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tv   Donna Hylton A Little Piece of Light  CSPAN  July 4, 2018 7:32pm-9:02pm EDT

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want another book you can ask the staff. thank you for joining us. we hope to see you again. [inaudible] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible [inaudible conversations]
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good evening and welcome to community book store. i'm the co-owner and event director here, tonight we are pleased to host donna hylton, author of little piece of light, memoir of hope. tonight don nice going read for us a little bit and will talk about her book, and then she is going leave plenty of time to talk with all of you and take questions from the audience. don in hylton is a women's rights activist, criminal justice reform advocate and accomplished public speaker. after he release from prison she founded from life tolight that helps women re-enter society after incarceration. she was in brooklyn and we're proud to have her here tonight. please help me welcome donna. [applause] >> i think it helps i'm from
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brooklyn, right? good evening. thank you -- >> don't say that. >> i just want to say, thank you all for coming out. it's really -- means a los to me you would take your time out to come on a -- this is wednesday? -- wednesday evening at this time. it really means a lot and i thank you. so i would just speaking with stephanie, and i tell her, you know, don't go into anything scripted because i feel like i want to come from the heart and in my truth. also like to go off of who i'm in front of. so i like to engage with people as i speak. actually in such an intimate space and this is very intimate and so i welcome you to even before i read anything from my book, to give it some context, ifing that u there's anything that wanted to say to me or ask
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me in this moment issue welcome that. you don't have to wait. that's sometime woe have the thoughts when we come into a space so feel free if you have anything to say. >> donna, want to thank you for coming up, and -- [inaudible] -- provide a lot of inspiration and hope, and we can fight back but what is going on. [inaudible] >> thank you so much. it was my pleasure to go up and speak and >> it was my pleasure. i hope we continue to do that. i think we don't recognize in our own backyard what's happening. this is a prime example demographically where it fits. it is considered one of the
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worst areas and those are targeted blocks. i would assume everyone knows that but they are targeted blocks within our city and state. south bronx is one of the prime, the majority of people in our city jails are from the south bronx. it says a lot that barge in that ship that has become a jail it is right there. it says a lot. sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us. those invisible boundaries but they are not so invisible with where we look. when i came to this country -- thank you for that. anything else?
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>> my name is nancy. many times of my business where we have had that hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and i'm that to have had the opportunity to make it i'm so proud. >> thank you. there's a lot of family in this room. anyone else? so, the book is my truth. finally my truth. there has been so many things that have been set for me, but
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it was never me. so, i had the opportunity and was fortunate to be able to write my truth. i have to acknowledge right now that my publisher. so, one of my publishing teams is in the room. i want to thank them for seeing me as opposed to seeing a number, crime or whatever stories have been told. so they wanted to help me elevate my voice which is our voice even louder. even before i got to that point i give a special thank you to dan pearson who is in the room. i would not be sitting here doing this with a book if it was
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not for dan pearson. he saw the vision. one thing he saw to me when i first met him was that for him being a man and entertainment it is really telling where all the stories about where women are written in code by men. you started watching and listening to me. and then when my mother was a life we had that conversation with her and he started really paying attention and saying something is wrong here. and so he believed in it that strongly when he said the platform needs to be bigger so women have their own voice and tell their own story. so thank you for that. i am going to read a little bed from the first chapter of the book to give you a context of who that little girl, the journey of what happened.
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join me as i take you to jamaica. what started as a 3-year-old. the first chapter is called the prisoner of watson avenue. i was three years old, barefoot against the chilled concrete floor in the back of the pub on williams street in my birthplace in jamaica. surrounded by blue lagoon, white sand beaches, waterfall, and caves. wafting in from the street vendor outside was the aroma of roasted meat wrapped inside of the banana leaves. stomach growled for hunger for something to eat. my heart year and with hunger for attention. she was suddenly aware me as she and her sister discussed some business in the pub. my mommy picks me up and squeezes me closely to her.
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i love you so much. i put my tiny fingers across the shoulders feel the way her son held the suns heat. at once, she released me towards the ceiling. the next second, i felt my mother's hand brace around my body. again, she lost me to the air. this time, i giggled with the thrill of it. a third time she swung me high and i flew like a bird with my arms outstretched towards heaven, squealing in laughter. when i looked down for the safety of her arms, our eyes met. within an instant it struck me that her hands were no longer in the air. anticipating my return. i plummeted to the ground.
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my head smacking the concrete floor. even now, 50 years later, the sheer shock of it stuns me. after a moment of numbness followed by confusion and fuzzy disorientation, the sensation said in, making it certain that my mommy let me fall. i screamed in pain. i screamed, what's wrong with you. my auntie scolded my mother. an argument erupted while i lay face down crying, craving loving hands to pick me up and make it utter. this is my earliest memory. all of these years later my heart sinks to remember it. it remains a moment that symbolizes the first 20 years of my life. adult hands harming me instead of protecting me.
