Podcasting Pains…

Over the past two years, I created 51 podcasts for “One Mother’s Voice: in the Name of Justice.” Topics included bail reform, private prisons, prison labor issues, the public defender system, video visitations, and women and prisons. My target audience: mothers with sons in prison.

As the mother of a son who spent 16 years in and out of New York State correctional facilities before his untimely death in an upstate prison, I believe that I have much to say about criminal justice on both the personal and political levels.

Each week, I  also reported on three or four relevant news stories and closed with my commentary about a variety of subjects, including the O.J.Simpsons parole hearing, “We Are Not Monsters” Independent Lens documentary,  media’s use of the word “thug,” and President Trump’s agenda (or lack, thereof) for criminal justice reform.

In April, I traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to cover a 2-day “Peace and Justice Summit” sponsored by the Equal Justice Initiative, which opened two museums–The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The Memorial commemorates the lynchings of more than “4400 African American men, women, and children hung, burned alive, shot, drowned or beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950.” I recorded the reactions of several attendees to the weekends’ events.

I meticulously researched, wrote, and produced on a regular basis. My producer and I constantly discussed various strategies to improve content, to market OMV, and to reach a wider audience.

(A colleague of mine recently launched “Black Girls Talk Sports” and within a very short period had 10,000 listeners and won 2018 “Best Online Talk Show,” Sports. I wondered how she had accomplished this.)

With no budget, I was not able to purchase equipment to do telephone interviews. (I am convinced that having this capability would have attracted more listeners)

We posted episodes to Spreaker, SoundCloud, and my website.

I love every aspect of developing the podcasts, and hope in time to attract more followers/listeners.

Eventually, my producer urged me to take a summer break to re-group and re-think ways to market OMV.

Reluctantly, I agreed.

Hence, for the next three months, I will focus on developing my book proposal, seducing an agent, and contemplating self-publishing.

Come October, OMV will return better and bolder. Stay tuned.







Criminal Justice News

New museums document mass incarceration and lynchings in America; the “best” and “worst” criminal justice news of 2017; a community campaign

One Mother’s Voice: In the Name of Justice” (OMV) podcast has moved to SoundCloud, where you can find a selection of previous episodes.

My Mission

I am the mother of a now-deceased son who spent too many years lost to the streets and New York State prisons.

Those were hard years for me. I did not fully understand the impact of his incarceration on me until many years later. Emotionally numb most of the time, I constantly battled anxiety, fear, helplessness, and worry. All that ended with his death in prison in 1999.

Consequently, I know firsthand how scary having a son in prison can be. Most mothers simply don’t know how to deal with their feelings, the prison system, or the ordeals of their incarcerated sons.

Most mothers have limited resources to hire lawyers or little power to challenge decisions that often lead to hardship for the family (such as relocating inmates without notice to families or warehousing them long distances from their communities).

If there are allegations of mistreatment or abuse, most mothers feel helpless to do anything about it.

Understanding these realities, I use my experiences and my voice to support, educate, and empower mothers with sons in prison.

No mother has to suffer in silence or isolation. You have a platform with One Mother’s Voice: In the Name of Justice.

Top Five OMV Episodes for 2017

Between 2015 and 2017, we uploaded 41 episodes, including “Inmates: Prisoners of Corporate Money-makers;” “Prisoner Health (S)care: from bad to worse;” “The Sorry State of the Public Defender System;” and “Criminal Justice Money Traps.” 

  1. A Tribute to Venida Browder
  2. Six Criminal Justice “Must Reads”
  3. End Solitary Confinement for Kids
  4. Island in the River
  5. Mother of Inmates Suffer in Silence

Best Criminal Justice News

The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice will open on April 26, 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama (at different locations). The Museum is housed on a site where former slaves were sold; the Memorial commemorates 4400 lynchings (between 1877 and 1950) documented by the EJI.

Bryan Stevenson, executive director for the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), says that the Museum will feature first-hand accounts of enslaved people; compelling visuals, and fine art pieces from renowned African-American  sculptors, Titus Kaphar and Sandford Biggers. Stevenson is the award-winning author of the New York Times‘ bestseller, No Equal Justice, and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize.

Worst Criminal Justice News 

In December 2017, Erica Garner, 27, daughter of  Eric Garner, fell into a coma and died. Her father died from a choke-hold at the hands of New York City police officers in 2014 after they confronted him about selling loose cigarettes in front of a Staten Island convenience store.

In the aftermath of his death, Erica became a vocal critic of police brutality. Sadly, we lost a dynamic, outspoken advocate for social and criminal justice too soon.

Looking Ahead

Outreach is the focus of our efforts for 2018. To that end, OMV is launching “Heart-to-Heart,” a series of talks at local churches and organizations in Las Vegas about mass incarceration and its impact on families and communities.

Likewise, we are seeking mothers with sons in prison to share their experiences on the podcast.

Some upcoming topics that we will explore are:

  • The health implications for mothers with sons in prison
  • The stigma of having a son in prison
  • Mothers who became criminal justice advocates (Mattie L. Humphrey, Sherry Grace, Rhonda Robinson, and Venida Browder)

If you are a mom with a son in prison, contact me @omvforyou@gmail.com.