Remembering Casper

Here at NYWC, our hearts are heavy.

On Friday we learned about the tragic death of one of our most dedicated and dynamic young writers – 25 year-old Jusheem Thorne, a.k.a. Casper. He was a core member of our long-running writing workshop at Ali Forney CAMP Brooklyn and a contributor of three beautiful poems to their first NYWC anthology of writing entitled Once  You Were Set Free.  Many of you will remember  Casper from our inter-generational LGBTQ Pride Month Writing Aloud reading at The Center last June, where he completely commanded the stage (featured in picture at left, with acclaimed poet R. Erica Doyle.) Below, CAMP Brooklyn workshop leader Chelsea Lemon Fetzer pays tribute to Casper, in her own words and his.

In memory of Jusheem “Casper” Thorne, 25. One of the participants from my workshop at the Ali Forney Center was killed this Wednesday, March 28 in a hit and run accident in Brooklyn. Casper was an unforgettable, thoughtful soul- and absolutely luminous when he shared his writing.  All of us at NYWC are deeply saddened by this loss.

-Chelsea Lemon Fetzer

Here is a poem by Casper that Chelsea selected, in tribute.  From Once You Were Set Free:


Here I am in this crowded box.

I’m tired of looking at you guys,

we’re all the same. Must it be 60 of us?

I see the light as the box opens.

Pick me, pick me.


Awesome, finally I’m the chosen one.

I feel good as you open me up.

Now use me and express your feelings to the

world. Make me kiss your lovely paper

and smudge my ink.


Our condolences to Casper’s family, friends, and everyone at Ali Forney CAMP Brooklyn.  On Friday the staff and young people at CAMP Brooklyn gathered to read aloud Casper’s poems from Once You Were Set Free to honor him and celebrate his life and his talent.

We will never forget him.