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a touch that i should have been able to trust but i cannot. williams street was two blocks from the water and local hangout for those wanting to make a few dollars from the tourists. it was an area known from laid-back spirit and tropical fruit, flowers, butterflies, and birds. when i chased the mango hummingbirds into the fields they showed me how to suck the nectar from the honeysuckle morning glory. fast and graceful, boundless and free, it means magic to me. my mother also believes in magic, but her fascination was different than mine. she was a devoted he of the taboo practice of the west indies. it is very similar you heard of
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voodoo, it's really the same thing. different islands called different things. i did not want to go into the technical details. there is a difference but it is religiously based. it was a practice that was created and i said in the book when the slaves in jamaica were trying to keep the slaveowners and those protected. before it has been outlawed in the 1700s some believed it was a way to transmit harm to the slave masters. they performed witchcraft and sacrificed animals in public places. some, like my mother also use their children as real-life voodoo dolls.
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i was or shortly after jamaica gained independence from great britain in 1962. with that transition came up evil, a lack of systems and centuries worth of hurt. at that time, some laws in jamaica were not being enforced. systems were not very precise when it came to reporting birth or administering birth certificates. especially not for a mother like mine who once told me i was born on october 29, 1964 inside a cave. i am more inclined to believe apart about the cave than i am to believe a specific date of birth. only when i grew older and more attached did i realize i wish i had had enough time with her to ask who my father was, why my skin was so much lighter than most of the people around me, or
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more about where i belonged in general. back then in jamaica or anywhere there also weren't insights or clear diagnoses for the problems my mother suffered. today we understand that her mood swings and tenderness that turned to indifference in a split second were due to mental illness or personality disorder, possibly bipolar. i feel that is what she had. one minute she was bright-eyed and charismatic and the next on monster, ducking me in scalding water lashing me with the telephone wire that she found on the side of the road after storing snapped it to the ground. it was routine for her to cut me with the knife. show that she yelled. you are on clean.
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sometimes after she finished hurting me she would soothe herself with deep breaths, then pull me close to hug me. i am sorry she would say. my baby, i am sorry. i would melt in her embrace longing to be hell. whether she was holding me closer harming me, there is no explanation for her reaction. i simply nestle closely to her kindness when it was available and obeyed her when it wasn't. she was my mother. as a child, i needed her. she was beautiful and passiona passionate, and over and over i found it easy to forgive her. on some level, even then i understood she love me the best she could. a child who never knows what will happen next will find some way, anyway to fleet the moment
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of trauma and pain. i remember sitting in the corner of the cave when they would hold their rituals by firelight. i would climb onto the stone table has their costumes and headstones. i kept my eyes on the glow of the fire. focusing on this. i was thinking asleep and my heirs became cushion or protection from the sound. as my mother and leader fell deep their eyes closed and voices hushed. i too began to disappear. in my mind i began to rise up out of my body and look down on myself so that i was no longer
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feeling my experience from the inside but observing it from the outside. i wanted to be out in the sunlight chasing the butterfly. by the time i was four years old i had become my only way of emotionally surviving my dangerous childhood. early on i devised a way to escape my mother's car as soon as i could walk i learned to run, fast. i would run from home into the streets. always the same bare feet looking for a safe place. because my mother often was not home, i would wander by myself searching for some companion. townspeople would allow me to duck inside the offices to hide from my reaching mother what she made scenes in the street. to protect myself from
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loneliness, i created an imaginary friend, michael. he would loyally run with me to the shore. at the age of six i was offered a real escape. my mother introduced me to a childless couple from new york. mother asked when chum explained that both of them came from great status. he was know to bring little girls to the united states with the possibility of dreams and a good education. when i met them, they exchanged a glance told me about a happy, magical place with parks, rides, cotton candy. i did not know it cotton candy was but it sounded good. we just came from disneyland she said. her skin was cocoa color and she were blue silk pants that landed smartly above the ankle and a matching blouse, button straight to the top with care carefully
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kept sleeves. everything was slim and direct. would you like to travel there with a sunday? i lowered my chin timid about going anywhere with two grown-ups i did not know. i look to my mother only to find amusement in her eyes that seemed to urge me forward, which she becoming too? for another moment i stayed silent, do you know what disneyland is? her eyes were see through shade of brown. in exchange that would later be rare between us. it's a magical place for children. >> magic? she said this is something i would be silly to miss. standing in the clarity of the sun we brought into her about magic.
