Letters from the Editor - September 2008

Jeffrey Hillard


Since April and our launch of RED!, so many outstanding stories revolving around our mission to profile positive stories of transformation in the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals have surfaced. So much positive news has emerged.

So many stories that beg to be told will clearly only be told in RED!

The webzine continues to break new ground. This issue features (an amazing) 17 essays, poems, and artwork by incarcerated individuals as far away as California. Each week, RED! is making contact with new prisons. We’re covering more ground now with more stories.

And the stories keep coming. I’m most proud to champion those new essays, poems, and artwork by incarcerated individuals. They know their voices can be heard through RED! The positive life changes that these individuals have experienced are laid out here boldly and with a brilliancy that will make you not only want to print out the pieces, but read them several times.

Savor them.

Savor also the tremendous journalism of Brenda Huff, RED!’s East Coast correspondent, and Christine Grote, our web editor. Brenda and Christine, along with columnists Paulette Lewis, Tiffany Peterson, and Khalil Osiris, continue to be my go-to writers, the stalwart anchors of this publication.

By the way, we congratulate Tiffany on her recent marriage! She’ll be back with us soon.

The other new mainstay is the gifted Belinda C. Her “Re-entry Chronicles” are becoming perhaps the most important feature in RED! She’s one of the most positive people I know. Since her release from prison after serving a 20-year sentence, her leadership skills are blossoming, too. I’m personally going to be writing more about Belinda in the near future.

If you read our stories closely – and please do – you are now surely seeing that RED! is the most unique publication in the world as its diverse content shares these stories that no one else will cover with such depth and bravura. I could not ask for a better staff, and I could not ask for more perceptive, comprehensive writing.

I will keep shaking up the conventional wisdom of internet publishing. It’s considered a bad idea to publish extremely long stories on the web – or in a ‘zine. I respect that opinion, and we have some short articles. Yet, writers like Brenda and Christine are diving so deeply into their stories that their “unheard of” length merits, without question, a kind of award-winning attention. In other words, the scope of RED!’s journalism is often deep and exploratory.

We take matters of transformation, life changes, and innovative programs dealing with incarceration or re-entry very seriously, to the point that we will take you, the reader, into territory that gives you a fully honest view of the place, person, or programs covered in the story.

That said, I am proud of my writers. I’m proud of my columnists, and I’m proud of the honesty with which they write.

Since I last wrote, RED!’s multimedia presence has taken on a life of its own. We’ve grown all the sections, especially “Turn It” and “Stand Up”, providing a marvelous assortment of video, mp3 audio, and Slide Shows. In this issue, innovators and artists Saad Ghosn, Lynda Crane, Ron White, and Marge Kloos offer spectacular views via video or mp3. In a video clip featuring formerly incarcerated person, Corina Evans, her views on re-entry basically validate the whole meaning of RED! the breakthrough ‘zine. Incredible. Don’t miss Corina.

On behalf of RED!’s staff, I thank you for reading. I thank you for going to my blog and reading about these fresh, behind-the-scenes observations that I’ll keep sharing with you. My staff and I thank you for your support. We appreciate your telling others about RED! (keep passing the word), and we appreciate your comments and news updates, so that we can be even more attuned to stories we need to cover.

Bottom line: we are a thankful bunch. Your taking such valuable time to read RED! is not lost on this editor.

Thank you.

Jeff Hillard

Jeff Hillard
Editor, RED!