Today our wonderful long time partners over at the JJIE (Juvenile
Justice Information Exchange), based in Kennesaw, Georgia, have picked up and posted a powerful letter/submission, that was originally published in The Beat Within, from juvenile lifer Michael Arreygue, who wrote this magnificent piece from Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, California.
He states; “All of us during our lives as children, adolescents and
eventually adults need some encouragement. As the individuals we are, we tend to learn differently, have different perspectives and take risks on different levels. For those like myself, words of
encouragement were really needed in my life to fulfill my true
potential in the activities that I engaged in.”
Recently, one of our writing prompts in our weekly workshops inside
juvenile hall and beyond was the topic, “Dear Dad.”
The topic reads: A Letter to My Dad – The letter you always wanted (or maybe never wanted) to write. Though the letter may never be seen by this person, we want you, as a writing exercise, to write that letter. Tell your father, or the one who has played the father role in your life, whatever you think they need to know. Are you happy with his role as your dad, or is there room for improvement? Maybe share a specific memory of a time you two had together, or a time you truly wish he was there for you. We bet, for better or worse, there is plenty to tell your Dad. Dear Dad…
We were so moved by the numerous responses, we thought it would be appropriate to send these thoughtful pieces to our amazing and
supportive partners over at the JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information
Exchange) in Kennesaw, Georgia, and to our friends at The Crime
Report, based in New York City. Today, both of these award winning
criminal justice websites are featuring selected pieces from The Beat Within prompt, Dear Dad.read more
As January comes to a close, our partners and friends over at the JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange) based in Kennesaw, GA, have picked up and posted a wonderful piece from the talented Mathew Edwards, who for the last couple years has been a wonderful contributor in The Beat Within writing workshops inside San Quentin State Prison. We must say, Mathew consistently writes stellar pieces about his journey and hunger for another date with freedom.
Recently we asked our writers in our weekly juvenile hall writing
workshops to reflect on the upcoming Donald Trump presidency. We were quite surprised how many different opinions were shared. Some responded with angry commentaries, poetry and rap. Another pleaded for Americans to “give him a chance,” pointing out that as “wards of the state, if no one gives us a chance to change, how can we?”
Well, right before the holidays, we sent numerous “Trump” reaction
pieces to The Crime Report, based in New York City, to consider, and
yesterday we were informed that they picked up and posted an abridged and slightly edited selection. Their selection is different that what was featured by our friends at the JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange).read more
Wow, like our friends over at the Juvenile Justice Information
Exchange, The Crime Report, based in New York City, picked up and is
featuring on their site their favorite “Dear President Obama” pieces
from The Beat Within and are featuring these standout pieces today. We
must say, they did an outstanding job with the spread on their site.
A couple months ago one of our writing prompts in our weekly writings
workshops inside juvenile hall, county jail and state prison was a
“Letter to President Obama.” We were overwhelmed by the response from
our many writers, and are so humbled that our friends at not only the
JJIE but The Crime Report picked up and is sharing these words with
their community of readers and followers.
Our prompt was written as… Letter to President Obama – This January
2017, President Barrack Obama, our first African American president,
will be leaving office. We want you to take a moment to share your
thoughts with the President. Introduce yourself and explain why you
are writing. Let him know your concerns. Offer your thoughts on a
current issue, and express your support or constructive
criticism. Share your truths about the last 8 years he has been our
commander and chief. Come from your heart and thank him for his
amazing service, or let him know your disappointment. Dear President
Like all milestones that inspire genuine pride, our self-satisfaction is accompanied by a big dose of humility, as we reflect on all the incredible writers and workshop facilitators who have poured their energy, talent, compassion, and love into this program. The Beat simply would have long since ceased to be without the courage of our participants and the dedication of scores of workshop facilitators, typists and editors who gave so much and asked for so little in return.
Now we humbly ask you to reaffirm your belief in the power of the written word to enlighten minds, elevate spirits, and liberate our most disenfranchised and ostracized citizens—incarcerated youth—from the shame and stigma of incarceration.
Fostering a culture of compassion, camaraderie, and creativity can make all the difference to children who find themselves entangled in a punitive institution that degrades and dehumanizes.read more
One of the most anticipated literary nights of the year, San Francisco’s world-famous Lit Crawl attracts close to 10,000 people, and features over 400 authors in just three hours. Lit Crawl brings literature to the streets, featuring smart and silly, worldly and wacky events in venues usual (bars, cafes, galleries, and bookstores) and unusual (police stations, tattoo parlors, barbershops, and erotica boutiques).
For 20 years, the Beat Within has been publishing the soul-stirring poetry and essays of kids locked in juvenile hall in and outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Come learn about this extraordinary program, get inspired, and learn how you can help!
Please join us to celebrate 20 years of Giving Voice to the Voiceless!
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Lit Crawl Location, Scholar Match at 849 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CAread more
This past weekend, The Crime Report, based in New York City, picked up, posted and featured our dear friend and colleague, Michael Webb’s piece, “The Little Boy Who Lost His Dream.” A wonderful piece of writing from a determined individual whose goal is to help others see a better way. This piece is also featured in this week’s issue of The Beat Within, 21.35/36.
Michael Webb is a juvenile lifer, who co-facilitates and participates
in The Beat Within’s monthly writing workshop inside San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, CA.
We cannot wait to share this news with Michael.
We are truly grateful for the partnership we have with The Crime
Report. If you personally have visited this site more than a few
times, there is a chance you may now have lost your access and are
requested to pay to view. If that is the case, we have posted the
piece, “The Little Boy Who Lost His Dream,” below.read more