Racial Equity Initiative Team

One Church, One Read: This is Ear Hustle

This summer, Calvary’s One Church, One Read selection is  This is Ear Hustle, by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods. It’s also the San Francisco Public Library’s One City, One Book summer read. 

Get the book and start reading!

Then, mark your calendar for an in-person book discussion at Calvary on Sunday, September 25 at 11:30 am. All are welcome to attend!

About the Book

From the co-creators and co-hosts of the Peabody- and Pulitzer-nominated podcast Ear Hustle, named after the prison term for eavesdropping, comes this illuminating view of prison life as told by presently and formerly incarcerated people. In This Is Ear Hustle, Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods share their own stories of how they came to San Quentin, how they created their popular podcast amid extreme limitations, and what has kept them collaborating season after season. They present new stories, all with the same insight, balance, and rapport that distinguish the podcast. In an era when more than two million people are incarcerated across the United States—a number that grows by 600,000 annually—Nigel and Earlonne explore the full and often surprising realities of prison life. With characteristic candor and humor, their moving portrayals include unexpected moments of self-discovery, unlikely alliances, inspirational resilience, and ingenious workarounds.

Disclaimer: By using prisoners’ first-person storytelling to lay bare what it’s like to spend decades behind bars, themes of violence, conjugal visits, and death are included in this work often using profane language that may be considered offensive to some readers and not suitable for children. Reader discretion is advised.

“Nigel and Earlonne give voice to those whose voices have been silenced and remind us of the power of storytelling to connect and transform lives.”—Nina Jacobson, film and television producer

About the Authors

Nigel Poor is the co-creator, co-host, and co-producer of Ear Hustle (PRX & Radiotopia). A visual artist and photography professor at California State University, Sacramento, Nigel has had her work exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the SFMOMA and de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  In 2011, Nigel started working as a volunteer teacher for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.

Earlonne Woods is the co-creator, co-host, and co-producer of Ear Hustle (PRX & Radiotopia). In 1997, Earlonne was sentenced to thirty-one years to life in prison. While incarcerated, he received his GED, attended Coastline Community College, and completed many vocational programs. He also founded CHOOSE1, which aims to repeal the California Three Strikes Law, the statute under which he was sentenced. In November 2018, then–California Governor Jerry Brown commuted Earlonne’s sentence after twenty-one years of incarceration and Earlonne became a full-time producer for Ear Hustle. His efforts with CHOOSE1 continue, as he advocates for restorative justice and works to place a repeal initiative on the ballot in 2022.

More to Explore

Talking with Kids About the Order of Worship in the Bulletin.

If I visited Calvary for the first time and had not been to a Presbyterian church before, I would want someone to help me understand what I was doing throughout the order of worship. This blog provides an example of how some churches annotate their bulletins so children, youth, and adults can learn more about why we choose to read, sing, pray, and listen at certain times during the worship service. Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church (www.hbpres.net) in Louisville, Kentucky offers a model of how to explain the order of worship. Being transparent about how we worship together is in line with our reformed tradition. We can read and interpret the Bible ourselves, as well as worship and say prayers with our own bodies. Many years ago, a priest would do all of this while the congregation sat or stood. It is important for parents to share with their children that all people have the freedom to contribute to a worship service. By singing, listening, praying, and sharing, we get to know each other and witness each other’s talents and inspiring work. Fellowship and education events are only part of the ways that we form our faith together. Participating in worship is what binds us together each Sunday, so that we can support each other at or outside of church during the week.

Support Trans Kids

Calvary Presbyterian Church continues to support transgender youth and adults. March 2023 is Transgender Awareness Month. We show our continuing support through messages such as, “Trans Lives Matter,” “Believe Trans Kids,” “Support Trans Kids,” and “Protect Trans Kids.” This blog will offer some insight into Presbyterian and San Francisco organizations that actively support and advocate for LGBTQI+ people. I hope that you will take time to read through these resources. There is hope. So many inspired people of all ages are working together for freedom, safety, and love. Now that I am raising two teens I have come to more clearly understand the context and reality that LGBTQI+ youth live in every day. It is crucial to support the growth and development of transgender children and youth who sense that their “gender identity does not correspond with, or sit comfortably with, the sex they were registered at birth.” That is the definition of transgender offered by Twinkl, an education website for children ages preschool to 8th grade. See more definitions at the end of this blog. Transgender children, youth, young adults, adults, and senior adults do not want to be "othered" as they are children of God. We want to believe, support, and protect them, so that they can live safely and freely without fear and shame. When adults do not see or support children or youth as they are, the risks of gender dysphoria and youth suicide increase. God created all of us in Their image. May we have the courage to send out Jesus’ message of love and acceptance to ourselves and all people.

2022 Annual Report