Today is a day to celebrate interdependence and embrace the truth that no one truly does anything alone. Welcome to the beginning of our new Guaranteed Basic Income initiative – a Softer Landing Fund.
What is a Softer Landing Fund?
A Softer Landing Fund is a guaranteed income initiative that will distribute recurring cash payments with no strings attached to 10 formerly incarcerated people who are connected with Let’s Get Free. This pilot initiative will last one year and prioritize women returning from long sentences. The initial cohort will be invited to participate by Let’s Get Free’s board and volunteers.
We want to join with the 80 programs across the US in this international practice of distributing cash – no strings attached – to people who need it most.
We named our project A Softer Landing because even if you have a lot of support coming home from prison it is still very hard. There is the idea that often when you leave prison you enter into “financial incarceration”. You have to pay to be on parole, pay for unnecessary urine tests, face employment and housing barriers from felony status, you may be ordered to pay court and restitution fees and experience exclusion from social welfare programs, and more.
On top of financial obstacles and fees there is the unquantifiable cost of what prison does and the cost of living your life under surveillance. For example, having to get permission to leave the county, having to relive your crime every time you apply for a job or try to rent an apartment. This creates a lot of stress which impacts the health of the body and the mind.
Help us raise $50,000 – our largest community fundraising effort to date!
Organizers hope to raise $50,000 for this inaugural fund, distributing a total of $4,320 to 10 people over 1 year in monthly payments of $365.
It costs people in Pennsylvania roughly $30 a month to be on parole – that’s $1 a day for the general supervision charge. We are using this number symbolically as the amount participants will receive and will give an extra $365 on top of the year to spite the accrued annual fee!
May a thousand basic income programs bloom until income is no longer needed to live!
Artists were asked to create work around the ideas of home and relationships to create a show that encapsulates the feeling of home: What does home look like? Feel like? A space? A state of mind?
The call was to create things that literally glowed. People were encouraged to create work with ships and pun off concepts like relationSHIP, friendSHIP, leaderSHIP, etc.
Glow Home is an homage to friends old and new recently released from prison and a prayer that our loved ones still behind bars will be home soon. There will be an altar where you can leave something for a loved one who you wish to come home.
Over 60 artists from both sides of the prison walls have submitted provocative pieces utilizing ceramics, photography, textiles, beadwork, silk screen, collage, stained glass, digital drawing, water colors etc. There are close to 100 pieces of art up for auction benefiting the work of this local prison advocacy group. The opening and auction will take place on October 4th from 6 – 10pm with the auction closing at 9pm. The show will stay up through October 26th.
Click on photos below a for a quick preview slide show. Click here for more information on Glow Home
Overview of October Events
Gallery Hours for Glow Home October 4th – 26th Gallery Hours are every Thursday thru Saturday 1- 7pm and Sundays 1-4pm Gallery Hours are suspended during events. Check Boom’s Calendar
Liberate our Imaginations: A Vital Step Towards a World Without Prisons October 12th – 12 – 3pm – Saturday
A 3 hour participatory workshop With Kempis Ghani Songster & etta cetera
Back by popular demand, Ghani Songster returns from Philly to lead an interactive space in effort to free ourselves from the mental chains that inhibit our progress. Ghani believes that our salvation hinges on our ability to liberate our imagination. etta says, “It’s gonna be like going to the gym for your mind.” How do we stay connected to the bigger movement of abolition?
Words and Songs by Naomi Blount,(Pending Travel Permission but we are speaking it into existence!) Followed by a Panel Discussion:Impact of DA’s Office on Incarcerated Women with Lisa Middleman and local community leaders.
October 19th – 12pm – 3pm Saturday @ Boom Concepts – 5139 Penn Ave
Free Lunch served at 1 pm
Naomi Blount, 69, is the second Pennsylvania woman to receive commutation in nearly three decades after serving 35 years of a life sentence. Released this past July, Naomi will share reflections of her experiences from prison to the commutation process as well as lift up the women she left behind. Community leaders and Lisa Middleman, candidate for District Attorney, will then convene for a panel to speak on the impact that the DA’s office has on people impacted by the criminal injustice system. The event will conclude with a musical performance by Naomi.
Collective Donations towards Collective Liberation!
Sign Up to be a sustaining donor during the month of October to help us reach our goal of 50 new monthly sustainers! You will receive a special Thank You Gift of your choosing including limited edition artwork or a bouncing baby house plant (Pittsburgh only:)
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 stypens as well as transportation costs to visit prisons, the state capitol and faraway meetings and conferences.
