Book Club for Youth in Federal Prison

by Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop
Pedro with his favorite books
Pedro with his favorite books

Thank you so much for supporting our long-distance book club and writing workshop with incarcerated youth. In the past 3 months, we have sent books, newsletters, and more to over 300 young adults in federal prisons across the country. Instead of us telling you the impact of your gift, we will let our members speak for themselves as they say it best!

Books Across the Miles: Prison Book Club

In our “Books Across the Miles” long-distance book club, Free Minds members in federal prisons across the country have been reading Tears for Water by Alicia Keys, a book of poetry and lyrics.

SL, a new Free Minds member participating in “Books Across the Miles” for the first time, reflected on his favorite poem in the book, “When Gone Is the Glory.” SL said, “I feel like this expresses how I felt about having a name/rep in the streets. Now I’m gone and my name/rep means nothing. All the so-called friends left with it.”

LC in long-term solitary confinement wrote, “The Golden Child poem was so powerful to begin with…I’m eager to read her words and give a full review of the book. I am certain that she will elevate my poetic skills.” After he finished the book he wrote back, “She is so raw and real with her words. Her poems are beautiful. She paints on the canvas of her heart. I try to do the same.”

DP wrote, “I’ve always been a fan of Alicia Keys, but reading Tears for Water made it seem like she was right here talking to me. It’s hard for me to pinpoint one poem as my favorite because I have so many pages folded over, and those are all the ones that I like.”

GL wrote, “I appreciate the book by Alicia Keys, Tears for Water. I just started the book, but so far it seems to be a good book of poetry. As a poet, I can relate to her work… Mainly because I feel it deep within the confines of my heart and soul.”

The Free Minds Connect: Empathy

In addition to reading and writing poetry, Free Minds members explored the idea of empathy in the latest issue of our newsletter, the Free Minds Connect, mailed to readers in prisons across the United States.

Free Minds member BG shared his experiences after participating in a victim’s impact group: “One of the guests played a 911 call from a time when someone broke into a woman’s home when she was alone with her baby. It was awful. After hearing the stories in the group, it made me feel for people I have victimized and I didn’t ever want to take advantage of anyone again.”

MS wrote about the difficult of feeling empathy while incarcerated:  “The word empathy is like the polar opposite of our surroundings. Behind these walls you can find some of the most unempathetic people. I highly promote the emotion empathy and at the same time to exercise empathy in this culture is a monumental task. At first, I felt like empathy is an emotion I can leave behind. It gets very tiring to feel someone else’s pain while dealing with your own. However, I need to work on empathy to become the well-rounded man I strive to be.”

After reading this issue of the Connect, one Free Minds member, TB, wrote back: “I consider myself to be a highly intelligent individual, and whenever I have been asked about what the word empathy meant to me over the years, my response had always been a formal one, very dry and lacking in its true meaning. But after reading this issue of the newsletter, I fully understand its true meaning.”

Your generosity allows us to reach more and more young adults, and to make these moments of change and inspiration possible. Thank you for believing in the transformative power of reading and writing.

Savaria with his favorite book
Savaria with his favorite book
Reggie with a book that changed his life
Reggie with a book that changed his life
The latest issue of the Free Minds Connect
The latest issue of the Free Minds Connect
Free Minds members read Tears for Water
Free Minds members read Tears for Water
Artwork by Free Minds member Antoine
Artwork by Free Minds member Antoine


Malik's favorite author is James Patterson

Books Across the Miles: Federal Prison Book Club

Readers in our “Books Across the Miles” long-distance book club just finished reading and discussing March: Book Two by Congressman John Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin. March: Book Two is the second installment in a trilogy of graphic novels about Congressman Lewis’s remarkable life and experiences as one of the “Big Six” leaders in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Here is what some of our readers had to say about this book:

“The book March 2 gave me a deeper respect for every last person who’ve stood before the hideous face of oppression and adversity. For those who know that the path towards freedom has always been stalked by death but still they sacrificed everything they were for everything we have. This book helped me to better understand the courage and bravery that the members of the SNCC and other NON-VIOLENT organizations possessed.… I would like to sincerely extend my gratitude and appreciation to every last person that helped to pave the way for myself and the rest of the descendants of that era that have the privilege to experience the “Dream” of King and Lewis.” - GL

