After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests against police brutality in Richmond targeted the monuments to the Confederacy. Most were spray-painted with anti-racist messages. Some were toppled. And others were officially removed, drawing large and diverse crowds eager to be set free from the prison of white supremacy. What will happen next? Will this challenge to the public narrative about the past change racial injustice we face in the present?
When Kelvin Belton was just a kid discovering his talent for basketball, he wanted to go to the NBA. But no one in his world even knew how to get him into college. They knew how to sell drugs, so Kelvin watched and learned from them instead. And he excelled at that game. Calvin Duncan faced similar personal struggles when he was young and discovering his talent for basketball. But he did get to college–to VCU, earning a place in VCU Basketball Hall of Fame, and a draft pick for the Chicago Bulls. What made it possible for Calvin to succeed in the game? What can we do to help the young Kelvins and young Calvins of today learn how to make it in life?
What does it mean to have good character? When Owen learned that his brother, Mikey, had overdosed on heroin and was in the hospital, he blamed himself for being the one who first got Mikey high. And he beat himself up for the time in his life when he was getting high. Then he remembered what he did to stop using and what he needed to do to help Mikey.
How do you plot the kind of change that can really stick? When Robb discovered booze as a 12-year old, all of his problems went away: the abandonment by his mother, the anxiety about his racial identity, the relentless physical abuse from his father. Years later, he hit his rock bottom. That’s when everything changed.
How do you deal with troubling memories while living in the moment and building for the future? After being sexually abused by older boys, Ronald learned how to use sex to manipulate older boys, and after watching the grown-ups abuse substances, he learned how to get high, too. Eventually, he learned how to see another version of himself.
In the third episode of Writing Our Way Out – The Podcast, we follow Dean through the beatings he received as a child to see how they led him into the criminal justice system.
If you are stuck in a prison of the mind, I feel like I know you and might even be able to help you.
On this episode, we look at our childhoods and upbringings, our earliest experiences, and how our early backgrounds shaped our adult lives.
On this episode, we ask what happens when African-American children first encounter the reality of racism. What do they do with it? How do they process it? Can their encounters with racism influence their behavior? Could it even influence the turn to crime?
On this episode, we preview how the show works and what to expect from Writing Our Way Out: The Podcast.