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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.
It is with deep regret that I write about the tragic death of Arnulfo T. Garcia, a friend, colleague and former editor of the San Quentin News. My heart goes out to his family, especially his 17-year-old daughter. I can only imagine how she must feel having waited her entire life to reunite with her father only to lose him again. Arnulfo T. Garcia and his sister Yolanda Louise Hernandez were killed in a car accident in Hollister, California. I am most concerned with the fact that a daughter lost her father, a family lost two members in one accident, and we lost a valuable member of our community.
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.