“March 1 and March 2 is getting the history of the Civil Rights Movement straight from one of the original sources--Congressman John Lewis.… The books’ comic form provides excellent visualization through pictures and relates detailed accounts of Mr. Lewis’s journey through the Civil Rights Movement in comprehensible language.” - JL

“Just like Part 1, it was very enlightening. I admire John Lewis. Him and the rest of the world who fight to make this world right. John Lewis’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial was powerful. I’ve always heard of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech but not the rest. How people could be so cruel (siccing attack dogs on children and fire hoses) brought a tear to my eye but the power of unity also did the same.” - RE

The next Books Across the Miles book will be Tears for Water by Alicia Keys, a collection of her lyrics and poetry.

The Free Minds Connect: History

While Free Minds members were reading and writing about Congressman John Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement, they also wrote articles and poetry for the latest issue of the Free Minds newsletter, the Connect. The theme this month was about history, and the articles ranged from the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the importance of knowing one’s history, and how to change a family’s history of incarceration.

“I love this month’s theme about history and our future. We should all learn each other’s culture and history because if we know where we come from we will know where we are going. If we know about our people and the great things they have accomplished, maybe a lot of us wouldn’t feel so hopeless or helpless because we would have strong leaders to look up to and a sense of direction.” - AF

“If I could go back in history, I would love to be able to go back and talk with the incomparable Frederick Douglass. Here’s a man who exemplified self-determination by willing himself to rise above, against all odds. I would ask him what would be his assessment of the Black man’s condition in America if he could be present in our time. Frederick Douglass taught me that once a person becomes self-aware, he or she must become morally conscious and choose principles and purposes to live by.” - QS

“You cannot change history, your father, your son, the cycle of incarceration in your family, nor anything else, until you change yourself. The only thing that I believe in regards to fate and destiny is that we all get what we put out.” - HF

A Book That Changed My Life

Free Minds also sends books personally tailored to the interests of each book club member. This month, we asked them to tell us about a book that changed their lives. Some of their favorites were The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor, Push by Sapphire, A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, As A Man Thinketh by James Allen, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and more!

One Free Minds member, Terrell, wrote, “Before Free Minds I didn’t read anything at all! I love Free Minds for being around and for showing me a different way of life.”

Another Free Minds member, Malik, whose favorite author is James Patterson, said, “Books changed me. They took me to other places. When I read, I wasn’t in prison anymore. I was wherever that book was taking place and I loved it.” Malik is now home from prison and working at a nonprofit.

Thank you for sharing the life-changing power of books and writing!

The latest issue of the Free Minds newsletter
The latest issue of the Free Minds newsletter
Free Minds members read March: Book Two
Free Minds members read March: Book Two
Free Minds member Gary with his favorite books
Free Minds member Gary with his favorite books
Letters on the way to members in federal prisons
Letters on the way to members in federal prisons


Free Minds staff with author Tony Lewis, Jr.
Free Minds staff with author Tony Lewis, Jr.

Book Club at the DC Jail

In June, community activist and author Tony Lewis, Jr., (Slugg: A Boy’s Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration) visited the Book Club at the DC Jail to discuss his memoir about growing up with an incarcerated father and mentally ill mother. When Tony was 9 years old, his father, a former cocaine kingpin, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for his connection to the largest drug operation in D.C. After his father’s arrest, Tony lived with his mother who struggled with mental illness exacerbated by his father’s incarceration.

Instead of living out what was expected of him, Tony wrote about how he overcame those expectations in Slugg: A Boys Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration.  The teenagers in the Book Club chose this book to read because they could see themselves in Tony’s story, and they wanted to hear from the author himself.

When asked what he wanted to communicate to the Book Club members, Tony Lewis said, “I want them to be able to see themselves in me in terms of they can do anything. Coming from communities, families, that may not be perfect, but they can ascend no matter what they’re here for. They can start planning for life after this. And I hope that Sluggcan give them some instructions on how to pursue and reach their goals.” In addition to his work as an author and activist, Tony also works for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, DC’s probation agency. “Not only am I somebody who’s an author, but I actually do the work in terms of reentry. So I want to connect with them on the level that if I can help them move forward, I’m here to do that as well. I hope they are inspired and also empowered to know what they can do, what’s possible.”

