Former Sudanese Child Soldier visits Free Minds

Read about it at The Washington Post!

On October 4th, international hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal visited Free Minds members in the DC Jail as our book club’s special guest author. Mr. Jal’s book, War Child, as well as the documentary of the same name, have been a favorite of our members, and they relished the opportunity to meet him.

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Best-selling Author Jonathan Franzen Visits Book Club at DC Jail

Award-winning author Jonathan Franzen visited the DC Jail last month for a special Book Club session with the Free Minds members as part of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s Writers in Schools program. Prepared with a long list of insightful questions for their guest, the young men on the juvenile unit discussed a range of topics with Mr. Franzen including overcoming writers’ block, the grief of losing loved ones, and pursuing your future.

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Delonte

Delonte was just 16 years old in 2004 when he was arrested and charged as an adult for robbery. Before his incarceration, Delonte had stopped attending high school on a regular basis. He was raised by his grandmother since his mother and father were not a part of his life. He liked reading and writing, but his classes just didn’t hold his interest. While he was locked up, he was introduced to Free Minds and relished the opportunity to occupy his time with books and creative writing. “Free Minds were friends when I needed them. They sent me books that I liked to read, and taught me how to express myself through poetry.”

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Interview with Jermaine

“Fifty years from now, I will always remember that Free Minds were the ones there for me when people that were supposed to have cared about me weren’t there.”

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Etan Thomas Leads Series of Writing Workshops

“They brought a tall man to my cell!” one Free Minds member told his mother on the phone, so excited he momentarily forgot the name of his visitor. “We talked about poetry.” Already a prolific writer, the youth has been writing even more extensively since his encounter with 6’10’’ NBA Wizards player Etan Thomas.

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