Marlon Peterson

Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 most influential and inspiring leaders in the Black community.  He is currently an Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, and previously a Soros Justice Fellow and Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. His TED Talk, "Am I not human? a call for criminal justice reform," has over 1 million views.

Marlon spent his entire 20’s inside of New York State prisons for his involvement in a crime as a teenager. He earned an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice with Honors, and a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Behavior for New York University post release. He spent the last five years of his incarceration as the head of the Transitional Services Center where he created programming and curricula for men nearing release from incarceration. 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.” Post-release, Marlon is responsible for the creation of two youth development programs, H.O.L.L.A (How Our Lives Link Altogether and YO S.O.S. (Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets).

Marlon’s writings, programs, and community initiatives have concentrated on issues of gun violence, carceral conditions, and racial justice. His bylines include: USA Today, The Nation, Ebony, Huff Post, The Marshall Project, and other prominent online publications.

Based in Brooklyn, NY, Marlon is currently working on his first book, memoir. Follow him as @_marlonpeterson on 'the twitter'.

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