As the presentation ended, the young men all rushed over to have Tony autograph their books. We asked the Book Club members if they felt inspired, and the teens answered with a resounding, “yes!” As one teenager said, “If he can do it, that means I can too.”

Federal Prison Book Club

Meanwhile, the young adults incarcerated in federal prison have been reading about another activist with a remarkable life, Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis (D-GA). In our last update, the readers were discussing March: Book One, the first graphic novel in a trilogy about Congressman Lewis’s experiences as one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that, by popular demand, we are shipping over 200 copies of March: Book Two to members of the “Books Across the Miles” long-distance book club in over 40 facilities in 20 states.

Here’s what the “Books Across the Miles” readers had to say about Book One:

“His book is AWESOME! And it being in comic form shows the hero he truly is for civil rights. I love the way the book gives history of the civil rights era and the reasons it came into being.” - JL

“I got John Lewis’s book “March” yesterday. I loved it. Can’t wait to read part 2. John Lewis is an inspiration and a role model…I love John Lewis’s love for the chickens and especially his love for God and humanity. John Lewis was and still is a straight up soldier. I would have loved to grow up on a farm like him minus the segregation part. He is a true example of leadership. He also is living proof of how God works. Him, Gandhi, MLK, and a lot others and you…Whenever you think you strong and a man or a woman because you able to hurt somebody, see if that strength could out match John Lewis and the others at them diners or on that bridge in Selma, or MLK marching in protest with bricks and everything else being thrown at him and others. Or knowing that it was a strong possibility that he would die if he gave that speech but yet still went anyway. Ultimate sacrifice.” - R

Free Minds Connect: I Believe

Last month’s theme for the newsletter, the Free Minds Connect, was “I Believe,” with Free Minds members, staff, and friends sharing their experiences with the power of belief.

Free Minds member JG wrote about the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and its profound impact on his own beliefs. “It’s important to be optimistic because when we have enough faith in something, that something becomes our truth, and our life experience will reflect this…Have faith that all your dreams and goals will come to pass. Have faith in humanity and a better world.” - JG

As always, thank you for your support and your belief in the power of books and writing to transform lives. 

Free Minds members loved Slugg
Free Minds members loved Slugg
March: Book Two is on the way to federal prisons
March: Book Two is on the way to federal prisons
The cover of the latest Free Minds newsletter
The cover of the latest Free Minds newsletter
Discussing March: Book One in the Connect
Discussing March: Book One in the Connect
More Book Club discussions in the Connect
More Book Club discussions in the Connect


DA's mother shows off her son's Scholastic Award

A few weeks ago, we received a letter from Free Minds member RG, who wrote, "This is the network system I never dreamed of. This is growth for me. You guys are my start to become the man I wish to be for my community. Sorry if I sound so emotional when I write, but this is what comes out from my heart. I want to give back."

Like many of our Free Minds members, RG credits books, writing, and letters for pushing him in the right direction. From live discussions with authors at the DC Jail to connecting over a graphic novel about the Civil Rights Movement, we are so grateful for the power of reading and writing to change lives.


Author Visits at the Book Club

In the last few months, we've had not one but three exciting events at the Book Club!

Earlier this February, Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis and his co-author Andrew Aydin visited the juvenile unit at the jail to share their graphic novel March: Book One and Congressman Lewis's extraordinary tale of courage and nonviolence. Congressman Lewis is the only surviving member of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and the only living speaker from the famous 1963 March on Washington. The Book Club members listened intently and asked questions about coping with fear, anger, and grief. They presented Congressman Lewis with a poem they had written as a group, titled "Free Minds March." The Book Club members were deeply moved by his message of hope and nonviolence. One Book Club member, DeAngelo, described the visit as "life-changing." This event was covered by The Washington Post, Yahoo News, and ABC7/WJLA-TVRead more on our website. 

We also welcomed author and TV writer/producer George Pelecanos (The Cut, The Martini Shot, HBO's The Wire) and filmmaker Stephen Kinigopoulos to the Book Club to screen their short film based on one of Pelecanos's stories, The Confidential Informant. The teens read the short story, and they came prepared with many questions about adapting the text into a film and about the complex relationship between father and son portrayed in The Confidential Informant. Read more on our website.

