Black Men Embracing Our Light

Black Men: Embracing Our Light

Black Voices: Our Stories, Our Lives

Time: 24/7  |  Watch on Youtube


Black Men: Embracing Our Light (BMEOL) explores the Black male experience within the Prison Industrial Complex. Black men have made up a disproportionate number of incarcerated people in the United States and BMEOL provides an opportunity for four men affected by the industry to share their stories and give voice to the experience. “…we are standing in the light: and, if in this light, which is both loving and merciless, we are able to confront ourselves, we are liberated…” — James Baldwin

Larry Griffin

Larry Griffin

Taking Care of the Long Tone

Born and raised in San Francisco, Mr. Griffin was first incarcerated at SF Juvenile Hall, where he never should have been, at the tender age of seven. From 2nd grade through Junior High School, his interactions with authority were repeatedly brutal emotionally and physically. From 1999 to 2014, he was an alcohol and drug counselor and dedicated himself to help others gain their freedom from addictions and live fulfilling lives. Griffin is excited to share his story and hopes that it will be an inspiration for others to follow their dreams.

My First Day in Jail was written and performed by Larry Griffin, and directed by Wayne Harris. Dramaturg, Thomas Robert Simpson. (Photo by Jim Dennis.)

Geoffrey Grier

Geoffrey Grier


Mr. Grier manages the San Francisco Recovery Theatre, whose mission is to organize the synergy between actors, scripted material, and newcomers (recently incarcerated and homeless performers). As a recovering addict, Grier contends that the artistic process of working in theater and performing arts gives people a chance to take down the masks they wear on the street and learn how to communicate from the heart and in the moment. Grier graduated with a BA in Psychology at San Francisco State University.

Resurrection was written and performed by Geoffrey Grier and directed by Thomas Robert Simpson, dramaturg. (Photo by Jim Dennis.)

Freddy Lee Johnson

Freddy Lee Johnson

Taking Care of the Long Tone

Sentenced to prison at 18, Freddy’s turning point was joining the San Quentin Stage Band, where he played trumpet and shared the stage with legend Sheila E. When paroled in 1995, he became involved with the Harm Reduction Coalition and moved up the ranks to become their Director of Policy, testifying twice before the U.S. Congress. Since retiring, he has refocused on his music. Johnson’s performance is in collaboration with The Formerly Incarcerated People’s Performance Project.

Taking Care of the Long Tone was written and performed by Freddy Lee Johnson and directed by Mark Kenward. (Photo courtesy of Freddy Lee Johnson.)

Vernon Medearis

Freddy Lee Johnson

My Name Is Vernon

Mr. Medearis is a native San Franciscan who as a youngster wanted to know more about his family history. He questioned why the names of his grandparents and great-grandparents were unknown to him. As a young man, he encountered police harassment and witnessed major social changes across the decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. He recently celebrated 25 years on stage. Last seen as Bono in Fences at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and as the Duke in Cinderella. He has worked with Lewis Campbell and the Multi-Ethnic Theatre.

My Name is Vernon was written and performed by Vernon Medearis and directed by Norman Gee. Dramaturg, Thomas Robert Simpson. (Photo by Jim Dennis.)


Jun 09 - 13 2021


8:00 am - 6:00 pm