Monday, March 11th from 7:30pm to 8:30pm
Want to learn more about prison abolition? Looking to explore the role of information in the prison industrial complex? Excited to discuss ways we can collectively offer resources to address violence caused by mass incarceration? Join the club (literally!). The Prison Library Support Network is collaborating with METRO to host Abolitionist Futures: A PLSN Discussion Group, which will meet quarterly on the second Monday of the month at 7:30pm.
In 2024, we will continue to curate a rotating calendar of media resources for discussion, including: books, podcasts, videos, zines, and more! We’re also re-committing to the “futures” part of our discussion group by intentionally building in time during each meeting to share actionable steps for practicing everyday abolition.
Also new in 2024! We’re aiming to be joined by special guest facilitators (authors, librarians, and more) with a range of experiences relating to prison abolition. More details to come!
If you’re on our PLSN listserv, you’ll receive information throughout the year on how to join each discussion group, who our featured guest will be, and which materials we’d like you to engage with before joining. As a reminder, both upcoming discussion content and past years of discussion materials can be found on this doc.
Join us for the first Abolitionist Futures meeting of the year: Artistic Expressions From The Inside. Engage with visual, written, and performance art created by incarcerated individuals; and hear from special guest, journalist Emily Nonko, about her work as director of the Writing for Liberation track of Empowerment Avenue, a collective founded in 2020 to support incarcerated writers and artists. Emily will discuss inside-outside organizing strategies, how to support the creative work of incarcerated people while centering their voice and agency, and fairly compensating incarcerated folks. She will be joined in the second half of the discussion with incarcerated journalist Kwaneta Harris.
As always, our discussion materials are free to access and contain a variety of media formats. Before joining the meeting please read, listen to, and explore these materials:
- The Only Door I Can Open, virtual art exhibition - CLOSES MARCH 3RD
- The Underprivileged Oasis, art exhibit by Alvin Smith
- Artist statement and gallery of trans incarcerated artist Shelly Levy
- Kwaneta Harris' writing
- The Empowerment Avenue Substack compiles the art and writing from the Empowerment Avenue collective once a month
- "Inside Music" Ear Hustle podcast episode (48 min)
- Prison Art: Drawing is an Outlet and and Source of Income for Incarcerated People
- Free Minds poetry blog
About our guests:
Emily Nonko is the Director of Writing for Liberation for Empowerment Avenue. She is also a social justice and solutions oriented journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. A visit to San Quentin State Prison in 2018 changed the trajectory of her career and she would go on to work closely with the journalists there to help bring their writing outside prison walls. After co-founding Empowerment Avenue with Rahsaan "New York" Thomas, she has overseen the outside logistics of Writing for Liberation, is the co-editor of the Press in Prison guidebook, and has advised countless publications and journalists on how to meaningfully work with and transfer power to incarcerated writers.
Kwaneta Harris is a former nurse, business owner and expat, now incarcerated journalist. She brings experiences from each profession to illuminate how the experience of being incarcerated in the largest state prison in Texas is vastly different for women in ways that directly map onto a culture rooted in misogyny. Her powerful and shocking stories expose how the intersection of gender, race and place contribute to state-sanctioned, gender-based violence.
Please review METRO's Code of Conduct, our Statement on Viewpoints, and details on Interpreter Services here.