Jelani was such a special person. He was kind and compassionate. Learn more about Jelani Manigault.
Find out about the Author, Caroline Brewer. Click here for more!
The Jelani Tree
What's in the book The Jelani Tree? Click here to find out more.

The J.E.L.A.N.I. Institute

(Justice Equity Love and Awareness NOW Institute)

Our Motto: See the Individual.
Our Purpose and Mission
The purpose of The JELANI Institute is to honor the vibrant life and the sweet memory of Jelani Darren Manigault (who left this world at the tender age of twenty-four), by bringing awareness to the public and to first responders of the urgent need for the employment of effective, life-saving methods when encountering individuals who are undergoing episodes of extreme anxiety or emotional distress. Our intent is to work with individuals and organizations throughout the entire community – including the public, law enforcement, elected officials, mental health professionals, civic groups, as well as individuals and families who have been directly affected by inappropriate and ineffective responses to their crises. We wish to help change the mindset of those who would misunderstand, stigmatize, misjudge, or dishonor anyone whose illness/injury/challenge happens to be cerebral or emotional rather than physical, and to encourage the implementation of alternative methods of intervention that have been proven to be effective.
As Jelani was so very talented in so many ways, possessing and demonstrating tremendous depth as well as breadth of talent, the JELANI Institute is also about developing talents and laudable qualities in young people, and recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant efforts in doing so.
Therefore, our formal MISSION is two-fold:
  • To encourage young people and people of all ages to recognize in themselves and others numerous positive qualities, and to develop their many God-given talents.
  • To expand tolerance and help to change the mindset of first responders and others with respect to people in crisis.
One of the goals of The JELANI Institute at present is to assist in bringing the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT-Memphis) model of policing to municipalities throughout New Jersey, so as to form voluntary teams of police officers who are willing to participate in additional training that serves to minimize and possibly eliminate altogether the police killings in cases of encounters with people who are undergoing emotional distress.
Our Background
Hundreds of people expressed shock and awe and utter disbelief over the death of Jelani Manigault at the hands of police officers in 2003, which took place amidst serious circumstances as he experienced a massive anxiety attack. There could not have been a more stellar or a more kind and gentle individual than this young man; and it was unimaginable to absolutely everyone who knew him that he could meet such a fate, no matter the circumstances. And this is with utmost respect for all other parties involved.
Heartfelt descriptions of Jelani’s laudable qualities as an individual poured forth spontaneously from a host of inconsolable mourners at his memorial service, -- qualities that bore a noticeably striking correlation to the “fruits of the Spirit” in the Scriptures. Subsequent to his memorial service, the idea for a children’s book based on those qualities and an accompanying foundation in Jelani’s honor came forth from children’s author Caroline Brewer. Caroline also made us aware of the phenomenon of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT- Memphis) police training that was being implemented and was saving lives in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The notion of expanding the idea of a foundation into that of an institute, with a charge of teaching, informing, researching, instructing, building awareness, sharing, and recognizing individuals and groups for their accomplishments was the development of Mary Wade and Jelani’s mom, Carol Manigault.
Thus, in 2004 The Justice Equity Love and Awareness NOW Institute was incorporated; and in 2005 the magnificent book The Jelani Tree was published by its author, Caroline Brewer. The distribution of this book has been the principal financial support of the Institute to date. The book’s message is universal and is being shared in libraries and in classrooms throughout the country as well as abroad, with students from pre-school to college level.
Our Activities
The major activities of The JELANI Institute thus far have involved:
  • OUTREACH to the community, including law enforcement, mental health organizations, elected officials, the judiciary, community organizations, consumers and their families, families affected by incidents similar to Jelani’s, the general public.
  • WORKSHOPS (including children’s workshops).
  • PROMOTION of The Jelani Tree book and its classroom activities
  • RECOGNITION of accomplishments of individuals and organizations exemplifying the Institute’s missions.
  • ANNUAL  DAY  OF  REMEMBRANCE, with a theme each year based on a special talent or endeavor of Jelani’s.

How We Got Started and What Happened to Jelani

Contact Us
Address: The JELANI Institute, P.O. Box 254, Teaneck, New Jersey 07666
Phone and e-mail: Carol Manigault, Institute President,, (201) 407-0147.
Caroline Brewer, author of The Jelani Tree, .
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