Hope and optimism for Coconino County inmates

The two-part series by Alexandra Wittenberg on The Literacy Center in Flagstaff that has classes for inmates from the Coconino County Detention Center is an outstanding piece of local journalism that sheds light on a wonderful organization (Teaching empathy through literature, 2/10/19, A1). The volunteer tutors at the Center are helping prisoners gain perspective on their own plight through poems.

Both of the literary works chosen by tutor Richard Parsons, “Invictus” by William Henley, which I was aware of because of Nelson Mandela’s reference to it in the movie by the same name, and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, a poem I have read because Ms. Angelou is my wife’s favorite poet, are very pertinent to the female inmates who we meet in the article. Ms. Wittenberg does a great job detailing their experiences in reading “Invictus” with their tutor. The article gives me hope and optimism, not only for these women, but for all people in the Coconino County Detention Center who have the opportunity to be touched by The Literacy Center.

Thank you to the volunteers at The Literacy Center for their work and to the Daily Sun for publishing this two-part series. You have provided much needed publicity for the incredible volunteer work that otherwise would have gone unnoticed in our community. Volunteering with inmates to improve their life should be held up as an example of how each of us can quietly contribute to our society two hours at a time.


AZ Daily Sun February 18th, 2019

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Posted in Letters to the Editor and tagged , .