I was flipping through the radio channels on my way home from a community meeting, and I was so humbled to stumble upon this radio interview with R. Dwayne Betts. I met Dwayne through my older sister while I was a senior in high school. As I got more engaged in juvenile justice issues, I would reach out to him for feedback or sources of ideas.
When I meet with the young men at the DC Youth Services center, I frequently speak of his story as a gentle reminder that your current circumstance does need not define you. And also as a challenge to be persistent and unrelenting in your efforts to reclaim your identity from a corrupt system that only a system that only wants to see you destroyed.
He recently released a new book of poetry Bastards of the Reagan Era that is receiving outstanding reviews and is adding more fire to the conversation about juvenile incarceration in the United States.
Listen to the full interview on NPR’s On Point website