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Art & Storytelling Take Action

Monthly Donor Drive and Print Sale

Our goal is to sign up 25 new monthly donors in the month of December. Whaddya say? Can you chip in a little a month to support people in prison in PA.

Monthly sustainers are a critical part of community organizing and help us gather unrestricted funds. This money is used for: direct assistance to people in prison and returning citizens (hard to write a grant for that) stamps, printing newsletters and commutation kits, speaker stipends as well as transportation costs to visit prisons, the state capitol and faraway meetings and conferences. 

As of December 2020 we have 34 persistent givers making everything we do possible!!
They are donating at levels of $5 up to $30 a month!

Your $5 a month becomes $60 over the year.
Your $10 a month becomes $120 over the year.
Your $20 a month becomes $240 over the year.
Your $25 a month becomes $300 over the year.
Your $30 a month becomes $360 over the year.

If you sign up to be a monthly sustainer giving at least $10 a month in December, you can get a free print! If you are already a sustainer and want to up your giving by $5 a month you get a print too! After you sign up, we will email you to get your print order and shipping or Pittsburgh pick up details. You can view all the print options by looking at the print sale website below.

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Art & Storytelling Events Take Action

Yes on Commutation! Week Of Events

Week of Events to Support Fair Commutation and People in Prison
Virtual Gallery Tours of the End Death by Incarceration Art Contest:
Sundays in August August 23 and 30th
at 11am, 12pm & 1pm EST – 30 minutes

Zoom Link for gallery tour at Our Link Tree

Contact to set up ASL or plan a specific group tour that fits your schedule. [letsgetfreepa@gmail.com]


Write letters of support to the 22 Commutation Applicants
Tuesday August 24 – 9am

This Tuesday morning, Letters from Home will be dedicated to sending messages of support to the people waiting for their hearings on September 4th. You can try to imagine how emotionally full this time of waiting can be. If you can’t make the 9am zoom gathering you can access the spreadsheet here. You can find a tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet that says “commutation”. Zoom Link for Letters from Home at our Link Tree


The Final August Premiere of the Life Cycles Toward Freedom Films featuring Stanley Mitchell and Saleem Holbrook
Tuesday August 25th from 7 – 8:30 EST.
Register here.

Featuring 3 new short films and special guests Stanley Mitchell and Robert Saleem Holbrook. If you have already seen the films tune in around 7:45 to see the 10 minute film about the Unger Ruling in Maryland which led to the release of 260 aging people with life sentences in 2012. Stanley was one of the people released 12 years ago.

If you don’t want to register and enter our zoom room, the events will be live streamed on our youtube channel


Yes on Commutation Rally
Thursday August 27th 9am City County Bldg – Pittsburgh

Join members of Let’s Get Free and the Dignity Act Now!Collective Pittsburgh in supporting applicants coming before the PA board of pardons on September 4th. Avis Lee, co creator of Let’s Get Free, is finally coming before the Board of Pardons after 40 years in prison. This is her 6th attempt at commutation! Because of COVID 19 these hearings will be held virtually and we will be unable to show the court support in the way we would ordinarily if allowed to enter the hearing.


Outside Film Screening and Social Distance Hang
Sunday August 30th – 7 – 8:30pm
Register Here (not necessary but helpful)
We are gonna social distance and wear masks 🙂

400 Roup Ave. In the parklet behind the Aldi in friendship.

Bring your own chair. Bring your own food 🙂 We will have fresh juice and beverages and snacks and bug spray! We will also have t-shirts for sale! We will screen the life cycles movies and more. Movies start at 8:30. Katina, a good friend of Tameka Flowers is coming all the way from Greensburg to talk about Tameka who is featured in one of the films. Rain date the following Sunday – September 6th.

Yay! Facebook Event


More action steps to take on the Life Cycles Toward Freedom Website

Categories
Art & Storytelling Events

Film Screenings & Art Show

Join us on August 18th!

[Image Description: Naomin Blount and Brandon Flood are pictured at the top and bottom of the is graphic which revelas only thier eyes and noses. The center of the graphic has event information which is listed below]

Tuesday August 18th from 7 – 8:30 EST. Featuring 3 new short films and special guests Naomi Blount and Brandon Flood. If you don’t want to register and enter our zoom room, the events will be live streamed on our youtube channel

Register for August 18th Film Screening

This Screening is endorsed by: Re/Creation, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, ALC Courtwatch, Families for Justice as Healing, Three Rivers Community Foundation, Amistad Law Project, End Solitary Santa Cruz County [CA, USA], California Coalition for Women Prisoners, College and Community Fellowship, Human Rights Coalition Fed-Up!, Women of Color Global Women’s Strike, The Philadelphia Justice Project for Women and Girls, Reconstruction Inc, Pittsburghers for Public Transit and Islamic Communication Network.