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we would fly through the placement of promises and dreams. before long my childhood would turn into a nightmare impossible to escape, no matter how hard i would run. i will end it there. [applause] >> this is my cousin, kelly. i don't know anything about my father's family. i found my cousin on ancestry dna. it works. i don't know anything about my father, my father's family, nothing. i have no name. i thought i had a name, i wrote
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that in the book as well. i was brought up believing the man who was around me sometimes in jamaica i had little respites was my father, but that turned out not to be true. the blood did not trace that way. so, i found my cousin or one of them. i found a lot. i must say, there is a lot more white family members then they are african or black family members. one thing i came to recognize doing that was that, africans lost a lot when they were brought and captured enslaved and taken away from their homes and brought to a country with the culture and religion in their very soul and spirit was taken from them. so we cannot trace anything
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back. but i did find family, for that, i am thankful. there is a little piece of light everywhere. so, i read this first part at the end of the first chapter but when i was brought back the book is based on my memory, what i remember as a child the joys of it in the pains of it. i had to do a lot of amazing what happens when you live in trauma, you forget a lot. or things are lumped together. one year that was another year and then even the main disneyland i thought was disney world and then they said it wasn't created until i came to
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this country. i learned a lot but it's amazing what i learned was that the trauma that we go through their different forms of trauma based on abuse. it happens. our bodies and minds protect us. . . painful. i still have some marks but they don't hurt today. they don't hurt. and my mind, right, gets -- just like when i was released after 27 years of being in prison issue had absolutely no clue, right? of released after 27 years of being in prison, i had absolutely no clue of what anything, i didn't know where i was but i was getting from the apollo like where is it. was looking harder and harder across the street. so, i was looking for these things thatst didn't exist thats
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what you hold onto. for me my mind was stripped of whatever knowledge that i had, that i didn't learn anything much about this country and then i went away for quite some time.. with that, i don't want anybody to be sad. it's really good. so ask you to just talk to me. i would like to bring some light backck into you because i feel u and i thank you. . i never got the opportunity to see her again. my natural mother died decembe december 2014 after the mother of my heart sister mary died
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november 2014. >> how did the impact you. >> it bothers me. hdidn't really say much of it bothers me. going for my healing and understanding human condition and human behavior and seeing my thown self, i recognize my mothr had a problem. she was mentally ill and all the other stories to hear her reaching out and finding family members that are still here on her side, she has some issues and it sounded like she was bipolar. she wasd my mother and i knew hr so i was brought this country, i was like seven and a half, close to being eight and i knew my mother. we don't think about it when you adopt a child or you take a child from the home, a child, by the time their six or seven,
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they know. when you takey them away and you don't bring them back, i didn't realize how much that damage did as well. even though she wasn't the greatest of mothers and she was still my mother. i didn't know these people. i'm still waiting to go to disneyland. i haven't beensasa there yet. the little girls, i didn't know, i didn't i thought things happened around me that you don't really understand when your child. we expect so much from children. kids are kids, children are children. we see what's happening, we look at the news and hurts my heart where our black and brown children are labeled adults,
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grown men, grown womensh other than a child is going through something. we do bad things, yes we do, but a child should be seen as a child and we don't do that. we are really bad we don't treat a child the way a child should be treated so i really stressed that, pay more attention. when i came to this country, thankfully had some brains, i was kind of smart, my adoptive mother was a mentor. they are the smartest people on the planet and she was one. she was brilliant. she wanted me too be just like her, but i wasn't a natural
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child but thankfully i have some smarts so school i was very bright. i was like at the top. i had one of the highest sholarships, but at home and being good wise and so didn't work out. i had no social skills credit was smart and books but my smarts was used against me. i had no social skills that i learned those in prison in a very abnormal place. i learn social skills by way of trying to protect myself in that place because when you're in an environment like that you do what you have to do to survive. i have to say and met some of the most amazing people in my life so when i wrote this book i wrote it with them in mind
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because we forget about people. we hear a story, were told the narrative and we believe it quickly and we never get to know the person. 1 of the women who raised me for those 27 years that i first met when i was in solitary confinement was judy clark. judy became like a mother to me. she became a mentor, a sister, she was one of the most amazing and brilliant women that i've ever s come across and yes she s involved in something horrible, she was, she knows it but we sometimes livefs our life in our belief and sometimes they steer us wrong and sometimes they steer us right. we don't know. we just go by how we think. does that really make a monsters and bad people or does it just make of people that make mistakes and can we ever forgive
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a mistake so i wrote this book and i have judy in their because i saw the humanity and judy. i saw the woman in the mother. we were talking about our kids through the wall in solitary. we talked about amy fisher. she was a teenager purchase 16 years old and everyone vilified her and talked about her like she was thehe worst thing that ever existed. 16 years old in a relationship with a 40-year-old married man, what's wrong with that, no one ever saw any fisher for who she is, a young girl, 16 years old. she did something wrong but why? how did she get there? people have been talking about her. she may not be the best of people, but she's not the worst of people. she's just a human being she was a little girl with a 40-year-old man and no one blamed the man,
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the married man no one, to this day paraguay? pam is mark. i talk about pam. she's smart that a narrative have been scripted that you don't even pam said she was tried by the media before she did have an opportunity. her case was on the radio and tv and people were voting about guilt or innocence. how could she possibly had anything fair and just and equitable happen for her to mark how? i'm not saying that people inside prisons and jails that have done something bad. i take responsibility for getting as far as i did. the rest was out of my control. but there are a lot of people
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like this. we do bad things but at what point do we save this person should be but that again, let's read elizabeth. and then let's figure out where we went wrong or what we didn't do, how we didn't help that child what do we not do. the teacher i went to what is 12 years old who along with my mother's's story because she happened to be one of new york state directors for mental health. she worked right next door to the governor. she knew the language. she knew the stories. we know when people are being hurt but we don't do anything but we want.fingers and say they
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deserve it but we don't look into the story behind the story. people in this room i've done time with or were actually my caregivers. others in this room have also gone through the same thing were always fighting and struggling. we are human beings. we want you to see us. some people need a timeout for very long time. that is true.he but usually it's because of mental health or something so when we give people those long life timeouts, how we treat the people? do we not do anything? we just leave them and put them in a worse state?
