Keri Blakinger on Growing Through A Prison Sentence

Grow Through It: Legal Issues, Incarceration

Keri Blakinger, author of Corrections in Ink, describes growing up as a competitive figure skater. When her skating career fell apart, she fell apart. She struggled with addiction for almost a decade, doing heroin, sex work, and living on the streets.

Blakinger was arrested in 2010 for drug possession and served under two years in prison. She got through it by learning how to make time pass — doing crosswords, running laps in her cell and reading.

She learned that our criminal justice system is broken.

Blakinger considers herself lucky and privileged. When she left prison, she was able to finish her degree and became a journalist.

She doesn’t believe there is any silver bullet for addiction. Everyone’s story is different. She found something else she could be passionate and obsessive about — her work as a reporter covering the criminal justice system.

Kevin E Leven on Growing Through Internalized Racism

Grow Through It: Hate, Racism, Bullying

Kevin E Leven, Co-leader, Bucks County Anti-Racism Coalition, describes his experience growing up black in America in a well-off, privileged environment. This resulted in him internalizing racist ideas that undermined his self-worth and confidence. Leven is learning to prioritize himself and unlearn the patterns he learned as a child. Leven believes that anti-racism is a process, not a finish line. And once you are able to identify racism anywhere, especially in yourself, you are able to take steps to address it.