Compassion and Community, Learning and Literacy, Haywood Fennell,
continues to add
dimensions to his writings. Born in New York City, the now Boston resident
recently self-published the first book from The Coota Experiences
Coota and the
(ISBN No. 0-9720404-0-4) and has completed writing the second book, Coota
and the Challenge. (ISBN 0-97204046-3).
well-respected figure in Boston, Haywood is often called a Renaissance Man
because of his prolific writings, which draw upon our history for his source
material. He is an ex-offender who has refused to allow his past mistakes to
hold him "hostage." He is well known throughout the City of Boston as
an advocate for prison reform. A great deal of his work centers around
transitional services. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Stanley
Jones Clean Slate Project; an ex-offender think tank working to educate and to empower
those marginalized by the CORI Laws. Haywood advocates for professional
social/mental health services as soon as the person enters the prison system.
He helps by visiting jails and prisons and talking about the importance of
opening up to change the mindset from wanting to be a smooth criminal to become
with skills development a taxpayers a opposed to tax-burden.
a Vietnam Era veteran, who served nearly six years in the US Army as a clerk,
photographer, and information specialist, Haywood founded The Tri-Ad
Veterans' League; a veterans' rights
advocacy organization where the members incorporate their military skills with
program development for educational/cultural programs, particularly around
incarceration and HIV/AIDS. The League recently partnered again with The
Boston Local Vulcans Society of African-American Firefighters to produce the annual
(televised) 9/11 Memorial Service. Presently, the veterans' organization
founded works with Northeastern University to improve health care
current project focuses on health disparities for African-American veterans
that seek health care from the Veterans Administration Medical Centers.
co-hosts a popular weekly cable television program called Speaking About, which welcomes a weekly
guest list of community champions who have updates to share and ideas to
discuss. This soft-spoken author/playwright has written, produced and staged
eight annual performances of the cultural education play, The Harlem
Renaissance Revisited With a Boston Flavor (the show’s title will
change in the 2007 season to A Story from the
attended public school in Wilmington, N.C. and on to Boston University where he studied Urban
and U/Mass Boston's College of Community and Public Service studying Urban Issues. He is the Boston
for Unity First, a Springfield, MA based diversity community
Haywood received the prestigious Boston Neighborhood Fellow's Award in 2003. He serves on
the Advisory Board of the William Monroe Trotter Institute at U/Mass
and sits on the board at
Boston's Urban League. He is a lecturer on the Harlem Renaissance Era and its
importance to American history and served as a member of the Judging Committee
for Reflection in Action; Building Healthy Communities, sponsored by The
Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity and Community Partnership and as a Presenter for
the Community Enrichment Fellows 2004 and as a member of Roxbury Community College
Community Advisory Group. He was named as Boston Herald Literacy Hero in 2005.
was honored on November 4th, 2005 as one of the 100 Distinguished
Black Men sponsored by The Prince
of Boston, MA. When speaking to youth, and especially on prison visits, Haywood
talks about his going from stealing books to writing books and how is life was
changed by other people praying for him, when he would not pray for himself.
Haywood’s second Coota book, Coota
and the Challenge, will release in early
2007. In 2006 he completed This Man:
Thoughts About Our Times, an anthology of his of
poetry and prose. He also enjoys freelance photography.