collaboration with youth
Jarvis is particularly passionate about working with young people and has collaborated with the Truthworker Theater Company on many of their efforts to propel the next generation of visionary performers.
The Truthworker Theatre Company is a social justice based hip-hop theatre company for high school and college aged youth in Brooklyn, NY. They provide free programming, rigorous training, and professional stipends to young visionaries and performers.
Truthworker is a safe space for young people to be the subjects, not the objects of their stories–narrating their own experiences and unique perspectives in ways that unpack and shift the dominant, often stereotypical narratives found in mainstream media. Using theatre and media to examine history and learn about models for creating social change, they call upon language and critical thinking skills as tools to develop solution-driven citizens of the world.
From Clenched Fists to Compassion traces the triangulation of healing that emerged through a collaboration between Truthworker Theatre Company, Director Samara Gaev, and Jarvis Jay Masters.
A dozen young visionaries directly impacted by mass incarceration, a survivor of a violent crime whose perpetrator is spending multiple lifetimes in prison, and a death row inmate whose capacity for liberation within the walls of confinement is astounding, grow closer to themselves, their healing, their purpose, and compassion as they strive to interrupt and transform the criminalizing and violent systems that permeate their communities.
Here are just a few of the many lives Jarvis has touched over the past three decades he’s been in prison—people on the inside, outside, young, old, and from all walks of life around the world.
Thank you for showing me what matters most, thank you for giving me so much reason to love my life and the ones around me. You are truly a man with enough will, heart, and passion to touch millions. I hope you find all the things in your life that matter most.
My eleventh grade Contemporary Composition students read selections from Finding Freedom in the spring and now again in the fall. I want to thank you again for helping my students find a reason to live and dedicate themselves to constructive living.
— Teacher in Los Angeles, California
Your book encouraged me to stay away from violence so I won’t end up in prison. Like yourself, I grew up with no father. I’ve sometimes thought no one loved nor cared about me, and it was hard to move on. You sound as if you take your experiences well.
So I would like to thank you for the encouragement you spread not only to me and people across the States, but in my class. Hopefully, your words planted a seed in everyone, because it definitely did for me.