Part of "Works of Justice", our series with the PEN America Prison Writing Program.
Only if he had raised his arm about an inch or two / I wouldn’t have to be telling my story to you
I can’t even teach my son how to play ball / Or pick up and run if he needs me at the drop of a call
Is this a punishment for all the wrong that I did? / Now I’ve been sentenced to this wheelchair doing a life-sentence bid
Excerpt from Just My Thoughts by LeVar Lawrence.
Ashley C. Ford hosts the launch of Open Doors' anthology Wheeling & Healing, edited by the Reality Poets. The Reality Poets invited residents of their long-term care facility, neighbors on Roosevelt Island, mentors and friends to contribute poems toward a message of realness, resilience and healing.
OPEN DOORS is an arts and justice initiative, on Roosevelt Island, based in the long-term care facility where members live and work. Collaborating with established artists, members use storytelling, hip-hop and spoken word, to challenge audiences to combat the injustice that breeds violence in our cities. OPEN DOORS returns to the NYC neighborhoods where members grew up to inform young people about the rarely considered consequences of gun violence, and to encourage them to become positive change makers. OPEN DOORS equips members with the skills and tools to manage their individual and collective art careers. Each member plays a unique role in the initiative.
Pre-order your copy of Wheeling & Healing today and have it signed by the Reality Poets at the book launch on March 11th! Please write your name along with "Book Order" in the "Add a Note" section.
The book will also be available to purchase at the event.
Ashley C. Ford lives in Brooklyn by way of Indiana. She is currently writing her memoir, Somebody's Daughter, which will be published by Flatiron Books under the imprint An Oprah Book. Ford currently hosts PROFILE by BuzzFeed News, and is the former host of Brooklyn-based news & culture TV show (and podcast!), 112BK. She is also working on a collection of interviews (B-Side Chats) with her husband, Kelly Stacy.
Presented by Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and the PEN America Prison Writing Program, "Works of Justice" is a series exploring the relationship between writing and incarceration, amplifying work by writers in prison, and presenting challenging conversations about criminal justice in the USA.