This past Saturday, Bittersweet blogger Ibti Vincent attended Free Minds’ free screening of The Interrupters — part of the first annual Benevolent Media Festival hosted by American University. Both the film (set in Chicago) and the panel dialogue with members of local “violence interrupters”, were, in short, inspiring.
The panelists, as well as the three main protagonists of the film, spoke about the cycles of violence in their neighborhood and the critical need to break free, to empower their friends and neighbors to make better choices, to mediate rather than retaliate. (Plus, the character of “Flamo” was downright HILARIOUS. Watch the documentary and you’ll see what I’m talking about.) One thing that came up a few times during the panel discussion was the need for support and meaningful employment, critical factors for ex-offenders to be able to reintegrate into life “outside” and not slip back into their previous lives of desperation, gang violence, crime. You can read a bit more about the event here.
Want to learn more about Free Minds’ work with incarcerated youth? The Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop will be co-hosting an interactive poetry event with students from the class ‘DC as a Third World City’ at AU on the evening of November 15. For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Minds is featured in the 2011 issue of the Bittersweet Zine. Get yourself a copy today.