As we celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society on June 16th, we wish all dads a Happy Father’s Day! This dedicated Father’s Day poem was written by Eduardo “Echo” Martinez, the current Florida Prison Poet Laureate.

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May marked one of our favorite months of the year. It was a wrap-up for our students as this spring semester came to a close. This year, from over 30 classes, more than 200 of our students graduated. The love, passion, and dedication they have put into their work show just how special and unique each of them are. Our students performed their pieces at our graduation showcases. Check out CBS Miami’s coverage of our graduation at Dade Correctional Institution, featuring our 2019 Prison Poet Laureate, Eduardo “Echo” Martinez.

Here’s a Mother’s Day poem written by Eduardo “Echo” Martinez, stay tuned for Father’s Day!

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“O, Miami is here; Let the poetry flow - even from prison”

Our 2019 Prison Poet Laureate, Eduardo “Echo” Martinez, wrote a wonderful poem that is featured in an op-ed for the Miami Herald.

Here is a snippet:

Opportunity is an endangered presence, a stranger most of us don’t recognize pass us by. We swallow our words with pride and a sip of regret. Writing can be a dangerous attribute in prison. Words with certain content carry consequence, they can be convicting or convincing. Freedom of speech is not a constitutional right in a state institution. As I drop these lines my words tiptoe on the tightrope trying to keep balance.

To continue reading, click here.

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The Power of Words

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Exchange for Change believes in the power of written partnerships to promote dialogue and impact social change. We facilitate anonymous writing exchanges between classrooms in correctional and court-mandated facilities as well as classrooms in high schools and universities. 

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Spotlight

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In a Florida prison, a poet grapples with power and oppression

In Martinez’s work, power is a trap; being ruled by it is a trap, and wielding it is, too, a dynamic that he said he confronts every day in prison. “Black and Latino correctional officers are oppressing their own people. They’re trapping each other,” he wrote in a letter to the NewsHour. “You got brothers and sisters struggling between remaining human and becoming a beast. It’s a moral balance daily.”

Click here to read the article.

 
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"The Crying, the Laughing, The Hurt," A talent showcase inside prison walls

Outside of his dreams, Juan Esquival hadn’t held his children since 1999. “Freedom,” said Elliot Ross, doing time for a string of robberies before his 22nd birthday, “is for my kids not to make the same mistake I did in life.” After 18 years in prisons across Florida, as he tuned up, guitarist Ronald “Bam” Threet said he knew exactly how much time he had left on the inside: eight months, four hours and 35 minutes. 

Click here to read the article.

 

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Writers' Work

Interested in reading some of our talented students' work? Here's a collection that showcases dreams, thoughts, & creativity.

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