challenged hoods has given Rev. Harry Williams the street knowledge and credibility to craft messages that speak into the lives of young people in need of direction. He is a credible messenger to those on the margins. Noted public intellectual and presidential candidate, Dr. Cornel West once wrote: “Harry Williams is a wise courageous guide through our chocolate cities with a precious focus on our neglected and abandoned fellow citizens.”
Reverend Harry Williams Bio
A hail of bullets outside of his East Oakland window changed Reverend Harry Williams' life in the fall of 2002. The next morning as he traveled down the street to the neighborhood store, he noticed that a shrine consisting of teddy bears, balloons and empty Remy Martin bottles had been erected overnight. Someone had lost their life in that hail of bullets.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Reverend Harry Williams took to the streets for answers. He spoke to both drug users and drug traffickers about the madness that had engulfed the community. What he found shifted his focus as a minister. The emphasis of his work came to involve the incarcerated and those returning to the society. He mentored gang involved youth and foster children. Williams’ founded a ministry to human trafficking victims. He became a board member for Homies Empowerment, a community based outreach to gang involved youth. As part of his street ministry, Harry Williams wrote 8 books. His novel, "Straight Outta East Oakland" became a hood classic.
OG Rev first became exposed to hip-hop in the late 1970s in New York City. In the 1980s, he became a recording artist under the name Incredible Mr. Freeze. Hip hop has become the foundational element of Ground Game Ministries. Williams once said, “It is impossible to introduce change in the hood while standing outside of the culture. To be considered relevant and credible you must have a consistent presence on the block and the ability to speak in a language that is well understood in the streets.”
In recent years, OG Rev has recorded and performed in videos with Grammy nominated artist, Mistah FAB as well as Sadat X of Brand Nubian. The City of Oakland presented him with a mini-grant to create a hip-hop video called, “Everybody Wants To Be A Gangster.”
In February of 2023, the founder of Ground Game Ministries was presented with a citation from the City of Oakland City Council for his violence reduction efforts in the city. This was his second such award.
Harry Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Asbury Park, NJ. He holds a B.A. degree from Kean University, Union, NJ and a Master of Divinity Degree from Palmer Theological Seminary, St. Davids, PA. Currently, Reverend Williams (known in the community as O.G. Rev) daily serves the community as a member of the Homies Empowerment organization care center team in East Oakland, California.
Reverend Harry Williams is a champion for those who have no voice. He is a precious pillar of the Oakland, California faith community and an invaluable ally to Oakland’s disenfranchised youth.
Reverend Williams has chosen to do the hard but necessary work of confronting urban violence and human sex trafficking where it is happening – in the streets of our cities.
~Annie Campbell Washington
Former City Council Member – District Four
“Harry Williams is a wise, courageous and compassionate guide through our chocolate cities with a focus on the precious humanity of our neglected and abandoned fellow citizens!”
Dr. Cornel West
Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University
Let me introduce you to the collection of books which I have written over the years...
From street novels, to an African-American history book, here are the words of America’s hood preacher.
appearances and media
A 6-page feature article on O.G. Rev appeared in the latest edition of world renowned magazine, "The Writer." It was written by Melissa Hart.
Click the thumbnail to the right to read it.