“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.”
FM: How did you first get involved with Free Minds?
I first got involved with Free Minds in ’07 when I first got locked up. Tara and Kelli came to see me at the jail. I was 16 years old. When I was sentenced, and shipped out, one of the first letters I received was from Free Minds. Tara and Kelli kept in touch with me until I was released. They came to see me in North Dakota, visited me over Christmas, that’s something I’ll never forget. When I came home, they let me work in the Free Minds office as an intern for about two weeks.
FM: How long have you been working for Free Minds?
When I was released last fall, I worked at the Free Minds office for a couple of weeks. Since then, we’ve done a few different programs, a poetry jam, a radio show with 93.9, a two week program with Life Pieces where every one of us got certificates for completing the program, and we recorded a song for the “Hear Us Out” program held on I Street in 2009.
FM: What kind of work do you do at Free Minds?
I am the Communications and Social Media apprentice at Free Minds. I get assignments daily, schedule upcoming events, and call to check up on everyone within the Free Minds community. I’m in charge of helping to call the youth involved in Free Minds, get in touch with them to update them on our current events, see if they need anything, and just generally find out what’s new with them. I reach out to people who haven’t been in touch with us in awhile.
FM: What’s your favorite part about working for Free Minds?
My favorite part about working for Free Minds is gaining new experiences daily. I am doing different things that I wouldn’t normally do. Also, being around my fellow Free Minds members, Tara and Juliana, is another great joy I get out of working at Free Minds.
FM: What’s your favorite book?
One of my favorites is The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur, I’ve read it more than once. I also really like Dark by Kenji Jasper.
FM: Juliana tells me that you have a bright future in music. Tell me more about your music career.
I’ve been writing lyrics and doing music since I was 9 years old. I’m currently working with LOP Records and also affiliated with DCR Records. I’ve been working with LOP since I was 14 years old, doing a couple of CDs. My music career is taking off. Right now, we’re doing a mixtape set to drop at the end of this month. Then we’ll get a published copy written, get it in stores, and sell it. Right now we’re doing shows at local clubs, networking and doing photo and video shoots to promote the mixtape.
FM: Fifty years from now, what is one thing you will look back on and always remember about Free Minds?
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. Tara and Kelli were always in my corner, always reached out to me no matter what kind of situation I was in. I will never forget that.
By Vicky Goodale, Free Minds Summer Intern