The votes have been counted, and we are proud to present the Best of In The Fray 2002:


Commentary: War in a Time of Ignorance, by Bob Keeler

Culture: Let the Rhythm Soothe You, by Jia-Rui Chong

News: Freedom, Deferred, by Marguerite Kearns

Photo Essay: The High Line, by Jonathan Flaum


Freedom, Deferred, by Marguerite Kearns (February/March 2002), received the most votes of all the pieces published in our pages this year. Below we list some of the comments that we received from readers about this article.

We at In The Fray wish you a very happy New Year. We will not be publishing in January, but will see you again in February 2003.

Victor Tan Chen
Editor, In The Fray


Freedom, Deferred
Ibn Kenyatta is a writer and artist—and a perpetual prisoner.
February 7, 2002, and March 7, 2002 (two parts)
By Marguerite Kearns

“The Internet is a wonderful medium for providing the intentionally-overlooked news. Choosing just one to vote for is difficult but, yes, I do choose ‘Freedom, Deferred.’ I choose it because although I’m dyslexic, the writing style was so tactile that I forgot I was even reading—this is very rare for me.” —Tobias Bloyd

“I know from personal experience what the New York prison system is like—I was incarcerated for four years myself (thank God it was such a short time). And the ibn Kenyatta facts need to be known.” —Peter Sorensen

“It captures the essence of the case and addresses the pitfalls of our justice system in a compelling and readable manner. The author knows her ‘beat’ and her work serves to enlighten the readers and possibly improve our justice system.” —Yva Momatiuk

“Through her writing, Ms. Kearns helps me identify both with Mr. Kenyatta as a black human being facing the oppression of an injustice system, and also with Ms. Kearns herself as a white human being facing her own ancestors’ history as purveyors of injustice and the urge to be ‘free’ of direct or implied duplicity in the injustice system of today. In this way, she touches on illuminating parallels between Mr. Kenyatta’s refusal to cooperate with the parole system, and her own refusal to simplify her life by letting go.” —Charles Goodmacher

“I’d like to cast my vote for ‘Freedom, Deferred’ by Marguerite Kearns, an engaged and engaging piece of first-person reporting that paints an unflinching portrait of its subject (ibn Kenyatta) while offering a clear-eyed view of the corrupt, brutal, and backward nature of the correctional system that confines him. A great job.” —Mikhail Horowitz

“A talented, sensitive writer who is not afraid to get inside another point of view.” —Nichoe Lichen

“This is a great piece. I really like it. Excellent journalism.” —Stew Albert

“‘Freedom, deferred’ is a well-written, powerful, and thought-provoking piece! I felt that ibn Kenyatta’s story is one that beautifully shows the indomitability of spirit and creativity and how it can flourish in any environment! I will look forward to reading and seeing more from In The Fray.” —Les Mound

“Thank you for this great article on ibn Kenyatta. I trust that you will do all in your ability to bring pressure to bear against this injustice system that denies human dignity, and freedom to Kenyatta, political prisoners, and prisoners in general.” —Chaka

“We like this story because it is both a poignant human drama and at the same time a powerful indictment of the New York State prison system.” —John and Sheila Collins

“Her style is informative, interesting, to-the-point, and is adequately and professionally emotive without being excessive.” —A. Fuller

“The writing is clear and crisp, direct and engaging. Her topic is unique: Rarely have I heard such a courageous man stand by his principles under such pressure, except for [civil rights movement leader] Robert Williams of North Carolina. Ms. Kearns is generous to her subject while giving both sides of the parole argument. If it weren’t for her work in Inthefray, how would we have Mr. Kenyatta’s story known?” —Jane VanDeBogart

Victor Tan Chen is In The Fray‘s editor in chief and the author of Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an Unfair Economy. Site: | Facebook | Twitter: @victortanchen

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