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After 31 years in prison, Al Sasser is giving a voice to men still inside


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My piece is everything about the relationships fostered while under the most traumatic circumstances of sensory deprivation, political pressure and uncertainty.  The reality of human confinement is extremely difficult to describe adequately.  However I will endeavor to share the Truth of our existence while we struggled to rise above it.

I hope to honor each individual involved with the process of building us up. Encouraging us to discover the endless possibilities available to those of us who were willing to direct our courage in a positive way.

The bonds we’ve managed and continue to maintain were previously thought to be impossible.  Contrary to those critics our relationships changed the prison culture, installed hope and made what was idealistic, realistic.  A true paradigm shift.


Making Contact has provided me with an opportunity to exercise my right to be a voice in this world.  In doing so, I am able to be a channel through which many others speak their truth; many of whom otherwise would go unheard.

It’s one benefit to speak, another to serve as a channel through which others can share.

I’d like to offer this perception conveyed by storyteller Leslie Marmon Silko, “As with any generation the oral tradition depends upon each person listening and remembering a portion and it is Together-all of us remembering what we have heard and Together-that creates the whole story, the long story of the people.”

Each person adding to the story, in the spirit of the orator, transforms the story which then belongs to all whom participate in its telling.  Through my work with Grooming for Griots, I endeavor to capture and contribute to the shaping of a people’s collective consciousness by sharing the Truth in word and deed.

What stories do we share when we speak to strangers, to our children, our parents, sisters, brothers and friends? Is the degree of truth 100% or does it differ depending upon to whom we’re speaking?  Is speaking truth so difficult that we’d rather hide behind falsehood in our attempt to mask truth?

It’s said that, “Truth crushed to the ground will live to rise again.”  This implies strongly that truth cannot be denied and inevitably will surface.  Truth is an absolute and backed by God.

Truth exists for reasons of clarity, confidence, conviction and serves as the suit of armor which protects one from being misdirected while on the arduous journey to spread the truth and dispel myth.

The truth will truly set us free from the prisons of the mind.  How will you participate in the breaking of psychological chains that stagnate progressive advances?  Speak it and Live it.  Then it becomes your gift.

Based upon historical facts we can and will recover from the harshness imposed upon us by means of poverty, incarceration and the disease of addiction, fortunately because we are instinctual beings with the ability to feel, respond and reflect, we possess the innate potential to heal even the most debilitating traumatic injuries.

I believe that healing often begins in the narrative.  

Speak it!

Sing it and Shout it!  

Just get it out of you.

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