Bestselling author, speaker, and award winning actor Hill Harper came to St. Luke Community U.M.C in Dallas, TX to deliver a powerful message to a crowd of teenagers and young adults. The crowd blessed indeed by Hill’s candor and “realness” as he navigated through the audience and dissected the issues faced from our brothers being disproportionately locked up and the consequences as it relates to mere choices. Letters to an Incarcerated Brother is an important addition to Hill Harper’s bestselling series, inspired by the numerous young inmates who write to him seeking guidance.
After the publication of the bestselling Letters to a Young Brother, Hill Harper began to receive an increasing number of moving letters from inmates who yearned for a connection with a successful role model. With disturbing statistics on African-American incarceration on his mind (one in six black men were incarcerated as of 2001, and one in three can now expect to go to prison some time in their lifetimes), Harper set out to address the specific needs of inmates. A powerful message from the heart, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother provides advice and inspiration in the face of despair along with encouraging words for restoring a sense of self-worth.
Dr. Henry Masters, head Pastor at St. Luke is dedicated to being a part of the solution and notes that is why “community” is prominent in the name of the church. Exposing personalities such as Hill Harper, to our local youth is precisely the type of example that he wants promote with a positive but a real yet compelling message that he wants to convey. The audience included several ex-convicts and one man who was recently been exonerated. One of the ex-cons broke it down for the youngsters. He said, “You all are only one bad choice away from your freedom being taken away.” He also spoke about the feeling of being alone and after being locked up for 30 plus years, you come out a different person. You will never be the same. The most profound thing that he said was that no matter how hard, tough a man might be, “every” man cries in prison.
Check out this excerpt from Hill’s open letter: “In our country we are not just experiencing a “mass incarceration” crisis, but actually a HYPER incarceration crisis – truly the issue of our time. Yet, it seems that no one wants to openly and honestly discuss it. This email is not simply a call to action, but also an urgent call to first, PAY ATTENTION. We cannot even think about taking action if an entire subset of our population is being locked up and forgotten. At approximately 360 million people, we are about 5 percent of the world’s population but incarcerate 25 percent of the world’s inmates.” Hill certainly gives us something to think about and if you are interested in finding out more, or you would like to send a copy of the book to an incarcerated loved one go to; http://www.incarceratedbrother.com/ Click gallery for photos of event.