7:00 - 8:00
A conversation between authors Marlon Peterson and Kiese Laymon, moderated by Tongo Eisen-Martin, discussing Peterson’s new book, Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist's Freedom Song. Bird Uncaged is a 21st century abolitionist memoir, a powerful debut that demands a shift from punishment to healing, an end to mass incarceration and a new vision of justice.
Peterson challenges the typical "redemption" narrative and our assumptions about justice. With vulnerability and insight, he uncovers the many cages—from the daily violence and trauma of poverty, to policing, to enforced masculinity and the brutality of incarceration—created and maintained by American society.
Marlon Peterson is the principal of The Precedential Group, a social justice consulting firm. He is host of the Decarcerated Podcast, a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a 2015 recipient of the Soros Justice Fellowship. Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 most influential and inspiring leaders in the Black community. Peterson’s TED Talk, “Am I not human? a call for criminal justice reform,” has over 1.2 million views. He contributed to Kiese Laymon’s How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin’s How We Fight White Supremacy, and has appeared in Ebony, The Nation, USA Today, Colorlines and more. A graduate of New York University, he lives in Brooklyn and plays the steelpan during the summer.
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the genre-bending novel, Long Division and the essay collection, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Laymon’s bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.
Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet and the founder of Black Freighter Press. He was appointed as San Francisco’s 8th Poet Laureate in January 2021 by Mayor London N. Breed. His book Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, Pocket Poet series), received a 2018 American Book Award, the 2018 California Book Award for Poetry and was short-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize. His previous book, Someone’s Dead Already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), was nominated for a California Book Award. His forthcoming book, Blood on the Fog: City Lights Pocket Poets Series No 62, will be published in September 2021.
Engage with your favorite writers and discover your next read.
Summer Stride is the Library's annual summer learning, reading and exploration program for all ages and abilities. Read and learn with the Library all summer long.