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should we just strip them of their humanity because they did something really horrible and that makes us better? you did something bad, you killed someone so i'm just going to kill you too by ignoring you, all those things that you're born with. if you're hungry what is your instinct what are you going to do if you don't have the money to buy it? you can take it and steal it and do whatever you can to eat. we need. [inaudible] i don't want to keep going to that.
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people don't ever talk about accountability but we do. i do. i might not have killed anybody because i didn't, i didn't murder anyone or kidnap them but i did witness a black male demon that brought me right to the point of no return because i had no control. i became a victim as many people that have that same story. you never know what a person is going through. even if that happens, when we look at a person as a human being? we need to see the humanity and each other. people say i see too much good in people. rather see good.
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i hear too much of the other stuff. been through too much of the other stuff so i choose this. [applause] >> thank you for finding the compassion for yourself. how do you talk to other people about that for themselves. >> it was a struggle. i was having nightmares when i was arrested and i was placed in solitary. i was allowed around anyone like six months. i had to get past those things. actually, part of the book that really gets into it, i'm in solitary confinement and i'm sentencedre to three years and
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there was nowhere else to go. 3 years of solitary. confinement. i didn't do three years but i was sentenced to it. and that's where i started. it was devoid of any makeup, not that there's any makeup in prison, or anything else. does this aluminum thing we call a mirror that has a little reflection and it and i started there. i couldn't understand how i even got there. that was not my trajectory. i don't think criminally, whatever that even means. i just really want to figure out how to live and how to survive. i was trying to take care of her daughter that is a product of
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rape. no one would help me. ice was a kid. ii was trying to understand it. give me a book and i would say a set. give me the streets, i didn't get it. i owned a lot of that when we are hurt and abused to we own it. we don't even realize we own it. we take on the predators behavior and we feel like it's our fault and i have to forgive myself. for thing anyone had ever done to me, i owned it. i started with mr. v and i put him there, his humanity and i had to face that. it's possible, i promise you when i have no hate, no malice,
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i feel nothing toward anyone. they just don't understand why i'm like this but i just don't. what's the point that i wouldn't be here talking too. i would've written a book. you when the believed in my story. a lot of people talk about forgiveness and whatever their religion is but it's a strong factor in religion but do we really forgive? the first person we have to forgive is ourselves and the rest comes easy. >> kthank you for creating the space to put your thoughts down, put this on paper him up at this
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on the books to share with the rest of the world. like you i'm formerly incarcerated, got locked up at an early age and within a dysfunctional environment. but also, i realize, what i realize that kind of segues into my statement which is i believe that if anybody been through some stuff you've been in prison or not, i call it the cycle of abuse. identify that at six years old, being alone and angry and sad and i realize that i made a decision at six years old to rebel against everything my parents were instilling in me. from six until 19 when i finally got arrested and incarcerated for the first time facing the
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death penalty, i was out of control much for acceptance and love t. our current punishment system which is not broken and working perfectly fine according to the white man who built it many moons ago is built on racism and built to tear you down and bill and i view and not give you any dignity. i also believe there's a need for public safety. for my shift and change came when i started seeking therapeutic programs and identifying where my cycle of abuse began. that program ended years ago and
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was the only one that existed in the state. we want to lock people up and throw away the key.k when people read your book and people are impacted, what do you want them to take away from your book. >> the biggest thing is. i hope people don't think what happened to me and what happened to us is synonymous to just us. it could be anybody, anytime, anywhere. that's why when you get into a
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car with a friend and become an accessory, you never know what's going to happen. abuse, violence, these cycles of abuse and these malfunctions that we have are not synonymous just one group of people or one gender of people, we are human beings, it can happen to anyone so i would like for people to recognize the humanity in us. i've been able to humanize us in my story because no one's ever done this. they see you as a number. that's all people have known, 'rat all people knew about us but we are more than that. so what is the guy take you to say that w we know who this pern is. why don't you want to know why am? why do you want to vilify me? why do you want to kill me and think it's okay for you to want to kill me but if i do something
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like that i am a monster. something is wrong there. look past color and all that stuff. r,ere's a time long ago that there's no such thing as color, race. there really wasn't. no such thing. we were all tribes. erhave the clutch my person i watch it when i'm walking with him and i think the publisher.