Finally, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, co-authors of the award-winning young adult novel All American Boys, visited the Book Club to discuss their book about two teenagers whose lives are irrevocably altered by systemic racism and police brutality. The novel won the 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award as well as the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award from We Need Diverse Books. Executive Director Tara Libert said, "We are so grateful for the authors not only for the amazing book and incredible discussion that it generated, but also for exemplifying hope through their personal friendship. It was very meaningful for the teenagers in the Book Club to see two people who were able to bridge the racial divide; for them to see in person, rather than just reading about it, the importance of respecting different experiences and perspectives. Jason and Brendan are two incredible people for embarking on this book project that sparked an empowering and enlightening discussion. They are also leading by example through their own friendship and fearlessness in talking about issues among themselves, demonstrating the kind of courage and compassion that we as a society can aspire to in order to bring about healing." Read more on our website.


Marching for Justice
The teenagers in the Book Club at the DC Jail are not the only ones learning about Congressman Lewis's incredible life! This month, the Free Minds members in federal prisons across the United States are reading March: Book One in our correspondence-based book club, Books Across the Miles, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

I’m just writing to say thank you for the books you’ve sent. I really enjoyed the “March 1 & 2” comic. They were amazing and truly depict how far we have come as a people. It was very inspiring to say the least.


I received March “Book One” and I enjoyed every last word and page in the book. I was really excited to learn about John Lewis and the revolutionary change he sought for himself and others. I learned a great way to love people and forgive my enemies is by non-violence. I feel that nonviolence is a silent force capable of putting the devil at peace with you. I hope that March reaches across this country and touches the coldest hearts out there.


One of my cellmates is reading it now.  I can see the whole unit reading this by the time I’m done passing it around. I just gave it to my friend this morning & he read it in less than 2 hours.


I just wanted to let you know I got the comic book, and although I generally couldn't care less for comics, I took the time to read it, because one you all sent it to me, and two, it must be important if it was a gift from Free Minds.  What a blessing. You opened up my eyes to what African Americans went through back in the day.  I don't study up on history, well I didn't use to, but now I think I will.  See as a white man, I wasn't really interested in what happened to African Americans back in the day.  I wasn't racist, in fact, I have more African American friends than white, but for some reason I was never really ever interested in what African Americans had to go through.  This book opened up my eyes, I now want to learn more.  I couldn't believe one book could have me to open up this way.  Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!


The "Books Across the Miles" readers are also reading books of their own choosing or books that were personally selected for them by our staff. Halim wrote to us a few days ago to tell us how much he loved Flight by Sherman Alexie:

"I read it in one night, couldn't put it down...It was GREAT and it addressed youth violence in a perfect way. Thanks again for everything, for investing in me, in us, the Lost Children of DC!"


Write Night Poetry Feedback

This spring, we have hosted several On the Same Page: Write Nights and Write Lunches across the DMV area. Volunteers of all ages and walks of life have come out, rain or shine, to provide feedback on our members’ poetry. Once the poems are filled with comments, we send the colorful pages back to each author. Our members are consistently amazed by the outpouring of community support, and the fact that people are taking the time out of their busy days to respond to their poetry:

"I never imagined using this medium to share my feelings and thoughts with people I've never met, then to feel such a connection with them thru their feedback! WOW!" -MH

“Really you guys were the ones who unlocked this hidden talent.  If it weren't for you I don't think I would enjoy writing as much as I do.  You guys gave me another way to express myself that allows me to connect with others.”  -IS


The Free Minds Connect: “Keeping our Minds and Hearts Open to All Possibilities”

For our January/February issue of the Free Minds: Connect, our members focused on the theme of resolutions and transformation. In preparation for the publication, the entire Free Minds family reflected on our own personal goals, from reading more books, to living every day to the fullest, and focusing on music and poetry. JG, a regular columnist, shared how he is resolving to be grateful, graceful, and content while striving toward his goals:

[By expressing gratitude] we keep our minds and hearts open to all possibilities, allowing our desires to flow smoothly into our lives unhindered. The past is done, and the future is not promised, so why not cherish the present? ...In my humble opinion, by doing this we can accept our current situation for whatever it may be at the moment, while still moving forward.


