I saw this beautiful image by artist Molly Crabapple and it is seared in my mind and has imprinted itself on my heart. I have looked at it a lot this week. I think it’s because I recognize the women on the line. I’m sure that I’ve never met any of them in person but I have… It’s difficult to explain and I am feeling particularly inarticulate today. I will revisit the emotions and thoughts that the image has triggered at a later date. But for today, I just wanted to share this.
Category: Art and Social Change
The Geto Boys remind you that you should NEVER talk to the cops. Ask for your lawyer…
Thanks to the wonderful Julian you can enjoy the following mixtape of songs about the prison industrial complex. Special thanks to some of my Twitter followers who contributed suggestions to the list. You can access the mixtape here. Feel free to share it with others.
I’ve always liked this song by Brand Nubian. It’s from back in 1994 which is probably when I stopped really listening to rap music (LOL!).
by Marilyn Buck
for Linda and her lover
blooming on lips
which have already spoken
and now await
stolen clandestine kisses
A prisoner kisses
she is defiant
she breaks the rules
she traffics in contraband women’s kisses.
A crime wave of kisses
Bitter sweet sensuality
flouting women-hating satraps
in their prison fiefdoms
cannot be arrested.
1990, Washington, D.C. Jail
** This is my final recap of 2013…
Chicago has been in the spotlight over the past few years as the epitome of urban violence. The city has been dubbed the “murder capital of the U.S.” even though this is actually untrue. I’ve written and will continue to write about the various organizing and advocacy efforts by Chicagoans to address interpersonal and structural/systemic violence. Lots of people in this city are working to address violence; many in very creative ways.
Today, I want to focus on some of the creative interventions to address violence in Chicago that I’ve either been part of or have otherwise come to my attention in 2013. Thousands of people were engaged through these projects. There were of course many other efforts that I left off this list. I invite you to submit your suggestions in the comments section. Think about how you can contribute to ending violence in your own communities and then get to work!
From NBC 5 Chicago:
After the murder totals in Chicago started racking up after January of this year, South Side native Bryant Cross decided he’d seen enough.
The 28-year-old speech communications professor started thinking of effective ways to spread an anti-violence message and came up with the 500campaign, head shots of Chicagoans with the slogan “Angry Because Over 500 Youth Were Murdered in Chicago.”
**Note: The 500 youth number cited is not at annual number. Over the course of 5 years about 500 young people under 20 years old were victims of homicide in Chicago. One is too many but it’s important to be clear about what these numbers represent.
Below is the founder of the 500campaign, Bryant Cross, talking about his campaign:
According to the Steppenwolf Theatre website:
“Woven together from interviews gathered by journalist Miles Harvey and his students at DePaul University, How Long Will I Cry? provides raw, truthful insight into the problem of youth violence. By giving voice to those who know the tragic consequences of violence first-hand—families of the victims, residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods and especially young people—How Long Will I Cry? inspires all of us to join together in search of a solution.”
The play was performed for a month earlier this year and the stories have now been compiled into a book that is available for free to Chicagoans.
“The book contains interviews with 35 people, told in Studs Terkel-style first person: current and former gang members, parents and siblings of young people who have been killed, and cops, lawyers, nurses, and community activists who are working to stop the violence.”
I initiated this project and solicited support and help from friends to execute it. We asked Chicagoans to summarize their feelings about violence in one sentence. We used a central hotline to gather responses from people across Chicago. The responses were assembled into audio collages. In late April, community members gathered to listen to the audio collage and to participate in a peace circle where we could discuss our experiences and the impacts of violence in our lives.
I talk more about the project here. Below is the main audio collage.
Visit Soundcloud to listen to all of the audio from this project.
As regular readers know, for the past few months, I’ve been curating an exhibition titled “Picturing a World without Prisons” with my friends at the Free Write Jail Arts & Literacy Program. On Friday, we had an opening reception for the exhibition and it was packed. We had a great time and were were so excited to feature artwork by youth incarcerated at the JTDC and artists on the outside who submitted photographs depicting a world without prisons. Below are some photographs documenting the opening reception.
By Jessica Muniz J
From recent issue of Captured Words
When I think of you,
I think of your eyes,
How they are sparkling pools of blue,
That always calm me when I see you.
When I think of you,
I think to myself how much strength you give me,
You are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,
Just knowing that you are waiting for me
To be home,
Helps me to carry on.
Ever since that day you left,
Loneliness had taken its toll.
You are a very special part of my life,
A life that has had its twists and turns,
I know I have missed out on a lot,
But somehow I know that I will be given another chance,
To prove that I really am a wonderful mom.
When I think of you, Son,
You lift up my spirits.
So many of my smiles depend on you.
You bring me so much happiness,
I hope you will never forget,
Not even for a single day,
How wonderful you are to me.
When I think of you, Julian,
I am sorry that I hurt you,
It’s something I must live with every day.
I never meant to do those things to you.
I want to show you a side of me you do not know.
Julian, my Son, you are my reason for all that I do.
Today, I want to share some of the art that will be featured in Picturing A World Without Prisons specifically the photographs. The show marries photographs submitted by people on the outside with art created by jailed youth. This is why we call it an inside/outside exhibition. We’ve temporarily uploaded the photo submissions that we received along with the artist statements on a Tumblr. Eventually, we plan to create an online exhibit that will bring together the art created on the outside with that which was created by the incarcerated youth. This is in addition to the physical exhibition that will run from November 11 to December 6 at HumanThread.