Author Danielle Evans Visits Book Club at DC Jail

Danielle Evans, acclaimed author of the short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, sat down with the members of one of our book clubs at the DC Jail for a wide-ranging discussion on writing, voice, perspective, fiction, and more.

Free Minds conducts book clubs on two units at the DC Jail, the education unit and the young adult unit (ages 18-25). The members of the education unit read and discussed the book Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self in anticipation of the session with Danielle Evans, who also teaches writing in addition to her career as a fiction writer. Read More

Author Tiffany Jackson Visits Free Minds Book Club at New Beginnings

Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop launched its book club at New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Fall 2018. A residential treatment facility for youths, the development center provides rehabilitation and planning for young people through educational services, workforce development, health care, and community engagement. Read More

Free Minds on PBS: The Great American Read

This fall, Free Minds members made history! Free Minds was featured in a nationally televised program, PBS’s The Great American ReadRead More

Author and Poetry Slam Champion Elizabeth Acevedo Visits Free Minds Book Club at the DC Jail

The author and self-proclaimed spoken word artist Elizabeth Acevedo, who is no stranger to titles (National Poetry Slam Champion and author of New York Times bestselling novel-in-verse The Poet X), made a guest appearance to discuss her novel, The Poet X, and promote determination, resilience, change, and healing for these young men affected by systemic racism and mass incarceration. Our Jail Book Club members took away the importance of sharing your story, perseverance, and using your creativity to create paths to success. Read More

Best-Selling Author Jason Reynolds Speaks to Youth at the DC Jail

We cannot be what we cannot see. – Jason Reynolds, New York Times best-selling author

What would be your first purchase if you signed a major book deal at 21 years old? New York Times best-selling author Jason Reynolds remembers spending his first check for When I Was the Greatest on every pair of Jordans in a size 12, treating his closest friends to Red Lobster dinners, and paying all of his mom’s bills—only to discover he had exhausted a check in 2 weeks that was supposed to last him 2 years. Working every odd job to make ends meet (including hustling his own book) and even losing his home, Reynolds continued to find redemption in writing, stating, to the juveniles of Free Minds DC Jail Book Club, “the most expensive and valuable thing you own is your story.”

On Tuesday, August 14, Free Minds had the pleasure of hosting author Jason Reynolds at the DC Jail to meet, speak with, and inspire the juveniles of the Jail Book Club. The Jail Book Club is just one of Free Minds’ three programs uniquely tailored to empower boys and young men of color who are critically disadvantaged from the effects of mass incarceration, racial-economic disparity, and racism. Visiting the DC jail on a weekly basis, Free Minds actively engages the 16- and 17-year-old members, all charged as adults, in reading, book club discussions, creative writing exercises, and author visits. Having already read Reynolds’s Long Way Down and When I Was the Greatest, members highly anticipated his visit. Read More