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it wouldn't even matter. c when he pulled out his card and it says what it says i'm like oh, i watched him walk into places and people like this and they don't want to talk to him or do anything or recognize him like why are you here, you're offensive to me but he pulled out his card and tell you exactly who he is. now he's not offensive anymore. whatever that was that pain is gone? something is wrong and so we do that and that's why we have brothers like roy and we don't recognize that.
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obviously he was saying there's a pattern of behavior that came about from six years old until he was arrested but no one paid attention, no one cares and it even happens within our own homes. sometimes we are our worst. families can be the worst sometime. i didn't have blood family. nancy has been my sister for i don't know how long. she will remain my sister. she was there for me and made sure i ate, she made sure i was close when nobody else was doing that. >> can you explain, people have a misconception that you eat very well in prison. explain to me why does anyone
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believe that? you get these meals and you have a television and so forth, explain to me the phone calls, explain motor vehicle to me. this is christine, i heard you so let me respond to that. we don't eat well, let me explain to you that the food that we get is not even third grade. i think it's like seventh grade. that means the meat comes g with
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green, now there's a process that's called cook chill so by the time itev gets to us wherevr we are in our respective facilities, prisons, it's cooked three or four times and chilled like ten times after it's been, i don't know what it is, all that processing so phone calls, dan heard the so three times a day, we have an account now, it's creepy but let's say at 530 in the morning and so there's a standing count and around 630 or seven the doors open and it
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depends on the job you have, without breakfast. lunch is 12 and dinner is 4:35 o'clock. what did i say the next count was? 5 was the last meal, not even five, seven the 7 next morning o that's like 12 hours if you even eat. they don't evenid feed you. so we have pregnant women and we have people who are diabetic, people have issues that need to eat. could you imagine going 12 hours or more without eating when i tell you not even the bread you tuld eat because it probably green or moldy or hard to begin with. you can even save it to eat, you had to pick on it like a mouse or rat or whatever. phone calls, were told when to
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make a call and for how long. arts phone calls are cut off and the machine is listening to the phone call and so it just clicks you write off in a well you've lost the calling you probably can't get it back because you had a sign up so you don't know where your child is or your mother or your father, you don't know anything. for the families, the phone calls, we've been arguing this for so long, when i tell you the women's visiting room is so empty but you'll see a grandmother or someone in prison and she is living off her disability or whatever so there's no money there so the
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cost o is to get to the prison r bring up some food and to put on the books ofng that person that she's seeing maybe and that's it, sometimes there's no rent and a person will go without rent for the person they're looking out for inside prison will be able to eat. it's exorbitant. right now the cost, i'm not even sure. they changed it right now. >> the reason the phone call is a expensive, it's only a couple cents a minute. there's always a service fee. that's where their gouging. it used to be a lot. used to be a dollar something a minute but for the last eight years there's only a couple cents a minute but you have to put money in your account and most people don't have money so
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if you put five dollars on your account and there's a ten dollars fee then you're only getting five dollars and phone calls that you put a hundred dollars and you're still so the collect call itself like 30 minutes is a 30 minute call and 90 cents and there's a service fee on top of that and then there's a service he uncovered that. there was y y a time when it was over a dollar minute. i have to say this to, we found out is that there's a lot of people who don't even have a card, like the credit card, they have to find a way to get those prepaid and it's just the truth. i've learned about credit. a they took me to the wrong account when i ended up spending
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$40. that was in the account and then i try to get my $40 back and they told me know but then i told him i would take it up with my credit card companies of course i could get it back but there ripping off people. >> ahead one is about people who are in prison and people who are outside and how people react to them. at my age the likelihood of my going to prison is not great. the police came after me i would probably have a heart attack and drop dead. what i wonder is those of us who are here and listening you want to make some kind of change, where should we be putting our efforts. is it more important for us to go back and say to the people that we deal with, listen we
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need to have prison reform which we know? >> number one, this is just a broad explanation or blanket statement, we like to focus on language first because the only way to humanize anyone is to first deal with the person as a person. t don't really take well with the word offender or convict or ex-con or prisoner or whatever. we like to say formerly incarcerated and incarcerated person or women or whatever and so we don't recognize that we say something so much that we see it fit into the labeling of that word and what it means so we tried to start with that. that's one thing. i have to be honest right now,
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ma'am, i doubt very seriously you would even have a problem. you're an older woman, very beautiful older woman but you're also white. >> i realize that. >> no, i know you're saying that, but i want to be very-- clear that we have to recognize what is going on and what the real issues are. the majority of our prisons and jails are filled with black and brown people and the white people who are going in now are because they don't have the money. it's going to take our community to speak up and speak against that's going on. right now for a fact in new york state, the governor had shut down so many things, there's urdly any programs, people have to stand up older than you and
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the jarred out of their sleep at 3:00 a.m. and 11 and 2:00 o'clock and five and there jarred out again during the night. they're doing this on purpose because of this escape that happened a couple years back and so the people in prison are being blamed for that escape and i have to say it's not right but peoplehe going to prison are buinking about getting out every day every second. nothing is right but the conditions that people are under, they've taken so much programming, they've taken the ability for people to have any kind w of visits they want to have, they want have televised visits as opposed to hand him contact, even withn children. are facing those conditions but the only way we can do anything is if we, a collective voice start speaking out against it. it's wrong. there's many of us in this room,
