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Get To Know: Marlon Peterson

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Open Book: Get to Know Marlon Peterson
Bird Uncaged by Marlon Peterson
Marlon Peterson (he/him) 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 and his TED Talk, “Am I not human? a call for criminal justice reform,” has over 1.2 million views. .
Bird Uncaged challenges the typical “redemption” narrative and our assumptions about justice. With vulnerability and insight, Peterson 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. A twenty-first-century abolitionist memoir, and a powerful debut that demands a shift from punishment to healing, an end to prisons, and a new vision of justice.
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Describe your book in three words. Poetic, honest, Black.
What inspired you to write Bird Uncaged?IThe book title is inspired by Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and the Alicia Keys song “Caged Bird.” I read the book around the same time I first heard the song. I was in prison at the time. My need to express that invisible cages and visible prisons are harmful human creations is what compelled me to write this memoir.I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
If you could get lunch with one author (living or dead), who would it be?For sure, Maya Angelou, oh, and Nelson Mandela.
What are you listening to?2021 Soca music from Trinidad Carnival and the Judas and the Black Messiah soundtrack.

What are you looking forward to reading next?

Abolition. Feminism. Now. by Gina Dent, Beth Richie, Erica Meiners, Angela Davis.

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