Beyond The Here And Now: Remembering Eddie Ellis
On a Saturday morning in 2003, I was with my brother Mervyn in his DEP-issued car. He was listening to something that I hadn't heard before -- the WBAI radio broadcast "On The Count." Produced and hosted by Eddie Ellis, the program examines criminal justice issues.
Notable for his raspy voice (think Harry Belafonte) -- Ellis' perspective was fueled by his own 25-year stint in the prison system.
By 2005, I was working on a series about wrongful convictions when a producer for "On The Count" extended an invite. It was my first time on radio. And it was an experience that I planned to chalk up to being just that -- even as Eddie said afterward: "We need to do this again, brother."
And so it's been every year since, joining the likes of Nayaba Arinde (editor of the Amsterdam News) and journalist Herb Boyd for the "On The Count" reporter's roundtable. Needless to say, the memories are plentiful. But we remember Eddie with the news that he passed away on July 24 here in New York.
Ever aware that a key portion of his audience was distinct -- men and women in prison (including those convicted of crimes they never committed) -- Eddie's legacy will resonate well beyond the here and now. Eddie Ellis was 72 years old.
For more on his life, here's a brief bio from his organization's website: