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Congratulations to Brothers in Pen for a fantastic book party and reading Oct. 20 at San Quentin State Prison. The work, whether fiction or poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir or dramatic lit, is stellar and the huge panel afterward, where the writers shared their creative process and the importance of art in their lives, was equally valuable and enlightening. That such beauty is possible behind bars is testament to the power of art to light darkness.
We lost Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Aug. 16 (March 25, 1942-Aug. 16, 2018). We also lost Kofi Annan (April 8, 1938, to Aug. 18, 2018), the seventh United Nations Secretary General and the first from Sub-Saharan African to lead the International organization. When we think about Black women and their navigation of public spaces, we remember the recent deaths of Nia Wilson, 18, and Jessica St. Louis, 26, who were not safe when they should have been #safehername.
“Nobody should be put out alone into this cold night,” said Benita Turner, mother of Jessica St Louis, who died after being released from Santa Rita County Jail at 1:30 a.m. on July 28. “We want to make sure that we are gathered here to remember that a woman lost her life because this institution thought it was OK to release a young woman at 1:30 in the morning,” said community organizer Sister Krea Cristina Gomez to the large crowd that gathered for the vigil.