Easter hope for inmates “Unconditional’--film showing God’s love lighting dark times in U.S. prisons
Inspired by True Story of ‘Papa Joe’ Bradford, maximum security convict now helping at-risk kids;
ABOVE PHOTO: Michael Ealy plays “Papa Joe” Bradford in the uplifting drama, “Unconditional.”
NASHVILLE– March 21, 2013 – Prison Fellowship—the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families—partners with the film “Unconditional’ to bring the movie’s life-changing message of hope to thousands of inmates nationwide beginning Easter weekend.
Through a special arrangement with Provident Films, Prison Fellowship will screen “Unconditional’ March 30 at Orlando’s Central Florida Reception Center and March 31 at the Desoto Correctional Institution in Arcadia, Fla. The events also feature Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske and “Papa Joe” Bradford, a former maximum security inmate now working to improve the lives of Nashville’s at-risk kids, whose life is the inspiration behind the film.
“I know what it means to be the man in prison,” Papa Joe said. “And I’m so excited that my story in the film “Unconditional’ can be used to bring hope to these men and their families. There are more than 2 million children of incarcerated parents in the U.S., and they need our love and encouragement.”
A young African American with unlimited potential, Joseph Bradford landed in prison among violent offenders after putting his considerable computer skills to work hacking into a bank and robbing it of about $200 (which he paid back). Released, in kidney failure, on disability and living in Nashville’s notorious projects, Bradford and his wife’s hearts were touched by the many fatherless children around them.
Simple acts of kindness brought one after another of these kids to their door. They formed a choir for the kids and soon he was their “Papa Joe,” providing the love and stability he never knew. Today, they continue this work through Elijah’s Heart Ministry, showing love to underprivileged children and their families, assisting them with practical needs and inspiring others to act by raising awareness of these often-desperate situations.
“To help ‘Papa Joe’ share his message of God’s life-changing, unconditional love is an honor,” Liske said. “And this Easter weekend screening is just the beginning, as Prison Fellowship programs have the potential to connect or reconnect inmates in 1,200 prisons across the country to God’s love and their purpose in life through this inspiring film.”
Provident Films has made 80 site licenses available to Prison Fellowship for “Unconditional’ screenings with future showings to be announced. Additionally, Prison Fellowship, the organization behind the annual Angel Tree program bringing donated Christmas gifts to children of the incarcerated, hopes to include “Unconditional’ DVDs as a gift option. Last year, inmates’ families received more than 400,000 gifts through Angel Tree donations.
“Unconditional’ is a natural vehicle for sharing a hopeful message with inmates. In the film, Samantha Crawford (Lynn Collins, John Carter) is living a storybook life: she’s happily married, she lives on a ranch where she keeps her beloved horse, and the stories she’s told and illustrated since childhood have become published books.
When her husband, Billy, is killed in a senseless act of violence, Sam loses her faith and her will to live. But a death-defying encounter with two children leads to a reunion with Joe (Michael Ealy, Barbershop), her oldest friend.
As Sam watches “Papa Joe” care for and love the kids in his under-resourced neighborhood, she begins to realize that no matter life’s circumstances, God’s love is always reaching out to us.
To learn more, visit: UnconditionaltheMovie.com.
+ Top Story
Start off your holiday season on William Allen Plaza on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) with a Tree Lighting and Carol Sing! Join the community on Friday, December 6 at 6 pm at the plaza, next to the Schaeffer-Ashmead chapel...
In the spirit of charitable giving, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated Philadelphia Alumni Chapter will join with Pennsylvania State Sen. LeAnna Washington of the 4th Senatorial District, State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, Philippian Baptist Church, Fresh Grocer, and many others...
Women Against Abuse, Inc., Philadelphia’s leading domestic violence agency, is pleased to partner with Toys for Tots for its 2013 Holiday Gift Drive. Each December, the Women Against Abuse emergency safe haven transforms its staff meeting room into a bustling Holiday Gift Shop filled with...
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in collaboration with Chestnut Hill and Penn Medicine will once again conduct the largest screening event for men in the Philadelphia area focused on “Knowing Your Numbers” as it relates to health.
Evelyn Graves Drama Productions opens the Holiday season with the international acclaimed gospel musical by Langston Hughes’, Black Nativity. Black Nativity premiered in New York in 1961 with ecstatic reviews and continues to mesmerize audiences today.
Hate is a strong word, so let’s just say, when I was in college, I strongly disliked going to the financial aid office in the beginning of the semester. This was always a time when lines would be wrapped around the building and hours were spent waiting.
After we had our first baby in 1999, I vowed that our little girl, Kyla, would be our last. Labor and delivery was grueling and lasted much longer than I had hoped. By the time my doctor said, “Congratulations Mrs. Hobbs. It’s a girl!” I literally could not see.
"I’ve not been unsettled or slowed down by the attempts over the years to paint me with a broad brush as some kind of troublemaker or self-interested hustler. While those caricatures might have become media shorthand, I was not about to let the world define me…" -- Rev. Al Sharpton