A few pages later, a Reentry Profile of Free Minds member Stephen featured his resolution to obtain his education. Stephen is currently a sophomore at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and is committed to becoming a Civil Engineer:

My dream is to build one of those buildings that stretches over top of a road or tunnel, like the one in downtown DC near the entrance to 395…. The hardest part about being a full-time student is staying committed to it and actually doing the work. It’s not easy but it will be worth it. - Stephen

Our next issue, called “We Can Be The Change,” just went out this past week to over 300 young men and women in jails and prisons across the country. We can’t wait to read what our members think of it!


Free Minds Poets Honored at Scholastic Writing Awards

This year, two Free Minds members, DA and DJ, were honored at the DC Regional Scholastic Writing Awards. DJ won the Gold Key (the highest award!) for his poem, "Paradise," as well as an Honorable Mention for "Moment of Truth," and DA won an Honorable Mention for his poem "Gunfire." Neither of the poets had written a poem before joining Free Minds. Free Minds Poet Ambassador Kalef accepted the awards on their behalf as both writers are currently incarcerated. DA's mother attended the award ceremony and told us how proud she was of her son for expressing himself positively through poetry. Both young poets, although they could not be there in person, were thrilled when they heard that they had won. This recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards represents more than just a certificate; it represents a warm welcome into a nation-wide community of writers.

Every time you donate, you are giving a young man in our program a second chance at life. Thank you for being the support and encouragement our members need and deserve in order to achieve their true potential and transform our communities for the better. We couldn’t do this work without you! 

John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with Free Minds Team
John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with Free Minds Team
Free Minds members read March: Book One
Free Minds members read March: Book One
The Free Minds Connect newsletter
The Free Minds Connect newsletter
LW writes from federal prison
LW writes from federal prison


FM members Juan and Phil with the literary journal
FM members Juan and Phil with the literary journal

As we reflect back on 2015 and cast vision for 2016, we have much to celebrate and much to continue to strive for. From seeing young men go from disengaged learners to articulate poets and celebrating their voices in our literary journal The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison, we are encouraged by the renewing power of reading and writing to change lives.


When Justice and Mercy Meet

This past month, our members have been reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Founder of Equal justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system, Stevenson writes about his work as a lawyer for people on death row in Alabama. The book details his varied experience with the criminal justice system, specifically focusing on the story of a man named Walter McMillan who spent decades on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. Though it was at times painful to read for many of our members who have experienced similar situations, they poured out accolades for Just Mercy:

“I thought it was insightful and taught me about the inequality of justice in America throughout history. I identified with the section about the children being sentenced to life in prison being as though I came in as a juvenile. Even though I wasn’t given a life sentence and got 24 years, I feel as though 24 years is more than a lifetime especially for a juvenile.

"A quote out the book that I believe is true is: ‘The power of mercy is that it belongs to the undeserving. It’s when mercy is least expected that it’s most potent, strong enough to break the cycle of victimization and victimhood, retribution and suffering. It has the power to heal the psychic harm and injuries that lead to aggression and violence, abuse of power, mass incarceration.’

"What I think this quote mean is that everybody is deserving of mercy, even those who don’t think they deserve it.”-DJ

“It’s a really intense book but I love how it keeps me wondering about a lot of things.” -LB

“Hands down, Just Mercy is a very moving book. Reading this book, I found myself moved to frustration. There were too many parts where I fully understood the pain expressed, especially the part where he was having such a peaceful moment only to be interrupted by the police pointing guns at him. This book was a sorrowful reminder of America’s problem with the minorities and poor. Just Mercy painted a vivid picture for all to see America’s corrupt legal system. Besides that, Mr. Stevenson should be congratulated for all his efforts and I can say that I admire his courage. This book is a must read and belongs in every library.” -MH

“That Just Mercy book was so uplifting in many ways.” -DW


10,000 Journals for Hope

In October, we launched our newest literary journal, The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison with a celebration and poetry reading. At the end of the night, we announced our 10,000 Journals For Hope campaign. We are committed to sharing the untold stories of incarcerated youth and the stories of hope, success, and second chances. We decided to raise funds to send 10,000 copies of our literary journal to disconnected youths in juvenile detention centers, solitary confinement, and schools across the country. Reading stories of success from youth home from prison and overcoming the odds can bring hope and inspiration to these young people.

