On the Same Page: Coping with a Parent in Prison
Free Minds frequently holds “On the Same Page” events, in which members who have completed their sentences and returned to society – our Poet Ambassadors – share their writing and their stories of personal growth and positive change with the community to prevent violence and demonstrate the power of reading and writing to transcend challenges.
Last week, we held a particularly powerful On the Same Page event with middle school students from Chesapeake, Virginia. We end each On the Same Page with a Toast for Change, during which everyone present shares some way they hope to grow as a result of what we learned together that day. During the Toast, a courageous 13-year-old young woman named KW shared openly for the first time that her own father is incarcerated. Poet Ambassador LaTrae spoke with her after about his own experience and struggle coping with his father being imprisoned, and he shared the feelings of shame and secrecy that touch so many families impacted by incarceration. It served as a powerful example of the connection that comes from sharing ourselves and our stories.
Since the event, KW has written a number of poems to explore her feelings. We are posting them here to share and celebrate her strong voice and to continue creating space for all those touched by incarceration to share their stories, connect, and grow together. Thank you, KW, for your strength, your courage, and your willingness to share!
The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.