Sunday, January 12, 2014

Free Minds Book Club Reading at Kefa Cafe

Wednesday evening, January 15, 2014
Kefa Cafe
963 Bonifant St., Silver Spring, MD

Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop reading

Our Mission

Our mission is to introduce young inmates to the transformative power of books and creative writing. By mentoring them and connecting them to supportive services throughout their incarceration into reentry, Free Minds inspires these youths to see their potential and achieve new educational and career goals.

Our Vision

That every young inmate receives the necessary tools, inspiration and community support to pursue education and follow a positive new path in life.

Whom We Serve

Free Minds serves teenagers who are charged and incarcerated as adults at the DC Jail. Approximately 60 youths are incarcerated every year; of those, ninety five percent are African American and five percent are Latino. The majority come from the city’s most crime-stricken neighborhoods where nearly half of the children live below the poverty rate. At 16 and 17 years old, they read, on average, at a fifth grade level and most have already dropped out of or disengaged from school. More than half of the youth served by Free Minds also have parents or other close family members who have been incarcerated, and the majority already have children themselves. Juveniles who are incarcerated as adults are at extremely high risk for future violent criminal activity {1}. At the same time, access to educational programs while incarcerated has proven to reduce recidivism {2}. By reaching these youths at this critical juncture and exciting them about learning, Free Minds motivates these young men to pursue positive new directions for their futures. Since its inception, Free Minds has reached over 450 youths through our Book Club, Continuing Support and Reentry Programs.


By S.N.
I know we are all in bad situation right now, like there is a tornado in our lives.
But I have a good feeling that one day the clouds will disappear, the sun will shine, and everything will be just fine.
We are all different and unique in our own way but we are all similar in one thing
We are like birds in cage hoping to fly in sky one day.
I say let’s visualize ourselves being a positive person doing things the right way
so we don’t get incarcerated for some stupid things and get a big time sentence.
In this orange jumpsuit we all probably look like convicts,
but inside we are normal regular people trying to survive just like everyone else.
If you reach deep inside and get to know us then you will be surprised,
finding out who we really are ‘cause we all have interesting story with individual history.
See I come from a different place and I have seen many faces
yet I have stopped to visualize ‘cause I see myself in better places.

Quien no Sabe?

by L.V.
Quien no sabe que la tierra pesa?
Quien no sabe que el fuego quema?
Todos saben que hay cosas que lastiman
Pero hay quienes les conocen que el encierro
Es un sufrimiento del que no se puede escapar,
Hay quienes no saben lo que es reír por no llorar
Hay muchos que desconocen el sufrimiento
Nadie sabe lo que es sufrir
Hasta que la experiencia les toca vivir
Quien no sabe que la tierra pesa?
Quien no sabe que el fuego quema?
El ser un sobreviviente del encierro basta
Para ser un testigo del sufrimiento
Basta la experiencia para ver que hasta que no has estado presente
No conoces lo que es sufrir
Puedes escuchar historias, leer artículos, imaginar,
Tratar de estar en los zapatos de el que ha sufrido
No es lo mismo
La experiencia lo cambia todo
Who Does Not Know?
Who does not know that earth is heavy?
Who does not know that fire burns?
Everyone knows that there are some things that hurt
But there are some that know that imprisonment
Is a suffering one can not escape
There are some that know what it is to laugh so you don’t cry
There are many who are unaware of suffering
No one knows what suffering is
Until they live the experience
Who does not know that earth is heavy?
Who does not know that fire burns?
Surviving imprisonment is enough
To make you a witness to suffering
Enough experience to see that until you have not been present
You don’t know what it means to suffer
You can listen to stories, read articles, imagine,
Try to be in the shoes of one who has suffered
It’s not the same
Experience changes everything

Pen Fiend

By DeCario
As I sit back
And operate this pen
In my mind
I feel like I’m a pen fiend
Sick with words
Sick with the pen
Whoa! Just had a brain freeze
Right back at it
Like your every day dope addict
Sick, can’t go without it
Got to write about it
In my eyes
I see the light
And only I can see what to write
Every day and night
I think, am I doing what’s right?
This is my life
Some say pray to Christ
But every time I think about it
I am back writin’ with the pen
Sick with so many emotions
And no one to talk to
So who can I turn to
But my pen
I’m just your every day pen fiend