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i've taught this woman so much about the system she didn't know and she spoken to a lot and she was amazed, she was writing this with me like what's happening to people and what's been happening and how it's been becoming. the power is within our unity. people don't vote. the worstan thing that happened can happen. there are people like us that are going to be affected whether we want to see it or not. we need to have more conversations about how people can get involved and why people should vote and really understand because you said something, were talking about people that are not, when someone likes me comes out of prison after almost 30 years and i come back in a new century
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weather was toast robbins when i went c in and now there's this thing called alexa that turns everything on and heated up for you and i don't know how too do it because i didn't grow up with that and i don't know how to cross the street and there's phone better computers and the computers in my day were keep on things. there's so much. people say what's wrong with us and why are we always going back and i'm not giving any of these as cues but when all you know is know and no one wants to teach you or show you any better, that's all you know. it's a learned condition and the only way these things can change is if wet' come together we find out what's going on or what's needed in our area. i think you'll find out there's no reason to be afraid of me.
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i would never hurt anyone. never wanted to hurt anyone in myro life. roy is not a person who will hurt. we all have the capacity to do that but for the most part everyone just want a chance. everyone wants a chance. i walk into your store and ask you for a job, i want it bad it out probably start the screen in the toilet with the toothbrush, but i'm just saying that's how really serious and what were just looking for opportunities in second chances and a lot of our communities don't have them. right here in parksville, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but if you miles down the road the lights are not even on. the people are living in cars or abandon lots with cardboard boxes as their bed, as their
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blanket and we don't care but people want to eat, people want to survive, people want a job, people want an o opportunity and i'm not saying for people, why should i give my opportunity, but what can happen when there's nothing left to eat or do 5 miles down the road would you rather see someone have an opportunity to help themselves do better because that's really the people in prison, what they want to do, the majority of people i've ever known affected by the criminal justice system only want anhe opportunity they only wanted to someone to say hey and give them a touch.
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if we look at ourselves andwa sy what can i do, i always ask what you really want to do. how do you feel you can help? i'm available, there's other people available. >> i would like to get to know you and invite you to come to another group and speak to people. we want to get the word out and see what we can do. >> i'll be there. i've got some friends too. 1 second, christie if you wanted to say anything. >> we don't have all night bu
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but -- oh, this microphone. come closer to me. i'm not going to bite you. really nice to see such a great turnout but i think it's true the more of us who are aware of some of these realities, every time i am asked to co-author a book i often say to my agent, i don't think we can get more intense than that last one and then they brought me this last one. the first thing don asked me when we first spoke is why would this book be meaningful to you. in 2011 harpercollins published my first memoir and it was from that that i then started getting cowriting work.
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i think people read my first book really thought that, and i really thought that my life was perfect for a long time and that's what i believed, but when i read donna's book proposal and saw, for those of you who have read or will soon be reading that book, what happens to this child even before age seven but a turning point at age seven when she comes to this country from jamaica, and by age nine is being routinely sexually abused, i had to look really closely because at age seven i also experienced routine sexual abuse and was something that when i
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was a child i grew up far from here in a small town. i h grew up, i had a lot of guidance. and she did not at a young age and was guided by the wrong hand we definitely need to raise awareness about what's happening but dan and i would have a lot of late-night conversations when me too was first happening and he was like the world is finally ready for this book and for me with an opportunity when i co-
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right, i am bearing the journey with you. that's how seriously i take it. na tello some version of the truth and to be a conduit for truth, we can only change the world by the truth. talking about it, i wasn't doing the world any favors by not sharing what had happened to me. i may or may not share what happened to me in the book but really that would be up to a publisher to decide whether it would work. this is the book for women and
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we need to be having that conversation. what happens in prison when donna started participating in the writing group and focus group, when more than 90% of women experience abuse in a way that directly or indirectly led, that's where this starts and that something that we as women but also men, we can change that but we have to be speaking up about it. it's not okay anymore. they say the truth sets you free so let's start focusing on that. 1 quick question and one
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question. the quick question is how old or young were you when you went into prison, and the second question comes when you talk about going to live with people you didn't even know. i can't help but think of the children who had been torn away and their mothers at the border and what their lives have been like. >> i heard everything you said but the mic was not here. so there's no method to my book but i only go by what i told. 1964 i'm not sure but will we go with that, i had just turned 20. i s was still at those stages emotionally and mentally, but i got there smart as i was,
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academically. ally of the mother, as a human being, how do i feel, how do you think that it's okay to say that because you decided to come and utcross the border and put your child somewhere where you will never find your child again and that's okay the same thing that happened slavery is having a again. people are being displaced and ripped from their mother's arms.
