THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Today is thanksgiving, and while we have so much work to do bending that arc towards justice, we still embrace this time as an opporutnity to give thanks.
We hope you enjoy this brief video of the Showcase & Fundraiser we held at the end of September. Our event was attended by volunteers, participants, teachers, mentors, family members and supporters. Their testimony demonstrated the power of writing to communicate, express, advocate, and heal.
Since our event, we have resumed in-person workshops with young adults at Rikers Island Jail, and youth in Release the Grip with Bonxconnect in the Bronx. Our young friends at both sites are writing about their identities, their communities, and their hopes and dreams. I was so happy to meet Rowland, who we worked with when he was at Otisville Correctional Facility, now Free and working at Release the Grip!
We are thrilled that Dontie Mitchell, a former pen pal featured on our blog 'Sentenced at Seventeen', received clemency from outgoing Governor Cuomo. Prison Writes wrote letters to the Governor advocating for Dontie and his release in 2018. Dontie has been working tirelessly with youth in the community since his release to help them achieve wealth and success!
We welcomed two wonderful interns from NYU School of Social work in September. Jenna and Lindsey are working with us on all levels to keep programming going strong!
We continue to support the cohort of young women we met two summers ago, through our foster care narrative project, Youth Voices. One of these young women has since moved into her first apartment, and we are sharing her journey towards independence. Another young woman has managed to continue through college in spite of many setbacks, including a recent robbery. Prison Writes created a Go Fund Me and raised $3,700 to help her replace her computer so she can continue with her classwork. And one of our young friends will be celebrating her baby's first birthday in January!
Our writing mentorship program with women in detention at the Rose M. Singer Center at Rikers Island Jail has been interrupted by their location to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. We are working hard to maintain contact, and with the cooperation of DOCCS we should be able to continue this very important correspondence.
What do self-love and self-care actually look like when you have limited time and resources? The wonderful women at Hour Children are exploring just these questions with us through weekly creative writing workshops.
We have entered into a new partnership with Jennifer Fecu, founder of Imani's Safe House. Jennifer initiated the Action Against Gender Violence project to inform communities and agencies about causes and appropriate responses to gender violence, sex work, and sex trafficking. We are learning a lot from Jennifer and are very grateful for this opportunity. The amount of violence suffered by women and girls is stunning - and this often happens right under the eyes of their communities, as well as while they are in various institutions.
Through all of our partnerships we continue to provide the best materials and books available. When possible, we offer food as well. It's hard to focus when you're hungry!
Our holistic approach requires funding - and this is where our contributors come in! Your generosity is what makes this possible.
So, today, tomorrow, and every day, we at Prison Writes give THANKS for YOU !
Jessica A. Hall, LMSW
Founder & Director, Prison Writes