SOOTHING & NURTURING HUMAN SPIRITS

NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD

NEWS FROM SAGEWRITERS 

by Judith Trustone

 

www.TrustOneKindness.com  TrustOneKindness on YouTube

 Box 215  Swarthmore, PA 19081  Judith@TrustOneKindness.com

Greetings. Sagewriters is expanding. Our Global Kindness Revolution, which grew out of my creative writing work in prisons, has received a fantastic response. To date, we’ve distributed over 60,000 Kindness Cards globally, mostly in prisons, partially funded by lifers at Graterford. James Bauhaus, an Oklahoma Sagewriter, has made 2500 copies of the Kindness Cards and the majority of people in that prison join us weekly for our Virtual Kindness Circle. Other people are working through prison chaplains to try to establish Kindness projects in as many prisons as possible. It seems Kindness has become an underground movement! Learn more about this powerful approach on our website.

Won’t you join in our Virtual Kindness Circle every Saturday from 4:00-4:30 pm EDT, to work toward changing the mindset of those behind bars and those who keep them there. You can learn a lot more by going to our new website – generously provided by MonkeyCMedia – www.TrustOneKindness.com, or by going to TrustOneKindness on YouTube for interviews, film clips and my granny rap. You can also read recent articles: “Why America Needs a Global Kindness Revolution” and “Confessions of a Weary Activist.”

            I’m leading Community Kindness Circles on the outside with church and community groups, schools and shelters, as well as every month in Swarthmore’s town hall. If you’d like to receive Kindness Cards to distribute, tell us how many you’d like and send a donation to Box 215, Swarthmore, PA 19081 or go to our website to order and donate. To schedule a Community Kindness Circle for your group, contact me at Judith@TrustOneKindness.com. You can also get a free download of my popular stress reduction CD, “The Chocolate Meditation and Other Delights” as well as our weekly self-assessment page from “The Practical Writing Program.”

   In addition to the 30+ books we’ve helped get published, my two documentaries are now available on one DVD. SOOTHING AND NURTURING HUMAN SPIRITS documents a workshop that I led where I taught self-healing (not religious) techniques to prisoners’ families so they could do hands-on healing with loved ones in prison visiting rooms. This can be used as a training DVD for anyone experiencing stress and overwhelm and can be useful especially with those with post-incarceration stress disorder and their loved ones whose stress is usually ignored.

         The second film, HEALING JUSTICE: A JOURNEY INTO SHADOW AMERICA, highlights the art, music and issues of those in prison and those who once were in prison, their families, and advocates. It also introduces the Kindness Cards and the Global Kindness Revolution. Both documentaries are on one DVD for $14.95 plus $4.00 p & h on the website or from Sagewriters, Box 215, Swarthmore, PA 19081.

 FREE TO PRISONERS FAMILIES WITH $4.00 p&h

OUR BOOKS:

       We have several books in progress right now, though we are not at this time able to take on any more. We have been working for years in partnership with the extraordinarily supportive Infinity Publishing. The 2nd edition has been released of Celling America’s Soul: Torture & Transformation in Our Prisons and Why We Should Care, which prisoners, advocates and families call “the best book in print that describes prison from most every perspective.” It was recommended by NPR and NAMI.

In a lighter vein, for you cat lovers out there, check out my CATS’ SECRET GUIDE TO LIVING WITH HUMANS.

        Our Inside Director, Lifer Patrick Middleton, is hard at work on his sequel to Incorrigible: a Memoir,  which is used in college criminal justice and sociology courses and has an afterword by Sister Helen Prejean.

His Healing Our Imprisoned Minds: A People’s Guide to Hope and Freedom is being used in prison treatment programs around the country. Patrick is the first prisoner in America to earn his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in a classroom setting while behind bars, 35 years so far. Until recently, he’s been successfully teaching a college preparation course for Villanova University. He is Sagewriters Co-director as well as Co-director of the Global Kindness Revolution.

A New York agent has requested a screenplay treatment for Hollywood about this remarkable man.

     In 1972, he made a plea agreement for life, which according to his lawyer, in those days was 12-24 years. In an appeal the court said he’d made a favorable plea agreement for 10-20 years; in fact he got life without parole. In his last appeal, the court agreed that the state had not kept its plea agreement but that too much time had passed which would prejudice the court against the state. Commonwealth v. Middleton, 328 Pa. Superior Court 143 (1984) His last attempt at justice was 15 years ago, with former Attorney General, Fred Speaker, as his lawyer. Tragically, the attorney died the night before the court hearing, and his files were lost. At that point, Patrick gave up on ever receiving justice. But recently, newly hopeful, he is currently hard at work on another appeal, and could use some legal as well as financial support.