Virtual Tours of the End Death by Incarceration Art Gallery

[Image description: This announcement for the gallery show is spelled out in mint green refrigerator magnets on a black fridge.There are bright yellow and purple flowers off to the left. A photograph of a painting of an anatomical heart is stuck to the fridge with a magnet. ]

Sundays in August
August 23rd and 30th
at 11am, 12pm & 1pm EST
30 minutes

Take 30 minutes of your day to view some of the 63 pieces of art submitted to our art show including 18 artists creating from prison and 27 artists working in solidarity.

Contact to set up ASL or plan a specific tour that fits your schedule. [letsgetfreepa@gmail.com]

Zoom Link for gallery tour at our Link Tree
https://linktr.ee/womeninprison

[Bright purple, pink red and orange make up the water color portrait of a women breaking apart bluish grey bars with the quote, ” Second Chances are first choices for Redemption” – Kristen Edmundson, Kristen is currently serving Life Without Parole at SCI-Muncy. Artwork by Morgan Overton
Categories
Art & Storytelling Events

Virtual Art Opening August 7th

[Image Description: A bright water color portrait of a women’s face looking up representing hope and her arm raised breaking apart bars representing freedom. There are few green leaves woven into her flowing hair representing ‘turning a new leaf’. The text reads End Death by Incarceration Virtual Art Opening – August 7th 7 – 8:30pm. Register at lifecyclestowardfreedom.org Artwork by Morgan Overton]

Our 4th annual art show is going virtual!! Please join us for our online opening on August 7th at 7pm. We will take you on a virtual tour of the End Death By Incarceration Art Show which is also a contest!! 

There are two categories – Artists in Prison and Artists in Solidarity. 6 prizes for each category! Top prize $500. We need you to vote for these People’s Choice Awards!! So far 17 artists in each category have submitted artwork, which means over 30 new original pieces of ART!!!

Nicole Fleetwood who recently published Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration will pass through from 7:30 to 8pm and we will also be graced with one of our favorite artists James Yaya Hough! 

In addition to the virtual tour you will hear from participating artists including from one of our long time friends on the inside Todd ‘Hyung Rae’ Tarselli talking about his submission he made from instant coffee – a portrait of a man in solitary confinement. 

Life Cycles Toward Freedom August Event Series Overview (All events will have live closed captioning and will be lived streamed on youtube. The films are 35 minutes total.)

  • August 7: Friday – 7 – 8:30 pm End Death by Incarceration Art Show
    • Opening Register Here for August 7th
    • Virtually Tour the Art Contest! You can vote and leave a message for the artists!
    • Special Guest: Nicole Fleetwood author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration and artist James Yaya Hough
  • August 11: Tuesday – 7 – 8:30 pm Virtual Film Screening Premier
    • This evening’s special guest is musician BL Shirelle. BL Shirelle knows many of the women featured in the films and is the Deputy Director of Die Jim Crow Records a non profit record label for currently and formerly incarcerated people. BL will be performing a couple songs from the recently released album – Assata Twoi.
    • Register Here for August 11th

  • August 18: Tuesday 7 – 8:30pm Virtual Film Screening
    • Special Guests: Naomi Blount is the 2nd woman to receive commutation in the state of PA in 30 years. (Invited Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Brandon Flood)
    • Register Here for August 18th

  • August 25: Tuesday – 7 – 8:30pm Virtual Film Screening
    • Special Guests: Stanley Mitchell who was released 7 years ago under the 2012 “Unger” Ruling. We will hear how the state of Maryland managed a mass release of aging prisoners.
    • Additional Screening: The Ungers: A Matter of Time 10 minutes
    • Register Here for August 25th
Categories
Art & Storytelling Events

Second Chances for Women Sentenced to Die in PA Prisons – August Film Release

Tameka Flowers is pictured above in this still from “We are more than our worst day” One of the three short films being released this August.

Let’s Get Free and The Women Lifers Resume Project are releasing a multi-media campaign uplifting the stories of women and trans people serving death by incarceration called Life Cycles Toward Freedom. This August, the campaign launch will include a series of virtual film screenings, and in collaboration with Boom Concepts, will host an online art contest. The End Death By Incarceration Art Contest virtually opens on August 7 and runs through the end of October where attendees can take a tour of the art and hear from formerly incarcerated artist James “YaYa” Hough.  

The aims of this project are to raise awareness, build support and to spark dialogue that may change the commutation process.

Each film screening will showcase the latest series of short films produced by Tusko which features currently incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. The films offer unique access to maximum security prison SCI Muncy and SCI Cambridge Springs. The films raise a number of pressing law and order issues: Does the commutation process need updating? Is LWOP out of date? Do these women have more to offer society?

Water color portrait of a women breaking apart bars with the quote, ” Second Chances are first choices for Redemption” – Kristen Edmundson, currently serving Life Without Parole at SCI-Muncy. Artwork by Morgan Overton


On average Pennsylvania spends $42,727 a year per person in prison and this cost jumps to an estimated $52,000 for people over the age of 55. The women featured in the film have served three decades, four decades, and more. Experts agree they represent no threat yet they are left without hope of seeing home again – they are just “dying out loud”.

