The history and heart of Sagewriters and Judith Trustone …

Richard C. Dalton, Global Kindness Revolution Community Coordinator


Dear Media & Kindness Advocates:

When I met a remarkable woman, Judith Trustone of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, I realized she’d be a great person for you to interview, as among other things, she is the founder of the Global Kindness Revolution with life-sentenced prisoners. As an antidote to violence their Kindness Cards are distributed throughout the world.

History has recorded many famous women who have made an impact on our nation and world. We know them through books that detail their lives and acts of courage. What we don’t know much about are women who have been just as impactful, just as courageous, but less known. These lesser known women have not been waving a flag or bringing attention to their work and gifts of compassion and kindness to humanity. But they deserve our attention and recognition because of their commitment, inspiring stories, and self-sacrifice to make our world a better place for us all. One such woman is Judith Trustone.

Among her many achievements are:

  • Becoming a filmmaker at age 70. Her documentaries have been shown on PBS and at universities around the country.
  • With prisoners in her former creative writing class at Graterford, Pennsylvania, prison, she established Sagewriters to give voice to the voiceless through writing, editing and publishing books of social and literary merit by the incarcerated, their families, advocates and progressive professionals.
  • Out of her work with prisoners has come the Global Kindness Revolution as an antidote to bullying, meanness and our culture of violence exemplified by Columbine, Newtown and the Boston Marathon killings.
  • You can see Judith performing her charming “granny rap” on YouTube at TrustOneKindness.

After reviewing her creative accomplishments, I’m sure you’ll agree that Judith Trustone’s work will be of great interest, delight and inspiration to your audience.

Please contact me to schedule an interview or reach out to her directly at or at 610-328-6101. Thank you for your consideration.

*Richard Dalton is an ordained Presbyterian minister who’s worked for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was designated as a “Point of Light” by President G.W. Bush. He has spoken on a variety of social and educational issues at Oxford University, the University of Passau in Germany; he has provided leadership training in Kenya, assisted in a study at Harvard, and directed Chester, Pennsylvania’s Re-entry Program. Currently Richard directs Storehouse Ministries in Dayton, Ohio, and is the Community Coordinator for the Global Kindness Revolution.

About Judith Trustone

A real National Treasure, JUDITH TRUSTONE, 75, is a woman of great courage, compassion, commitment, and kindness. One of the leading prison change and anti-violence activists in the region, many prisoners and social change activists call her “Mama Justice.”

* With a group of life-sentenced anti-violence prisoners, she founded the Global Kindness Revolution in response to our Newtown/Columbine/Boston Marathon culture of violence and addiction to guns.

* In addition to distributing 73,000 Kindness Cards across the country, Judith facilitates Community Kindness Circles for towns, organizations, anti-bullying programs and in our country’s prisons. (A Spanish version, Gracias Por Su Bondad is distributed through Restorative Justice Programs in three South American countries.)

* Her book, Celling America’s Soul: torture & transformation in our prisons and why we should care, combines personal stories of prisoners and their families from the creative writing classes she once led at Graterford and other Pennsylvania prisons. It was banned by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

* Since establishing Sagewriters with prisoners in 1999, Judith’s best-selling book has inspired more than 2,000 people in prison to write for healing, and rehabilitation, thereby increasing public safety.

* Judith’s commitment to social justice dates back half a century. In the Sixties, Judith was a key leader of the Woman’s Movement in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, out of which grew three social service agencies still providing services today. Two months before his assassination she hosted a private dinner for Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Farmer, head of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). For fourteen years, Judith was an apprentice to a Native American medicine man.

* An award-winning author, filmmaker and activist, her unique approach to social change through Writing and Healing Circles was reflected in her “Sister To Sister” program for homeless women and concerned suburban women. This is a little-known woman of grace with a compelling personality, captivating life stories, and a passionate life devoted to healing justice.;          TrustOneKindness on YouTube (granny rap)
610-328-6101 Sagewriters,   Box 215, Swarthmore, PA 19081

‘Kindness revolution’ begins with those behind bars

Date: January 15, 2014 Philadelphia Tribune – Written By: Nathaniel Lee

Author Judith Trustone of Swarthmore is the director of Sagewriters, a publishing company that publishes books with social merit by people in prison, their families and advocates. — Submitted photo

In a mean world where injustice is not uncommon, one Delaware County woman is seeking to make our planet a kinder place to live by leading a “global kindness revolution.”

Author Judith Trustone of Swarthmore, is the director of Sagewriters, a publishing company, which she said publishes books with social merit by people in prison, their families and advocates.

Sagewriters had its origins in 1999 as a result of the conversations and experiences she had with residents of Graterford prison where she facilitated a creative writing class at the time.

“At one point, four people from the class came to me and said that they were innocent,” Trustone said.

Her initial response was then one of doubt.

“I asked them to bring in their cases and show me,” she said.

And four of them did.

“The myth is that everyone in prison says they are innocent, which has not been my experience.”

After reading the cases, Trustone was convinced some of the men were indeed innocent and falsely imprisoned. She decided to reach out to lawyers, activists and others whom she thought might be able to help them get justice.

“If it was not for inept representation, prosecutorial misconduct or sidebar testimony none of the four would be behind bars and I thought it was important to get this out to the public,” she said.

Trustone says that she was no stranger to racism or human and civil rights violations occurring in the nation’s courts having been a civil rights activist for many years, but said these cases took her to another level.

“So I put together something called Sagewriters,” Trustone said.

Asked how she came up with the name, Trustone laughs that she just plucked it out of the air.

“We wanted to call ourselves Freedom Writers but there was a movie coming out at the time with the same name so we came up with Sagewriters,” she said.

The word sage, she said, means wisdom and Trustone said that the men in Graterford, as well as others in prisons across the nation, possessed a great deal of wisdom.

The result is the book “Celling America’s Soul: Torture and Transformation in our Prisons,” which is now in its second printing.

The book is a compilation of the stories of the prisoners whom she met during her time in Graterford.

Since its publication, both the book as well as Trustone herself have been barred from prisons but she continues to work with the residents through letters, phone calls and mutual contacts.

Just as her work in Graterford among prisoners led to Sagewriters, it was her work in a Philadelphia prison which led to her global kindness revolution.

During one of her sessions with the prisoners, Trustone asked that they give out little notes of appreciation expressing gratitude for little acts of kindness be those acts committed by a guard, other prison staff member or prisoner.

“I went in the next week and everyone was ecstatic,” Trustone said.

It was the members of the Lifers organization at Graterford who Trustone credits with helping her create the first kindness cards, which they then distributed.

“The kindness cards have spread like wildfire throughout the country and abroad,” she said.

Today kindness cards are printed in both English and Spanish and are distributed to several Spanish speaking countries and kindness circles, in which people get together connect spiritually with people in prison who are responsive to kindness, have been started in Swarthmore and have spread.

Trustone is now planning to produce a training DVD which would instruct viewers on how to start and facilitate their own kindness circles and hope that schools, churches and other public facilities would participate.

About The Author – Nathaniel Lee