From the Desk of Amy Friedman
POPS the Club Executive Director and Co-Founder  

Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
Have you been changed by unarmed truth and unconditional love? I know I have.

Time and time again in POPS club meetings, I have seen unarmed truth and unconditional love transform lives. I saw it again one day this winter when I visited our
newest NYC POPS club at Bronx Academy of Letters.

I was telling the 20 gathered students part of POPS's origin story when a stern-faced girl raised her hand and asked me, “So what was thrilling and adventurous about visiting prison?”
Her words stopped me. Thrilling and adventurous? Those were words I had never felt visiting anyone I love in prison. I asked why she’d chosen them. She leaned forward and said, “’ Cause when I visit my dad in prison, when I first see him and hug him, it's’s an adventure….”
Later the POPS teacher sponsors at BAL, Karla Rodriguez and Michael Alston and the BAL volunteer, Judy Minor, told me this young woman had never spoken about her dad.

But with her secret out of the bag, her face softened, and we all grew quiet, respectful, more tender. Unconditional love. The whole room held her.
That happens a lot in POPS meetings. 

It is that unarmed openness, the vulnerability and resilience, we see every year in POPS students' stories, poems and artwork as the new POPS anthology takes shape.

The works in the 2019 collection, WE GOT GAME, attest to the tender-heartedness and wisdom of these young people. Our students artfully capture moments of perfect isolation on canvas (as in the painting from Janna Rae Nieto above) And their creativity directly inspires confidence as in this excerpt from Kem Blue: "People tend to underestimate me. Because I’m a woman. Because I can be too kind. Because I’m too young. Because I care. Because I’m Black. I confess, I like it. I get a bit high on the look of absolute shock in their eyes when I win, when I prove them wrong" ( Kem Blue photo below).

We are thrilled to be able to share this extraordinary labor of love with you later this spring.
In addition to preparing We Got Game for publication, we've been busy revamping POPS' social media, with a major redesign on Instagram, profiling POPS students and providing prompts from our curriculum . We welcome you to join our conversation over there, especially on # WritingWednesdays.

And please join us on June 1 at 3 p.m. The Actors Gang Theater and consider a gift in support and celebration of the visionary POPS the Club authors and artists! 
With boundless gratitude,

Amy Friedman
Executive Director and Co-Founder
POPS the Club
Established in 2014, POPS the Club is a 501(3) with a "Silver Level of Transparency"
on Guidestar , EIN number 46-4535915. All donations are tax-deductible.
P.O. Box 10461
Marina Del Rey, CA 90295