Events in 2018
April 18, 2018 – The Prison in 12 Landscapes – Film Screening and Fundraiser in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh’s Women’s Studies Department
More people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet the prison itself has never felt further away or more out of sight. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about the prison in which we never see a penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives, from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse full of goods destined for the state correctional system, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.
The film was followed by a panel discussion and dance party benefit at Glitter Box Theatre.
Candidate Forum on Criminal Legal Issues – May 7, 2018 with CADBI- West Four legislative challengers–Aerion Abney, Mike Devine, Sara Innamorato, and Summer Lee– attended, as did current Rep Jake Wheatley. The panel discussed specific legislation and injustices of our current criminal system. CADBI-W (Coalition Against Death By Incarceration-West) reserved time on the agenda to ask questions submitted by community groups and incarcerated men and women, and held a moment of recognition of those who could not be in the room. The Lifer’s bill (HB135) was asked about twice, and all present committed to supporting this legislation to amend LWOP to allow for parole eligibility after 15 years.
July 6 – 30 2018 -Letters and Liberation our Annual Art Fundraiser in collaboration with Boom Concepts. Opening night auction, weekly gallery hours, and two youth tours – 1Hood Media and Hazelwood’s Arts Excursion.
July 11, 2018 A Community Forum on Pardons and Parole @ BoomConcepts.
This community dialogue between political officials and candidates, formerly incarcerated people, family members of prisoners and survivors of violence, to discuss the state of pardons and parole in Pennsylvania. Panelists included: Robert Saleem Holbrook Carol Speaks Liz Guyer Marcie Marra John Fetterman Ed Gainey Sara Innamorato Summer Lee
July 21, 2018 – Peace, Forgiveness and Ubuntu
In this participatory 3 hour workshop led by Kempis Ghani Songster and etta cetera, we invited you to imagine what a parole hearing could be and create a justice process after the whole system has been wiped out by climate chaos. We reflected on violence and victimization in our communities and society and attempt to get to the root cause by brainstorming questions. What questions do we need to ask in order to solve the problems of our criminal justice system?
2017 Events and Programming
April 7 – April 30th 2017 -Our first art show Contraband displays at Boom Concepts.Contraband is the name of a series of paintings on leaves created by Todd “Hyung – Rae” Tarselli. Leaves are considered contraband or forbidden possessions in prisons across Pennsylvania. This show featured 6 of these delicate leaf paintings illustrating detailed images of animals and nature. In addition, the exhibit showcased artists from both sides of the prison walls including Mary Dewitt’s portraits of women serving life and selected artwork from prisoners around the country. As for artists on the outside: Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Merideth Stern, Jim Kidd, Alisha Wormsley, Bec Young, Leslie Stem, Ellen Melchiondo, Josh Macphee, Shaun Slifer and Vanessa Adams are just a few of the many brilliant artists who donated pieces. Also displayed was a life-size solitary confinement cell, the walls of which are made from letters written from people incarcerated to Book’Em (Pittsburgh’s Books To Prisoners) program.
April 22, 2017 – Spirituality, Religion and Prison Justice: an interfaith panel discussion on how local religious institutions have influenced the transformation of society from abolition of slavery to the prison justice movement today.
Led by Maggie Repko you will hear the Panelists and the following dialogue. Panelists include: Victor Muhammad from the Nation of Islam, Dina “Free” Blackwell from House of Manna, Amanda Gross from American Friends Service Committee and card carrying Mennonite Susan Baida from St. Joseph’s United Methodist Church – volunteer at Allegheny County Jail and Marcus Rediker who spoke about the Quaker Abolitionist Benjamin Lay.
Mariposa & the Saint: From Solitary Confinement, a Play Through Letters
Saturday April 2, 2016 7 -9pm in East Liberty at Repair the World 6022 Broad Street 15206
In 2012, Mariposa was sentenced to fifteen months in solitary confinement. Through letters with longtime friend and current collaborator, Julia Steele Allen, Mariposa brings her experience to the stage.
October 29, 2016 T – Life Sentences, Victims, Offenders and My Mother –
This event will involved listening to Samantha Broun’s award winning radio piece together followed by a community discussion. The discussion afterwards would be led by producer Samantha Broun and former lifer, Tyrone Werts. We will be joined by Representative Ed Gainey, Co-Sponsor of HB 2135, the new bill that would expand parole eligibility for lifers. Darlene Williams and Donna Pfender will be present as well, both of them mothers of a daughter serving life without parole.