The film entitled Pennsylvania’s Commutation Process: Naomi Blount’s Experience takes you on one woman’s journey through the lengthy and arduous steps of the commutation process in hope of freedom. Naomi Blount was the second woman to receive commutation in the last 30 years and has been home for one year. Lt. Governor John Fetterman, a leader in PA’s commutation reform, is also featured in this film. 

We Are More Than Our Worst Day, is a powerful 12 minute short that radiates resilience and the power to change that is widespread amongst people with death by incarceration sentences. This poignant vignette features the transformative journeys of Tequilla Fields, a leading church figure, and Tameka Flowers, a dancer, who are both seeking commutation. 


The idea for the film You Deserve Better Than Prison: Messages to Youth from Women Serving Life was that of Avis Lee, who is currently awaiting a public hearing that will decide her freedom. This short piece offers some words of wisdom from women who are spending their life behind bars and warns people about what it’s like in Pennsylvania’s prison system. 

People with life sentences make up the vast majority of the aging prison population, including Alice Green, who will be turning 90 this August. For the many sick and aging individuals in PA prisons, the spread of the Covid virus looms as a threat to life in an environment that is a breeding ground for contagious disease. The commutation process that is supposed to address inappropriate sentencing and offer relief to these individuals has been functionally frozen for more than three decades. This is an immediate crisis inside of the larger crisis of harsh and excessive sentencing; we demand clemency.

The Life Cycles Toward Freedom campaign is made possible by financial support from The Open Society Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Opportunity Fund. 

August 2020 Life Cycles Toward Freedom Calendar of Events

  • August 11: Tuesday – 7 – 8:30 pm Virtual Film Screening Premier
    • Special Guest BL Shirelle: Confirmed!
    • Register Here for August 11th
  • August 18: Tuesday 7 – 8:30pm Virtual Film Screening
    • Special Guests: Naomi Blount
    • [ Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Brandon Flood invited]
    • Register Here for August 18th
  • August 25: Tuesday – 7 – 8:30pm Virtual Film Screening
    • Special Guests: Stanley Mitchell released in 2012 under the “Unger Ruling
    • Additional Screening: The Ungers: A Matter of Time
    • Register Here for August 25th

Categories
Art & Storytelling Events

End Death by Incarceration Art Contest

IMG-2877Details about contest here

Goal: To raise awareness about death by incarceration, particularly uplifting the experiences of women and trans people sentenced to life without parole in Pennsylvania.

Note: Death by Incarceration [DBI] is another way saying Life Without Parole [LWOP]

Theme: We have surveyed all the women and trans lifers in PA serving DBI that we know of, and over 50 people responded. They have sent slogans, messages to the public and ideas for you to use. When you sign up for the contest you will have access to this information to help you in the creation of your art.

We have identified the following topics that we particularly want to uplift, you are encouraged to create your art with one of these focuses in mind: Aging in Prison, Commutation, Compassionate/Medical Release, Restorative Justice, Redemption & Resilience, Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence as it relates to DBI and Crime & Safety. Resources on these topics are here

Who can enter? Anyone can enter. There will be two categories, one for artists in prison and one for artists in solidarity. You can enter more than one piece. Please fill out this form to enter. To sign up an artist you know in prison, fill out their information on the form and we will send them a contest packet.

What is the medium? 2-D images preferred. Painting, drawing, watercolor, screenprint, digital graphic, cross stitch.

What is the size? No bigger than 25” inches by 21”  No smaller than 8.5” by 11” Portrait or Vertical orientation is preferred but not mandatory.

What’s in it for you? All contest submissions will be shown at Boom Concepts for the entire month of August in Pittsburgh, with the show opening on Friday August 7th, 2020 (potentially additional shows)  All participants will receive documentation from the show. Potential prize money. With your consent, your image may end up in a newspaper ad, as a poster or on a city bus. You will be generating awareness about an important cause. We are not planning to sell the art at this time.

When: Contest submissions due by June 30th. (Running late? Contact us)

Mail artwork to: Let’s Get Free – 460 Melwood Ave. #300 Pittsburgh, PA 15213

There is no entry fee. Artists incarcerated in Pennsylvania can be reimbursed for postage cost to mail art.

People’s Choice Cash Prize: There will be two categories: Artists in Prison and Artists in Solidarity. 6 prizes in each category.

1st Place:$500

2nd Place: $250

3rd Place: $100

Honorable Mention: $50 (3 recipients for each category)

Judging: The contest will be judged by the public the entire month of the show. All participants will be notified within a month.

Public Service Announcements: Let’s Get Free will draw from all the entries to pick out designs for the public graphic campaign. This campaign could take the form of posters, bus or newspaper advertisements. In other words, you don’t have to be a Public Choice winner for your art to get turned into an ad.

Contest Organizers: This contest is part of a multi-media public education campaign called Life Cycles Toward Freedom, a collaboration between Let’s Get Free and the Women’s Lifer Resume Project.

Questions? Contact: letsgetfreepa@gmail.com

Contest website: Life Cycles Toward Freedom

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“We are not what we have done. We are who we have become. “–quote by Sheena’ King