Our Sons

By Diane A. Sears  Image courtesy D. A. Sears

Fourteen years ago, immediately after the launch of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R), something very profound happened.  I began receiving letters from young men — Our Sons.  Their letters enclosed brilliantly crafted essays and soulful poems.  They asked me to publish them.  And I did.  In exchange for their essay or poem, they received a free copy of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R).  A number of these young men continued to send essays and poems.  And they sent letters.  These were young men — Our Sons — from, among other places,  New York, California, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana.  So, what was profound about receiving poetry, essays, and letters from these young men?  Each letter had a similar introductory sentence: “I am 23 and I have been incarcerated since I was 18.  Will you publish my essay?  Can I get a free copy of your publication? “ or “I am 28 and I have been incarcerated since I was 16. I’m sending you a poem I’d like you to publish.”  Many of these young Men — Our Sons — are Fathers — Fathers of daughters and sons. They do not tell me how or why they embarked upon a path that led them to a maximum security correctional facility.  Nor do I ask.    But I do have questions:   What is going on with Our Sons?  What is going on in Our Sons’ homes, schools, and communities?  And how do we fix whatever is going on that is driving Our Sons down the path to prison with all deliberate speed? 

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