Clint Smith is a poet and teacher in Massachusetts who specializes in exploring the uncomfortable divides that separate groups of our society. In this video, Melcher Media and ZANDRAK take us into Mr. Smith’s latest endeavor as he teaches creative writing to inmates in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
What he describes about his experience, however, completely upends our view of the world. It’s completely counter to what we’ve been taught.
After teaching these inmates, Smith discusses the prisoners’ fear that they can never have a real life again. His students, he says, thirst for knowledge and self-improvement, intent on leading a better life after they’ve served their time.
Political discussions aside, what Smith really wants to show us is how lives and families are destroyed when society judges others so narrowly. In this latest project of his, he shows us how prisoners’ lives are demolished whenever they’re forever defined by “the worst thing they’ve ever done”.
The second half of the video is a powerful poem that Smith wrote inspired by the work his students had done. In it, he explores their fears of being forgotten by their young children, and by society as a whole. And he shows us their humanity, and that they want to atone for their mistakes, and become real people again.He challenges us to view them for these qualities, see past their past mistakes, and view them as the real, complex individuals they are.
Watch below… how will you define people today?