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The fight for racial justice within the U.S. criminal legal system — and the call for its reform — has intensified in recent years. Studies show that Black Americans are almost five times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Can our society be transformed? The story of the formerly incarcerated gang founder and leader, Antong Lucky, reveals how peace, nonviolence, and societal change are possible.
The child of an incarcerated father, Lucky grew up in a poor, crime-ridden neighborhood in East Dallas, Texas, a city experiencing an alarming rise in crack cocaine and heroin use in the 1980s and 1990s. Despite high grades and a passion for learning, Lucky was introduced to gang life. Eventually, Lucky formed the Dallas Bloods gang and played a part in the escalating gun violence and illegal drugs until he was ultimately arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison.
While incarcerated, Lucky turned away from his gang affiliation and quickly rose to become one of the most respected and sought-after mentors in prison. After his early release, he returned to his old neighborhood and became a leading activist, uniting people in challenging systemic issues in U.S. communities. Now chronicled in his new book, A Redemptive Path Forward, Lucky investigates the possibility of prison abolition and the path to societal changes.
While the harrowing account of his transformation is moving, Lucky’s frank discussion about racial inequities is also a call to action. His experience adds to our public examination of the future for the U.S. criminal legal system.
Antong Lucky is an activist, advocate, and public speaker concentrating in the areas of mentoring Black men and boys, bridging the gap between community and police, and developing and launching violence reduction strategies, criminal justice reform, and reentry initiatives for formerly incarcerated people.
Beverly Aarons is a writer, artist, and game developer. She works across disciplines exploring the intersections of history, hidden current realities, and imagined future worlds. She specializes in making unseen perspectives visible and aims to infuse all of her creative work with a deep sense of emotionality. She’s won the Guy A. Hanks, Marvin H. Miller Screenwriting Award, Community 4Culture Fellowship, Artist Trust GAP Award, 4Culture Creative Consultancies Award, and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture smART Ventures grant. She’s currently publishing in-depth artist profiles at Artists Up Close on Substack.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.