At first glance, Repeter ‘Pete’ Monsanto lives a glamorous life – a celebrity photographer who works with boldface names like Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean and others. But look deeper and you will see a man with father-sized hole in his life. When he was just six years old, Pete’s father, Peter Monsanto, was arrested and convicted of racketeering and sentenced to life without parole. Pete remembers vividly when he was just six years old and law enforcement burst into his home in the middle of the night and took his father away. Life had been good for him before that – his family lived in the luxury that comes with being the son of a drug kingpin – courtside seats at Madison Square Garden, great clothes, etc. Although Pete Sr. was running a criminal enterprise, he was also a constant and reliable presence in his son’s life. When you’re that young, you don’t know what your Dad does for a living, you just love him. When his dad was sent away, Pete’s life changed dramatically. His mom worked hard to hold the family together, in spite of a difficult journey that included bouts of entanglement in the shelter system. It’s a common tale for the children of the incarcerated, for whom Pete is now an advocate. He is a board advisor for We Got Us Now - a movement built by, led by & about CoIP (Children of Incarcerated Parents).
For 32 years, Pete and his father have worked to maintain a long distance relationship, mostly by weekly phone conversations. Pete Sr. is now 69, and since his incarceration he has maintained a disciplined routine, keeping mind and body strong while running in the prison yard. Trying to be a positive force in his son’s life in spite of his criminal past and its consequences. Pete is now the same age his father was when he was sent away. Inspired by his father’s strength and resilience, Pete will run the 2018 NYC marathon.