Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Marlon Peterson

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Marlon is the host of the Decarcerated Podcast and Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity. He is also the founder and chief re-imaginator of The Precedential Group, a social justice consulting firm, and a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship. Marlon spent his 20's inside of New York State prisons for his involvement in a crime as a teenager. During that time he earned an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice with Honors. He spent the last five years of his incarceration as the head of the Transitional Services Center. He also spearheaded and designed an experiential workshop for incarcerated men and college students from Vassar College called, "Vassar & Otisville--Two Communities Bridging the Gap."

Presentations from Facing Race 2020

Place, Personal, Political: Blackness on the Map and the Mind

Where we are can fundamentally shape who we are and what we become. For decades, Black writers have examined the complex influence that place has on their identities, particularly around race. From James Baldwin in Paris, to Piri Thomas in Harlem to Jaquira Diaz in Miami, place and movement featured prominently in the personal stories that offer deep political meaning. Whether the influence is one of growing up in criminalized communities in the US, the particular impact of race on migration, or the reality of global anti-Blackness, the stories bear out a deep thread of how the personal is political.

Nadia Owusu, in her forthcoming memoir Aftershocks, “grapples with the fault lines of identity, the meaning of home, black womanhood and the ripple effects, both personal and generational, of emotional trauma.” Marlon Peterson’s Bird Uncaged, to be published in 2021, "exposes the hollowness of the American Dream… and reveals the many cages — physical and metaphorical — created and maintained by American society.” In his 2019 What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, Damon Young, “pulls readers into his world, showing them his vulnerability, hitting them with unflinching honesty about the state of race relations in this country.” In a live, moderated conversation with Racial Justice Reads founder, Rosana “RC” Cruz, these three authors examine the themes of identity, belonging, family, survival and resilience.

Moderator(s): R. Cielo Cruz Speakers: Nadia Owusu, Marlon Peterson

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Mass Freedom Presents: FRED Talks

FRED Talks (Facing Race, Elevating Democracy) are videos produced at local events where activists and leaders share their stories and effective strategies for change. The stories and lived experiences of those most impacted by Mass Criminalization and Immigration are the foundations from which we weave our Movements. In order to shift narratives and break down systems of oppression we must amplify the voices of those who are leading the work.

FRED talks serve as a platform, a political education tool and a point of unapologetic connection. We are called to lean in, listen, teach and learn from the legacies of those who have innovated and upheld our Movements while creating a path for the change makers still to come.


Speakers: Roksana Mun, Marlon Peterson, Tawana Petty, Candi Brings Plenty, Ahya Simone, Kiera Dixson, Isa Noyola, Mama Rhonda Anderson