Antwone Fisher was born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother two months after his father was murdered. Abandoned with no family to call his own, Fisher was placed in an abusive foster home where he spent the next 14 years. Fisher escaped that abuse only to find himself homeless and alone on the streets of Cleveland.
But Fisher wasn’t done with his life story.
By 2001, Fisher had climbed out of the depths of despair, served 11 years in the U.S. Navy and found his way to Sony Pictures Entertainment. He shared his story with co-workers at Sony and soon had producers and screenwriters approaching him for the rights to his story. But, again, Fisher wasn’t done with his life story. He wrote it himself, publishing his memoir “Finding Fish” in 2001. His memoir turned into a screenplay which turned into the 2002 movie “Antwone Fisher,” starring Denzel Washington.
For those of us at Dallas CASA, Fisher’s childhood story is a cautionary tale. Much has changed in the child welfare world since Fisher’s childhood, but our advocates still work every day to bring children permanency and find them loving and supportive homes where they can grow and thrive. We don’t want any child to have to suffer like Fisher did.
But Fisher’s story is also an inspirational one, and that’s why we invited him to be our guest speaker at the Oct. 27th Champion of Children Award Dinner at The Fairmont Dallas. Mrs. Micki Rawlings and The Hon. Michael S. Rawlings are honorary chairs for the evening, and NorthPark Center will be honored with the prestigious Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award. Event co-chairs are Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Karen and Mark Carney, Jeanne and Joseph Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson.
Event co-chairs and Dallas CASA volunteer advocates Karen and Kristy shared their story with My Sweet Charity this summer. It’s people like Karen and Kristy and the other co-chairs of the event who want to help kids like Fisher find their place to call home.
Could a Dallas CASA volunteer looking out for him have made a difference in Fisher’s life? We think so. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the only constant during a frightening and uncertain time. CASA volunteers can truly make an immediate and critical difference in the lives of children who lives have been marked by abuse or neglect.
Fisher probably says it best himself:
I think back on a childhood of longing for belonging and see my life now as what I’ve created out of my dreams. An image comes to mind of Mrs. Brown at the orphanage in Cleveland, me sitting at her side telling her “You’ll read about me someday.” I was definitely dreaming then. With no evidence of that ever being possible, I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong. So I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself as somebody.
We hope you’ll be as inspired by Fisher as we are. Ticket and sponsorship information is available here.