         Larry “Rocky” Harris, a Sagewriters in Illinois, heads a class action suit against the Illinois DOC for forcing a soy diet on him and others, causing serious health problems. The lawsuit is supported by the internationally-respected, DC-based Weston A. Price Foundation, and more information about this can be found on their website. Larry, an innocent man whose story you can also read about on our website, is working on a book, 18 years on Death Row, about what happened with the prisoners on death row in IL when the first moratorium against the death penalty was initiated. The story of his innocence, “Betrayal” is posted on the web pages.

  The winner of Sagewriters Annual Book Contest, James J. Krivacska, Ed.D., at Avenel, NJ, is ready to release his powerful Reflections from the Jetty and Gregory X. Moore and Andre’ Jacobs have books of poetry in progress. 

  Trevor Mattis, author of Contemplations of a Convict: A Journey to Freedom When Innocence Isn’t Enuf has written an urban novel and is currently finishing another book.

HOLISTIC, HEALING APPROACH TO RE-ENTRY

We are working closely with advocate, Gale Muhammad, and her prisoners’ families support organization, the NJ-based Women Who Never Give Up, on a holistic, healing  approach to re-entry, which Attorney General Eric Holder has announced has to be the focus in the future as he acknowledges something we all know: Prisons don’t work. Our fresh approach encompasses all those involved: prisoners, families, community groups and health care providers. We are developing tools to document effectiveness with Patrick Middleton and other researchers. After working in re-entry for 17 years, I believe this new paradigm promises stronger successes. We’ve had a front-row seat to the challenges. One of our former editors, Cameron (Murray) Holmes is now leading re-entry programs for the PA Prison Society. Anthony Oliver is maintaining our website in addition to his work with the PA Institutional Law Project and the PA Prison Society. William Jackson loves his job working at the St. John’s Hospice, and David Bannister completed his degree at Villanova and is active in AA. Wakeel Morrison is counseling at a women’s halfway house, and unfortunately Michael Forrest and Lynwood Ray are back behind bars but working on Kindness projects. Lynwood, a gifted artist, needs art supplies as they have discontinued art programs at SCI Cresson. At his sentencing, which he is appealing, the judge held up his art and told him to “keep developing your rare gift.”  Send us your donations and we’ll forward them to him. Gregory X Moore, whose book of poetry is in process,  is awaiting release on parole; his group at Frackville raised $200 for Sagewriters last year. Gifts from the incarcerated and their families are especially appreciated.

WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON NEXT

Depending on funding, there are a couple of new documentary films I’d like to make. One involves highlighting the cases of ten people who were falsely imprisoned during the 39th District police corruption case from years ago; their cases have never been reviewed. The other film I want to make is of a Kindness Circle, to inspire others and show them how to do it.

  Our editorial assistant, artist Morgan Maze, will soon be offering her work, including pet portraits and paintings of homes. Other artists Lynwood Ray, Luis “Suave” Gonzales, and art teacher and glass artist, Eric Jennings, will also be represented in our website’s Artists’ Gallery (in progress). Suave generously donated paintings as a fund raiser for our art exhibit at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center. We also appreciate ongoing support from artist Lifer Darrell Van Mastrigt, editor of Innocence Denied who has his own website .

HOW TO GET INVOLVED 

     Needless to say, like most non-profits, we could surely use financial support. You can make a tax-deductible gift on our website. We need patrons, volunteers and advocates as well as those with foundation and other funding connections. You can help by setting up screenings and discussions of our films, book signings, getting involved in our Kindness projects, or perhaps volunteering to help with writers in prison—transcribing their work onto a CD, editing, doing internet research, assisting them in their pursuits of justice. We’re also looking for someone who does crafts, as we have a couple of Kindness products we’d like to develop.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this. Let us know what you think of the new website and if you’d like to be included in our links section (under construction) We look forward to your response and participation. Be in Beauty,

Judith Trustone

The following came in a letter from Michael Forrest who is currently at SCI Forest:

Judith,

While working on some legal appeals and unable to get to the law library from the hole, on Saturday at 4:00 pm, I felt the zap of the Light of Kindness and was suddenly able to recall the important information that I needed without outside resources: a remarkable occurrence. It was as if this information was pulled, along with an abundance of Kindness and gentleness, from deep within me. Spreading this Kindness that I have found has also brought about in me a capacity for peace, clear vision, and the predisposition for joy in myself and others. Judith, you have profoundly tapped into the cosmic, karmic, and aesthetic power keg with the Kindness Revolution.

Michael Forrest

From The Swarthmorean, November 27, 2009 :

Kids joined Kindness Circle, To the editor:

  What an uplifting experience the Kindness Circle was at Swarthmore Borough Hall last Friday Night. The presence of two children in the circle certainly added a dimension that was unexpected. Their openness and friendliness was a lesson that we all could emulate. As someone in the group said “The children got exactly what the Kindness Movement is all about.” I look forward to the next circle and hope that more of the good people of Swarthmore will join us.

Theresa Connors

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