Rahim Buford works with the Children’s Defense Fund Nashville Organizing Team, speaking locally and nationally about his experiences. As founder of the nonprofit Unheard Voices Outreach, he also facilitates classes and workshops at juvenile detention centers, implementing the SALT program (Schools for Alternative Learning and Transformation), which he first experienced as a student when he was in prison. Upon his release in 2015 at the age of 44, after spending 26 years in prison, he was awarded a four-year scholarship to American Baptist College, where he’s currently pursuing a degree in behavioral studies.
In this interview, Rahim talks about his family and upbringing, his time in the juvenile system, his 26 years in the prison system, what it's been like for him since his release, and his current work in the community.
Rahim Buford spoke to us, at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, from within his 3’ cage in the corner of the conference room. His poetry traced the path that led him to an unprotected place where his do-over childhood met our for-profit prison system. His 26 years in a cage began at age 18. For some of those years, he was cellmates with 3 of his brothers.