Antwone Fisher – From “Longing for Belonging” to “Creating the Life of His Dreams

by Diana Robinson

             I’ve been a vendor of the Cleveland Street Chronicle for about 1 or 2 years. I’ve been dealing with blindness for 29 years and at one point in time, was homeless for about a year.

            Ohio native, Antwone Fisher is an award-winning film and literary writer. Fisher’s 2001 autobiography, Finding Fish was a New York Times bestseller, and in 2002, he wrote, and Denzel Washington directed and starred in the film version of the book, Antwone Fisher. As successful as his life is now, his early life was not always easy, because like me, he endured homelessness.

            Antwone Fisher became a ward of the state and placed in foster care, after his birth in an Ohio prison, to a teenaged mother. The first two years of his life, he spent in a loving foster home, but was moved to another home where he suffered physical, sexual and verbal abuse. At age 14, he was sent to George Junior Republic School, a reform school in Pennsylvania, where he remained until he graduated at age 17. Finding himself alone and homeless in Cleveland, he started his path to healing when he joined the United States Navy.

            During his eleven years of active duty in the Navy, Fisher was awarded or received the many honors.  A U.S. Navy veteran, Antwone was appointed to the honorary rank of Chief Petty Officer of the United States Navy in 2009.

            Antwone has worked in Hollywood for over 20 years as a screenwriter and producer. He also has received many awards including the Humanities Prize. The book and movie were well reviewed.  He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Cleveland State University on May 10, 2003

During his youth, Antwone Fisher endured physical, sexual and verbal abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect him, but he didn’t let that stop him from living his life.  In his words he says, “I think back on a childhood of longing for belonging, and see my life now is what I’ve created out of my dreams.” He said to Mr. Brown at the orphanage in Cleveland, “’You’ll be reading about me one day.’ I was definitely dreaming then…I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen.”

At the Sight Center, they remind you that although you may not have your sight, you do still have your life. As Antwone Fisher learned, what you make of your life is up to you.

            Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle December 2015. All rights reserved