HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. – They met halfway between their heartaches, in a bar by a river near the Chesapeake Bay, two fathers and a mother bound together by death but determined to rise above it.
It would be wrong to say Aquil Bickerstaff was destined to end up dead or in prison. But like all black men of his generation, the odds were stacked against him. When he was born in 1985, to a working-class family in North Philadelphia, he entered a world that was becoming increasingly hostile to him.
Charles Thornton was a popular point guard at H.D. Woodson Senior High School, a nine-story concrete building in northeast Washington, D.C., which soon after opening acquired the nickname “Tower of Power.” It was the late 1970s, and this quick-moving kid who played for the youngest school in the District was ranked as an All-Metropolitan player, and among the top 100 in the country.
By the time Ricky Staub was 24 years old, he was living the Hollywood dream. Just a few years out of college, he was an assistant producer for Sam Mercer, who co-produced most of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, including The Sixth Sense. In 2007, Staub was with Mercer in Philadelphia, working with Shyamalan on The Last Airbender.
The following video shares stories collected at the RELEASE: Town Hall for Gender Justice and Mass Incarceration on Wednesday March 25, 2015.
Leeway Foundation and Bread & Roses Community Fund present RELEASE, an exhibition and program series that explores the intersection of gender justice and mass incarceration. On view from February 26 to June 30, RELEASE provides shared spaces for women, transgender, and gender non-conforming survivors of the prison industrial complex, as well as local artists, cultural producers, and activists to critically reflect and build power for change.
For more information on the exhibit and programming, please visit: leeway.org
Monday, the House could vote to ban some drug felons from public benefits for life. You should care. Here’s why. (Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from a Citified insider.) If you’ve never been to prison, it can be easy to dismiss the plight of those who have.