Today at STEP, the black box was a glorious mess of students eating, listening to music, and editing the poems of incarcerated men. Writing poems is probably one of the last things you’d think men in jail do, but they do, and Free Minds is an organization that encourages it. This Friday, February 23, Commonground combined with the Human Rights Club to host Wilson’s first Write Lunch with Free Minds, an opportunity for students to read and edit the poetry of incarcerated men.
The idea first came to Wilson when Commonground leader Addie Alexander attended a Write Night, also hosted by Free Minds. “We were talking about mass incarceration and how to take action at Wilson, and I thought this would be a great thing to get people engaged, instead of just sitting and having a conversation, we’re actually doing something and impacting people,” Alexander, who is a junior, explained. “We always hear about this world, we always hear about people that are incarcerated, usually not for the best of reasons or they’re serving more time than they should, but we never really talk to them… . I hope that people can understand that this isn’t just something on the media, people are actually living this really harsh reality.”
“That we can share positivity to them is so touching to me. I think we should have more of this stuff in the school,” said Morgane Adam, a junior who attended the lunch.
Senior Medgar Webster felt similarly. “John’s poem was very nice. It was very nice, it was about his mother. I’m a mama’s boy myself, so I found it relatable,” he said. “It helps them write more poems and feel like they actually matter to people outside the jail.”
If you missed the first Write Lunch, keep an eye out for posters announcing future events, and be sure to go to Commonground meetings, Fridays at Step in 317, and Human Rights Club Meetings, Thursdays at Step in room A302. •