Writing Our Way Out – Season 2

S2 – E10: Bootstraps
When Terence got out of prison, he got a job with a powerwash company. It was temporary, but it was a start. The next job was ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. That was seasonal. His best job was in parks and rec with the City of Richmond. It lasted for more than a few years until the City switched contractors and the new corporation cut jobs. Terence kept scrambling for stability, decent wages, benefits, and room for advancement. No one had to tell him to pull himself up by his bootstraps and find a job. But where are the good jobs for people willing to work?

S2 – E9: Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?
Structural racism is built into America. America could not have been built without slavery. And after slavery, structural racism has haunted American history, leading to the mass incarceration of African-Americans. With these facts before us, who’s afraid of critical race theory, the scholarly lens for analyzing structural racism in America? 

S2 – E8: The Problem with Guns
Some people love their guns. Guns mean hunting, protection, freedom, and even identity. Other people fear guns and want more regulation to protect themselves from people with guns. Like so many things in America, we don’t agree about gun policy, but we do know that guns kill. Is there any way that we as a country can put down the gun? 

S2 – E7: Don’t Shoot!
When Mohammad Taib first faced a man with a gun in his convenience store, he pleaded, “Don’t shoot.” He got shot but survived.

Years later, he was shot again and died, leaving his family in pain and his daughter Zain searching for healing. But how? How do the victims of crime move beyond the tragedy that they know into a narrative they can control.

S2 – E6: Warriors or Guardians?
After Michael Brown, a Black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama created a Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Its central theme: Police should be guardians not warriors.

Five years after that report came out, George Floyd, another Black man, was killed by another white police officer, Derek Chauvin, in another city, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Too many other men and women, boys and girls, died in between. Too many to list here. Is it possible to retire the warrior officer? What would it take to create a force of guardians?

S2 – E5: Locked Up
After you get caught by the police, you get locked up. Right or wrong, guilty or not, you go to jail. There, you have to figure out how to live with all of these other people and the ones in charge, the ones keeping you locked up. Is that possible? What do you do to keep the peace?

What can the ones in charge do?

S2 – E4: The End of An Eye for an Eye
Virginia once led the nation in the death penalty. Recently, that ended. How did a southern state that was once a leader in executions become, a leader to end it? And where do we go from here?

What happens to the ethical and political dilemmas for and against the death penalty?

S2 – E3: Trust the Truth
When Tony Martin was freed from prison, he was not the same person. He had surrendered to Christ, written courageously about his life, and in these ways figured out the secret to lasting change. You have to trust the truth. He was blessed to see that vision come true in his new life. He died from natural causes at home and at peace in February of 2021.

In this episode, we remember his story, his spirit, and his secret for lasting change.

S2 – E2: Why Black History Matters
In this tribute to Black history month, we take a literary journey into the ways race consciousness emerges in our everyday lives.

What can these moments teach us about our collective history and future life in America?

S2 – E1: Marijuana and the Man 
While Dean and Kelvin were being incarcerated for marijuana in Virginia, it became legal in other states.

Now, the Commonwealth is poised to legalize it, will they get it right? Or will Black people still struggle for freedom and justice as they did before?