Free Minds Wins Renewal Award

In 2017, Free Minds was honored to receive the Renewal Award for Ingenuity from the Atlantic and Allstate. Free Minds was one of five winners selected from approximately 500 organizations across the country. Free Minds attended the Renewal Summit in Washington, DC, to receive the award. Poet Ambassador Nick spoke at the Renewal Summit. After the event, he said, “I want to thank the Atlantic and Allstate for allowing me to share my story, because I know it will help bring about a change. I hope people will treat someone from my experience with more dignity. That alone will give people from my background hope.” Read More

Changing Thoughts

By DK

As I sit here tired, alone, but peaceful in my cage
It gives me time to reflect and to let go of the rage.
I see so many guys, different races, different colors,
Makes you wonder why we all messed up, leaving behind our children, lovers and mothers.
What were we thinking while committing our crimes?
Look, it’s left me here…trying to write you this rhyme.
I’m so sorry I left you, so scared and alone,
I’m so sorry I left you in a fatherless home.
I sit here and reflect on all the things that I did,
And how I, not anyone else, caused me a 25 year bid…
So I give you the promise of a much better man,
‘Cause in 12 more years I’ll be armed with a real plan.
I’ll always be there for you in a time of need,
I’m starting now to plant the positive seeds.
Seeds that will flourish into a beautiful flower,
Giving me the strength and knowledge to help empower.
Just because I made mistakes, and lost my way,
Doesn’t mean because you’re my daughters, you’re destined the same way.
So keep your heads high, be proud, and strong…
Daddy will be home; it seems like forever, but it’s really not that long.

Inner Strength

By BH

As a product of his environment,
He could not read nor write,
Designed and programmed for destruction,
Thoughts of suicide haunted him at night.

As a product of his environment.
Incarcerated overnight
Afraid to give up, he decided to fight

Six years later a GED, Paralegal diploma and
An Associate’s Degree in Business Management
He found life.

As a product of his environment
He took flight.

Perceive

By RD

I am one who has been judged unfit to live in society
Locked away to serve so-called justice to so-called crimes.
They say I am unfit yet I twine my ink with tears forming every line
It truly saddens me to see the country in such division
Hatred and violence, can anyone see – does anyone share a broader vision?
We are spiraling down a rabbit hole that leads to naught but destruction.
Can anyone realize what all this hate lead to – does anyone see the repercussions?
Its like a cancer greedily eating away at this country
Home by home, community by community, city by city, state by state
We are being consumed by this hate – and it saddens me.
It brings tears to my eyes to watch kids at school chant racist remarks
Is this where we are going back to – is this when the was will once again start?
A war that has consumed so much blood, sweat, and tears
A war that left so many in their homes after dark – cowering from their fears
Is this where we are going? If so it saddens me – me who has been labeled unfit for society
Me who see the beauty of life and country – helplessly watching this smog of hate smother us causing the world so much anxiety.
It saddens me and I weep – weep at the blind hate, racism, and violence that plague this country like a medical patient
It saddens me so I weep – weep at the crumbling of a beautiful nation

I Got Up

By DC

If you see a man down, do you assume that he fell?
If the burning in his eyes is there, which story does it tell?
If he is on his knees, is this a sign of submission?
Or was he once on his back, and rose to this position?

If you see him dropping his head, staring at the ground
Did he quit? Or is he looking for a new way to get around?
If you see that he is in tears, and he is letting them run
Do you assume that he lost, or that he has won?

Is he giving up or getting up?
Is he content with the notion of slumber
With no real inclination of waking up?
Could you give him a sec, could you wait?
To watch him fall, and then rise to be great?

For his struggle, though long and imperfect
Built him up from nothing
So it was worth it
From laying to sitting, from sitting to kneeling
To now almost standing – his resolve, so willing!

To be standing on his own, is his burning desire
It’s what drives him, like passion filled fires
To put his head up high, and his chest popped out
And not many can say, they know what “getting up” is about