We were overjoyed at the response to this campaign. So far, we have raised over 90% of our goal (9,000 journals), and have already started distributing the journals. Young inmates in federal prison have written to us to share their responses to the stories and poems in the journal:

"Again, thanks a lot for letting me be part of y'all family. And as far as the poems, I didn't have just one favorite and that's being honest. I really loved the book as a whole and the creativity plus the way the guys got a chance to express their inner feelings through words. Every soulja has a story to tell. So I've sent 2 of my own poems for you to check out. Until next time, thanks again." -CM

"I love our new book. I'm so proud of everyone in Free Minds. This movement is really life changing and I'm living testimony to that. That was a great idea too to have the pictures and something on the guys in the book. I also loved the fact that Charlie was the first one with that big smile. I miss that guy there. And you know if it's any way I can help, I'm all for it. A book dedicated to just a glimpse into our stories is a hit. It is only right that we get full exposure into the whole aspect of our lives instead of just a crime. One major benefit from being in the program is the positive effect the written word has so a book of our stories, good or bad is a very good read. Especially for an audience that would get a different glimpse into incarcerated youth..." - MH

“I promise … that I won't let no one ever take my voice. As long as I have a pen in my hand, I will write. I understand full now what you was trying to get me to see back when I was younger.” -AH

When writing back to our members about the literary journal, we asked what we should tell people if they were considering donating books to go inside prisons, and received these responses:

"Tell them that the contribution they made is a contribution into the future of a young man who finally figured out that he was too valuable to be forgotten." -DH

"By buying and giving the books to us, people out there are giving the hapless hope, they are making human beings who feel abandoned feel like someone still knows they are here." - RD

Though we still have a little ways to go, we can’t wait to distribute the rest of the 10,000 journals and watch the hope continue to spread among these incredible young people.


The Free Minds Newsletter: Family Edition

Our members often describe Free Minds as a family, so we decided to use that as the theme for the November/December edition of our monthly newsletter, the Free Minds Connect. Featuring a black and white collage of various family photos on the cover, the articles inside told the untold stories of family, including an adoption story, an interview with a member and his 21-year-old daughter, and an account of a mother’s journey from El Salvador to the USA 20 years ago. In addition to our regular columns, the Connect also features recent poems written by our members. One member, TSD, had this to say about seeing his poems in the newsletter:

“I have really been enjoying the poems, events and life stories of others, that you have allowed me to share in through your newsletter. Thank you. The newsletter is very informative and a great outlet for those of us, that feel voiceless and abandoned behind these walls. I am shocked and happy at the same time, right now. Why? Because I didn't know that you would be sharing my poems with others during one of your sessions. Smile. Now! I am all excited, smiling and waiting patiently, but anxiously, to see what your guest had to say about my poems. I am really pleased to hear that they liked what I wrote, because it is really hard in prison to get an honest opinion on anything that is remotely positive. Thank you again for sharing my poems with others and for making my night!“ -TSD

Our next issue of the Free Minds Connect, will focus on resolutions. Titled “I Resolve,” we have asked our members to consider why people make resolutions in the first place, and what changes they would like to make in their own lives in their entries for the newsletter. As a result, the Free Minds staff has been wrestling with the same questions, and coming up with our own goals and plans for success!

We are grateful for the opportunity to encourage each other in becoming our best selves, and to keep ourselves and each other accountable through writing and bringing these goals into reality.


Marching to the Beat of Justice

Our next Books Across the Miles (BAM!)  book will be the graphic novel March: Book One by Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. As part of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Lewis’s work alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an inspiration to our members. March is a graphic novel about the events in his life that led him to joining the Civil Rights Movement. We are looking forward to our members’ responses about this book and the pictures that tell such an important story.

As we start this new year, we can’t help but reflect on the power your generosity and support has already had in our members’ lives. We couldn’t do it without you! Thank you again for believing in the power of books and writing, and for continuing to spread hope in the darkest places.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Our newsletter, the Free Minds Connect
Our newsletter, the Free Minds Connect
March: Book One by John Lewis
March: Book One by John Lewis
Free Minds member Michael signs journals
Free Minds member Michael signs journals
Launching the Untold Story of the Real Me
Launching the Untold Story of the Real Me



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Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop

Location: Washington, DC - USA
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Project Leader:
Tara Libert
Washington, District of Columbia United States
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