Nov 17, 2009

Fortune Society Turns 42

Last night I attended the Fortune Society’s Annual Award and Benefit Gala at the Laura Pels Theater. For 42 years the Fortune Society has been a leader in supporting the reintegration of incarcerated men and women back into their communities and families. Two awards were made last night. The Corporate Leaders for Change Award went to BET Network for their work in highlighting the impact of incarceration on the lives of men and women of color. The first Lifetime Achievement Award went to David Rothenberg, Founder of The Fortune Society and creator of the critically acclaimed play The Castle.

The highlight of the evening was a performance of The Castle. The Castle stars Vilma Ortiz-Donovan, Kenneth Harrington, Nagel Ramos, and Casimiro Torres as they tell their stories of life before, during and after prison. It was my first time experiencing the performance. It was riveting, filled with sadness, joy and humor, and a profound sense of hope.

The staff and volunteers at Fortune are to be congratulated on making the event a success. It was nice to see old friends and meet new ones. It was also nice to see JoAnne Page and Glenn Martin in the same room for a change!

We are proud to have the Fortune Society as a member of the Upper Manhattan Reentry Task Force.

Christopher Watler
Task Force Coordinator