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they were ripped from an auction block and sold to a plantation owner three states away while the mother and older child is taken five states away. that's happening again. we can't think that it will eventually happen to us. if it happened to people over and over again is going to happen to you. if you don't recognize the i people, don't care, if you don't recognize they don't care about anyone but money and power than were not recognizing what's going on around us. it's all about power and control. it's not about humanity. it's not about us as people. reasons are being used every day and people are being incarceratedyt for every thing
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under the sun, people i'm prison because they didn't have $2.75 to pay so they jumped the turnstile. i have women who were sent back for writing a book, i'm getting called and they're saying oh my god, i need help because the police snatched me up because i couldn't get to a job interview and i was trying to say i needed to get to the job interview and i will pay back the state or the city double, triple, i've had those phone calls. something is wrong it's beyond color. it's beyond the. to think that is okay. people are running from their country because they're being slaughtered because they don't have anything. there's more than enough.
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what's wrongri with sharing? i don't get it. i don't want to get it. i think that is the day i become like them so i really don't want to get it. but i ask you, i employ you to please get what were saying right now. get what this whole book is about, what our journey is abo about, the women in brothers that have spoken up, people in general come of the people that are down the road who don't have lights or sleeping on cardboard boxes with a blanket that they probably picked up out of the dumpster when they picked the food up out of the dumpster because that's all they could get to eat and while the storefronts have all this food t'd they throw the garbage every single day but don't think about the shelter that's right down oh street.
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is that seventh or eighth aven avenue? the one on bedford and atlantic or the one that's a little furtherr down by the junction. >> it's illegal in boston. >> not horrible. [inaudible] right mentioned being caught up in a cycle of abuse and no one think about it and they wear that badge of honor all the way through adulthood. we get them into prison and tarole systems and it's another
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form of criminalization. my question though is not really about that. it is a reflection of who we are as a society. it's a direct reflection of us so what does that say about our level of consciousness that we tolerate this nonsense. reading the washington post about what happening at the border and i was crying reading this article because i think how do we allow this to happen. what is happening to our consciousness that we feel we need to punish people all the time. to touch on that, what you think about us as a reflection of the
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society. this is ourure society. it's a reflection of us. there are generational impact of these laws and what does that say about us. >> i don't even think at this moment what's going on is punishment. it's the indifference of human life. there's a charge for that. that is depraved indifference of human life and if we don't hold them accountable we have to start really looking at ourselves. it's beyond punishable. when we think it's okay to snatch a child away from their parents arms and we don't care and number to give the excuse
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that this is what can happen when you crossss our border and its okay. there's a book about the caulk brothers in this group of people, they don't even. [inaudible] is what they expect anyway. these women and families don't really have a sense of real family. that's what they're thinking. >> that's for the three fifths argument comes in. >> they say we don't see you. [inaudible] i think that's what fabiano was just saying.
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if i don't see myself as a human being who's capable of doing better i'm not conceding you. we often project and we recognize that people project their feelings or awareness onto other people so i would rather see you in pain because i can't deal with the pain and myself i'd rather see you get slaughtered and that's what cutting is about. it's about control it's a false sense of control but it's the control nonetheless. rape is a false sense of control. it's not about an orgasm, it's not about feeling good, it's not about anything good. it simply control and control comes out of many forms and this is what's going on. as much money as a person has, as much, there's beardsley,
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morley bankrupt. those of us who can recognize that bankruptcy comes in many shapes, forms, sizes and colors, let's call it out. paper due long we've been comfortable.rt i know that's why we will shut out of the white house the other day because i can make people uncomfortable. i was going to stand for something. [applause] we been too comfortable. let's make people uncomfortable. it can start right here. i'll be there. i'll make him uncomfortable. i don't have a problem.
