Grace Gamez, now working as a program associate at the American Friends Service Committee, is heading up a multi-media project featuring prison survivors and providing them with a forum to tell their stories. Reframing Justice uses photo essays, interviews, and video to tell these stories in multiple dimensions using multiple lenses.
The first video features present the story of Kini, a mother struggling with the impact of drug addiction and her criminal record and SacRac. This first installment also includes Reframing Justice's first photo essay, What No One Wants To Hear, which is the title of a poem given to the story's subject, Michele Keller, during her incarceration at Marana State Prison.
Please click the image above to experience these compelling pieces of multi-media storytelling.
Executive Director Jonathon Trethewey is concerned that Arizona now spends three times what it spends on education on incarceration. Jonathon's first arrest occurred when he was just 9 years old, and he has said many times that a teacher reaching out to him to ferret out the root cause of his behavior - rather than a detention office taking him to a cell - may well have changed the course of his life. Now, his work in trying to decrease recidivism, prevent youth incarceration, and help families touched by the criminal justice system begin to put themselves back together attempts to create that very opportunity for others - an opportunity to rewrite the narrative of their own lives and to escape the sticky web of our very unjust justice system. Placing a premium on education, on teaching skills that give students keen perspectives on who they are, who they want to be, and where they want to go in life - can go a long way in reducing incarceration. Jonathon talks to Phoenix's Channel 5 about this disturbing trend. Below is video.
Our board member, Craig Morgan, is the chair of the American Diabetes Association's regional committee. We were thrilled to attend the Father of the Year Dinner as guests of Craig's firm, Sherman and Howard, to support the work of the ADA, honor three great Phoenix dads, and support our great supporter and friend to the cause, Craig.
In the wake of this week's violence, I see folks (me included!) really struggling, struggling to reconnect with the love that will see us all through this dark place. It is so easy to blame, to diminish, to hate, to generalize, to globalize. I've seen it on both sides, and it gets us nowhere. Demons and Others is the working title of a novel I am writing. There is a poem I wrote as part of the the story that I want to share - share it because we are at a crossroads. We can decide to come together in love and find our way back to human connection. Or we can blame and otherise and be consumed by our imaginary demons. Obviously, I hope for the former. In love, Kirstin
Demons and Others
Price-tagged as the other
Humanity yields to vectors
of limited dimension and superficial value
Heads are sold and bartered as
commodities without history or feeling in
a market that shaves razor thin layers of skin
to trade a bloody currency
capitalized by difference.
In the teachings of God and Allah
market traders find a blood thirst
only assuaged when cultural hearts -
be it twin towers, a holy book, or a holy man -
lie crumbled and pulp-like, gushing
tradition to the forgotten
The limbs of women and children:
collateral: as nations mortgage their souls
to define normal and
win holy wars of various and ridiculous names
- the war on drugs, desert storm, jihad.
Longing for distance from gruesome details and destruction
nations picket and brutalize their citizens
to cement the moral certainty
that their neighbors are not the ones
throwing acid in the faces of young women,
shooting up classrooms full of children or theaters full of consumers.
No, no cause for concern. It is the
others reigning this terror down on our heads
and creating our shared suffering.
And citizens, oceans across, buy these answers
not caring that the definitions of the others
were stolen – at gunpoint, at knifepoint, at bombpoint –
The ease of erasure is sickeningly easy
And in the shadow of this ease, whole societies
condone torture in all its nameable and unnameable forms,
As citizens stand by, participate, look away.
It's the others who are the demons.
Not us, not our sons, daughters, husbands, wives.
And so it unfolds again, humanity's cyclical destruction,
under the cloak of anonymity and righteousness.
And on it goes.
(c) Kirstin Eidenbach, 2014