Grace Gamez, of the American Friends Service Committee, recently put on two shows featuring the stories of those who have been or are currently incarcerated. These shows harnessed the power of storytelling, spoken word, art and music to educate members of the public about mass incarceration and to give voice to those living through its grind. Jonathon had planned on participating as a storyteller, but as he began to work on his story, the weight of his trauma became too much. He realized, like many trauma survivors, that retelling your story also means reliving it. He sent a heartbroken email to Grace, withdrawing from the show. Grace, wise to the many faces of trauma, saw the story in Jonathon's email, and included it within the show. This is one of the voices that can't be lost - the voice that isn't yet strong enough to sing its own story - but a voice and story that are, nevertheless, a necessary part of the picture. Jonathon and I want to thank Grace and AFSC for so elegantly including Jonathon's story in Entre Sueños.
Click here to watch the raw footage from Entre Sueños.
Kirstin and Jonathon recently met with members of ASU's Prison Education Awareness Club to talk about ATLaS' work on reentry and reducing recidivism. We were so impressed with the verve and passion of the students who participate in PEAC. As members of PEAC, they teach classes to prisoners housed in Arizona state facilities. And now several of them want to expand their volunteer work to include working with ATLaS. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them. We will be presenting to their group again in early 2017 about the Mass Incarceration Continuum, a theory on the effects of mass incarceration published by members of the Advocacy in Action Coalition, a national working group Kirstin and Jonathon belong to. We will also be presenting at PEAC's annual conference and unveiling our plan for a correctional alternative. Stay tuned!