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so then you have something to say, i recognized you a while ago but we got caught up appear. >> that's okay. i just wanted to say thank you so much for writing the book and for your struggle. i have a formally incarcerated person also and spent 17 years inside and also wrote a book and so i know what it's like to take responsibility for your own life and tell your story and hope that has impact because you come out and you're just compelled to get people to understand and not forget the people you have left
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behind which is personally like the greatest tragedy. you're out and they're k in. i know and i appreciate so much, i guess the other thing i wanted to say is there's 2.1 million people in americ american prisons and that doesn't include all the people, the victims of i.c.e., that doesn't include all the people who are in jail, that doesn't include the poor .7 million people that are impacted, all of that. the point is the line is fine. it's a fine line between who goes and who doesn't. with a book like this and why this kind of a book is so important is that it elevates the expectations for people
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inside because one of the things about oppression but so incredible is that it lowers people's own self-worth and expectation. when somebody breaks out of the mold so completely as donna has done and writes this book, it's a little piece of light and shined the light in a way that is very rare and i'm so thrilled about your book. i hope that people, you asked me what can you do? there are a million things to do, but really, whether it's parole reform or elders in prison or sentencing and clemency or state or federal or women or children or immigrants,
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the list is incredibly long but the first thing that onedo can o is to see the other and to recognize him and that the 2.1 million people are equal to you. without that it's a lot of talk. thank you so much. [applause] an we figured to do this social justice saturday and we were chosen the 30th of june. we know it's fast and coming but we invite everyone to be a part of it. there's an event that has been created for it, youve can go on re event, as a social justice saturday and we invite everyone
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in this room and beyond to be part of that, come and invite people in to talk to a larger community, we welcome people to come in and talk to people to put up a table and say hey, register to vote. and then there's those of us who be in the room that say why you need to vote, prison reform, sentence reform, mass incarceration, however you will look at it, the sexual abuse, gender violence, school to prison pipeline, there are things that will be happening in that room and we will get some people in that room so jewel city books, how do they look it up? >> if you go there will be a map of the cross streets.
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>> what's the name of it. >> it's called piece of light. >> so i welcome all the light that you can bring in all the energy, my people from the federal defenders, have friends all over the place, i welcome you and i'm asking you to share your time and share yourself ani if you want to be a part of it just reach out and available, cristiano know what d you're dog but i know you're into another realm. she's learning a lot and i'm really thankful and my publishers, i think one just knock out so it's a learning experience for us all but this is the only way we can change if we start learning from each other thank you.
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[applause] tv recently visited capitol hill to ask members of congress what they are reading this summer. >> i like to read in spanish so i will be reading some spanish poetry and also a great south american writer, a fictional writer that brings forward many interesting books. >> fantastic. you ever recommend any books to your colleagues? >> of course. my favorite book as a child with the red badge of courage. that's probably the first book i read in english and of course i read a bunch of other books, malcolm x., the biography was one book that turned my life
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around. i always recommend young people to read. always tell them the book is your friend. it doesn't tell you that tie looks good on you are it looks bad on you, it stays on the shelf but when you open it takes you to africa to meet abraham lincoln and alexander hamilton, martin luther king, the great leaders of our world. a book is a time travel machine and i encourage young people to read. >> but if you want to know what you are reading. send us your summer reading list via twitter apple tv or instagram at book underscore tv or paste it to our facebook pa page. book tv on c-span2. television for serious readers. >> i think more cities are realizing they need to have something like a livable wage and the truth of the matter is a lot of people in the private sector are realizing as well.
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companies like jp morgan have a major commitment in detroit and they're doing it in the form of banking branches and opening up opportunities for financial literacy so a lot of people in the private sector are realizing we create a better society, better market, a better set of consumers if income and wealth are more broadly shared in society let me make a quick.on the difference between income and wealth because it's pretty interesting. income is what people make and spend and whatever is left so income is in-and-out everyday of our lives, every month, every paycheck and on that score, minorities in the united states make something like 70% of what the average american makes in income. but wealth is a different thing.
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wealth is what you get to save. it's what you invest. it's what you own predator net worth, and on that score minorities in the united states, both after american and latino make, what would you guess, about 10%. >> much less in wealth comparison. there's some understandable reasons because the families tend to be younger therefore they haven't invested in pensions or insurance for lifetime and they don't have the money to buy things so they're not owners of rental property or stocks and bonds, they don't have annuities they can act on, they work in industries that don't have coverage for them in the sense of pension systems in the retirement systems and 4o1k. it's kind of predictable, it's obvious there would be that different, but 10% is a huge, to
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have minorities own 10% on average of what other americans own, and that means you don't have the ability to get a loan, send kids to college, start a business because you don't own anything. communities of color have a hard time advancing as the generation advance. these subjects need to be talked about. : : : c-span2, television for serious leaders.
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>> and now live on booktv, our year-long fiction edition fiction in addition of en additp continues with novelist brad thor whose novels include the last page create and post recently "spymaster." >> host: brad thor over the course of 18 books, how many people hasle sought killed? >> guest: i think i lost count after book number one. one. he's killed a loss. >> host: y.? >> guest: my children's godfather is a special forces group who works for the state department and he had a whiny and he got from a commander somewhere in his career in the army that said some people just need killing some people you will not be able to reason with or negotiate with and that is the kind opp


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