#FLKMdoc: A Doc Film Dedicated to Children with Incarcerated Parents
Following the release of Teen Guide to Living With Incarcerated Parents, my daughter, author Anyé Young joins forces with me to produce a documentary film empowering justice-impacted teens and young adult
As a public relations consultant and a freelance writer, I find that the most intriguing stories come from authenticity and raw emotion. These can be stories of triumph, hurt, joy, and pain. Oftentimes, they reveal deep-seated cultural issues and highlight the outliers whose need for substance motivated them to create projects that have impact. Projects with the sole aim of promoting real change.
Such is the case with an upcoming documentary film project that I am directing, which is also being produced by my daughter, Anyé Young. I have seen firsthand — and am still living through — the mental anguish that comes with being the caregiver to a brilliant human being who wants nothing more than to be able to pick up the phone or reach out to hug her Dad whenever she thinks of him.
Instead, she’s limited to a 15-minute prepaid phone call from a correctional facility and has even memorized the phone greeting that announces his call when she answers the phone, … “You have a prepaid call. You will not be charged for this call from … an inmate at … correctional facility…”
For my daughter, it’s just a living nightmare to have to live with the fact that her father is serving a 12-year prison sentence for being found guilty of a crime that is definitely not murder, rape or of any other heinous nature. She’s now a sophomore attending the University of Southern California and won’t be able to have direct access to her father until she’s getting ready to graduate from college. How insane is that?
It’s this injustice that has fueled our mother-daughter duo and set us on a course to begin filming our first film project, For Kids Like Me (#FKLMdoc).
We’re currently in pre-production and have already begun to secure donations from supporters like The Family Foundation, Inc. in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The inspiration for #FKLMdoc comes from Anyé’s book: Teen Guide to Living With an Incarcerated Parent. It is the first project presented by My Fairy GodParents: a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization I founded after her father was incarcerated.
As a teen whose father has been incarcerated since she was 9 years old, I can only describe Anyé as defy the odds. She’s an advocate for justice reform and is often asked to speak as a Keynote to share her story. Some of her speaking engagements include features at Howard University, The University of Huddersfield (England, UK) and the “Got A Minute” YouTube series with Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) in Washington, D.C.
As the Director of #FKLMdoc, I’m collaborating with community leaders who understand the importance of having a platform where children like Anyé can share their perspectives and their stories. My goal is to humanize the sometimes forgotten casualties of a prison system that simply doesn’t take into account the millions of kids who need every resource society can provide: including a two-parent household that isn’t ripped apart by a system designed to put their parents behind bars for decades. Especially when affluent or White counterparts often get much lesser sentences for the same exact offense.
As a filmmaker and creative, I am inspired by Ava DuVernay and Baz Dreisinger. They are women who also refused to stay silent and are calling out the prison system for exactly what it is: the cruel separation of families.
As a first-generation Dominican-American, I am also inspired by the Michael B. Jordans and Sean Carters of the world who lead by representing Black men as intellectuals who use their voice and platforms to change the illustration of the Black man that slavery has so erroneously depicted.
#FKLMdoc is not just a cry for help from justice-impacted youth. It’s an opportunity for change led by the voices of the children of the incarcerated.