Our goal is to sign up:
20 Sustainers @ $5 a month
15 Sustainers @ $10 a month
10 Sustainers @ $15 a month
5 Sustainers @ $20 a month
5 Sustainers @ $25 a month
If achieved would raise collectively $575 a Month. Simply click the donate button and check the “recurring donation box”
Come to Harrisburg with the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration
Join us for a free screening of Prison in 12 Landscapes on Wednesday April 18 at 6pm at the Melwood Screening Room – 477 Melwood Ave.
Following the film showing, there will be a Q&A with the film’s director, who will be joined by members of Let’s Get Free and Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration.
Immediately after the film showing and across the street, there will be a dance party where the fundraising for Let’s Get Free will continue. Join us for one or both events! Food and drinks will be available for sale at the dance party benefit.
Save the Date! Criminal Justice Candidate Forum, May 7
We are very excited to be participating in a criminal justice system focused Candidate Forum in advance of the PA state legislature primary on May 15. Please join us, especially if you live in one of the four districts that will be represented, to ensure that the critical issues facing our communities are acknowledged and addressed by our legislative representatives-to-be!
C O N T R A B A N D: Art Show and Fundraiser for Prison Justice
Opening Event: Friday April 7, 2017
6 – 10pm – Art Auction – Over 30 Framed Pieces
7pm Curator Talk, Campaign Overview, Singing and Speakers
Boom Gallery Open Hours in April – Tuesdays 5-9pm Fridays 12-6pm
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 will feature 6 of these delicate leaf paintings illustrating detailed images of animals and nature. Incarcerated as a teenager, Hyung-Rae has served 25 years of a life sentence.
Fawn by Hyung- Rae
Budda by Hyung-Rae
Racoon by Hung-Rae
Wolf by Hyung-Rae
Self Portrait 2003 – Todd Hyung-Rae
Schematics of Solitary cell by Hyung-Rae
Sands of Solitary by Hyung -Rae
At 7pm on Friday April 7th there will be speakers and songs including family members of people serving life, survivors of violence who support the campaign, readings from the writings of those sentenced to life as juveniles, and information on the Campaign to End Death by Incarceration.
The exhibit will showcase artists from both sides of the prison walls including Mary Dewitt’s profoundly moving portraits of women serving life in PA. Illustrations describing prison conditions and self portraits by incarcerated artists from The Prison Poster Project (PPP) will also be displayed. The PPP was a collaboration between artists across the razor wire to create a teaching tool about the prison industrial complex. There is a special portrait of Ce Ce McDonald painted by political prisoner Marius Mason. Now released, CeCe gained national attention for defending herself from a racist and transphobic attack and was sentenced to 4 years.
Portrait of Brenda by Mary Dewitt
Portrait of Ce Ce McDonald by Marius Mason
Education not Incarceration by Merideth Stern
Pencil Illustration by Maurice Scott
Mental Health Care in prison by Michael Mendoza
Death Penalty by Duane Motney
A life-size solitary confinement cell will also stand in the gallery, the walls of which are made from letters written from people incarcerated to Book ‘Em, Pittsburgh’s books to prisoner program. Projected on the walls of the cell will be a slideshow of women serving life presented by the Women Lifers Resume Project. There are approximately 200 women serving life; some were sentenced as teenagers and some were commuted from death and many are in their 4th decade of imprisonment.
There are over 30 brilliant framed pieces of art for sale and still more unframed pieces. Outside artists include: Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Merideth Stern, Jim Kidd, Alisha Wormsley, Bec Young, Leslie Stem, Ellen Melchiondo, Josh Macphee, Shaun Slifer, KT Tierney and Vanessa Adams. These are just a few of the many brilliant artists that have donated pieces. Justseeds donated hundreds of dollars of lino cuts and screen prints by artists including: Jesus Barraza, Fernando Martí, Kristine Virsis, Favianna Rodriguez, Mary Tremonte, Melanie Cervantes, Melanie Cervantes.
Save the date of Saturday April 22nd – 2pm, for an interfaith panel exploring how local religious institutions have influenced the transformation of society throughout history until the present, from the movement to abolish slavery through prison justice. Marcus Rediker will share stories from his latest book about the Quaker abolitionist Benjamin Lay, who in the early eighteenth century saw the destructive connections among slavery, race, incarceration, and capital punishment. Other panelists are still being confirmed.