Jailhouse Stories

February 21, 2013

Photo from San Bruno County Jail, taken on International Day of Peace

Many folks have been asking us how our work is going in the jails and prisons.  Due to some changes in regulations, we have not been able to take pictures inside as freely as we had been in the past, so we have not been able to share images of our work.  But the amazing, inspiring stories continue to flow.

We are excited to start thinking about moving into the next phase of our work inside – certifying men and women to become presenters in Kingian Nonviolence, so that they can become peer educators and help us with the workshops.  We will be sharing more on that work later, but in the meantime we wanted to share with you a few of the most inspiring stories we’ve seen recently.

Juan’s Wish
Recently, I had the honor of bringing in author/poet/activist Luis Rodriguez into the San Bruno County Jail and to San Quentin State Penitentiary to share some of his work and talk to the guys.

For those who may not know, Luis is a man who has gone through many of the challenges that these men have gone through.  In his own words, he has been involved with gangs, battled addiction for years, served time, has a son who served 15 years, has shot at people, been shot at…..

Yet he was able to turn his life around to become an incredible peace activist, mentor to countless youth, an internationally known poet and best selling author.  I knew his life story would really connect with the men we’ve been working with, and it was a real treat and an honor for all of us, myself included, to be able to spend time with such an inspiring man.  I encourage everyone to check out his work here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doc’s Wisdom

October 18, 2012

In September, we were honored to have Dr. Bernard Lafayette visit us in the Bay Area.  He joined us as we visited three pods inside the San Bruno County Jail to visit with 150 men, and we were joined by about 150 more from the community that evening to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

Here are the videos of both events.  Doc speaks on a variety of topics, including stories from his time spent organizing with Martin Luther King, on the meaning of the concept of “turning the other cheek,” the importance of working with youth, and much more.

Part 1 of the jail visit – Openings, testimonials and poetry performances from the men.
Part 2 of the jail visit – Dr. Lafayette’s Presentation, Q & A, and comments from the men.

Part 1 of the evening event – Openings, stories and poetry performances from local youth, stories and updates from PPWN.
Part 2 of the evening event – Dr. Lafayette’s presentation and Q&A from the crowd.


Another Update from Jail

August 27, 2012

Workshop held 8/6 & 8/7

Recently, PPWN has ramped up our work inside the San Bruno County Jails.  Since April of this year, we have conducted two-day workshops in Kingian Nonviolence for 200 incarcerated men.  We have already scheduled our next four workshops, which will allow us to reach as many as 200 more by the end of October, and we are expanding into some of the other jails within San Francisco County.

It has been such an honor for us to do this work with these men.  The wisdom and the love that they have shown us each time we go in is an inspiration for us and helps sustain us as we move forward in this work.  Here are some stories that we’d like to share with everyone from our most recent workshops.

This project is currently unfunded, and sustained only through the love we have for this work.  Please consider supporting PPWN so that we may continue to offer our workshops to the incarcerated community.

Good Morning!
“You’re gonna be in the violent pod today.  Oh, and there was a fight this morning so the jail’s in lock-down so you may not be able to start on time.” Read the rest of this entry »


Interview with Nicamer Tolentino

June 4, 2012


Check out this interview with Nicamer Tolentino, a Program Coordinator for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.  Nicamer participated in a two-day workshop in Kingian Nonviolence in February and immediately saw how it could help inside the San Bruno County Jail, where he works.  Our program inside the jail is possible only because of Nicamer’s commitment to serving the community inside.

PPWN is grateful to Nicamer for inviting us into his workplace, and for his commitment to building the Beloved Community inside the San Bruno County Jail!!!

(Our project inside the San Bruno Jail is currently unfunded, and costs PPWN money each time.  Please consider SUPPORTING our work so that we can sustain this important project.  CLICK HERE to read more about our work inside the jail.)


Freedom in Jail

May 29, 2012

Participants of the two-day workshop

“These past two days, I didn’t even feel like I was in jail,” remarked one of the participants of this month’s two-day workshop inside the San Bruno County Jail.  It was two days filled with intense discussions and important lessons for all of us, as trainers and participants.

It’s an honor for us every time we have the opportunity to go inside, and hearing comments like this really reinforce our commitment to this work.  To be able to feel free in a community with so much violence – even if for only a moment – makes the early morning trip all the way across the bay well worth it.

And it really didn’t feel like we were in jail.  Jonathan and I are obviously in a VERY different place than the rest of the guys – we get to go home at the end of the day.  But the two days we spent with these 19 men were some of the funnest and inspiring times we’ve had in a while.  The jokes, the stories, the conversations, the lessons. Read the rest of this entry »


San Bruno County Beloved Community

May 4, 2012

First group of men at the San Bruno County Jail, CA introduced to Kingian Nonviolence in the form of a 2 Day Core Introductory Orientation. Training was provided by Positive Peace Warrior Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis

“I wish you were there that night when I let anger get the best of me, maybe I wouldn’t be here. Homies in my hood don’t speak the same language as you. I want to learn more so I don’t make the same mistakes again”, one of the men from the San Bruno County Jail shared after reviewing the 6 Principles of Kingian Nonviolence and the “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence’.

This blog will share with you the participants evaluation of the Kingian Nonviolence 2 day workshop, audio of the men discussing racsim, and positive peace poetry describing where they want to go, PPWN’s next steps and what we were able to accomplish over all.

On April 9-10, 2012, the Positive Peace Warrior Network conducted the first 16 hour Kingian Nonviolence 2Day Core Intoroductory Orientation. As this workshop was approaching I was reminded of one of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.’s speeches titled, “The Drum Major Instinct”.

Excerpts from the The Drum Major Instinct delivered By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on February 4, 1968.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, in 1968,”And so before we condemn them, let us see that we all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, JR, “Drum Major Instinct”) 

Read the rest of this entry »