“Beyond Bars: Working With and Against the Carceral System through Creative Writing”
The decolonial love issue promotes human awareness beyond the bars of the carceral system. As artists we ask questions like – where does our greatest growth occur? How does learning take place? Where can we share those lessons learned? In a society in which we maintain oppression and inequalities through the use of punishment andviolence, we are in urgent need of transformation and enlightenment.
Stark truths beckon us to hear, acknowledge and respond. As/Us is our response to that urgent need. The journal started with a mission to create more spaces in the world for voices to be shared. We ask: how can we create community that translates off the page? How do stories guide others through their humanity and into decolonial love?
This issue features writers exploring the theme of decolonial love. Some contributions were selected from our open call for submission while others were selected by the co-creators of Just Write (an organization that works with underserved communities in the education sector and those who are incarcerated) and Tria Andrews, who worked with writers from Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.
Our session will involve a brief overview of teaching experiences within the carceral system and the choice to interweave pieces by those who are incarcerated and those who aren’t to address power hierarchies. In this publication, a common thread of humanity weaves its way through themes of addiction, incarceration, domestic and state violence, poverty, hope, love, despair, loss, healing, and survival – all written inside the walls of prisons, some finding their way to us from the depths of solitary confinement.
JustWrite visionaries, Carlos Contreras and Diahndra Grill, will be participating on a panel at the Amnesty International Regional Conference taking place the weekend of November 7th. The panel discussion will take place on Sunday, 11/9, from 10:45am-12pm. The title of the panel is “A beautiful Movement: Building Relationships and Power. This panel will discuss how different types of activism can contribute to a comprehensive human rights movement – be it through art, lobbying, or nonviolent direct action across distinct, yet interconnected, movements. The panelists will share experiences in diverse communities and movements, showing the power of working together for a shared vision of a more just future.
Carlos Contreras, Co-Founder, JustWrite
Diahndra Grill, Co-Founder, JustWrite
Justin Remer-Thamert, Program Director, New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice
Sofia Martinez, Co-Founder, Los Jardines Institute
Sara Schmidt, Amnesty International, Senior Field Organizer
You can find out more information about the workshops, panels, talks and events here: http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/regional-conferences/western-regional-conference We hope to see you at the event! If you’d like to attend, please register here: https://donate.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.campaign.id=30643&ea.client.id=1839&myState=nm and be sure to list JustWrite under the Hosting Committee field.
JustWrite is excited and honored to be collaborating with As/Us, a literary journal and space showcasing creative literary expressions and scholarly work, to publish JustWrite participant’s poetry both online and in a printed version of the journal. You can visit the As/Us website for the current online version http://asusjournal.org/ In the following collection of poetry from incarcerated and formerly incarcerated authors, a common thread of humanity weaves its way through themes of addiction, incarceration, domestic and state violence, poverty, hope, love, despair, loss, healing and survival – all written inside the walls of prisons, some finding their way to us from the depths of solitary confinement. These words are from the hearts, souls, and minds of men who have found the courage and concern to speak and let their voices echo through a society who often dismisses or denies their very existence. Stark truths beckon us to hear, acknowledge and respond. We hope you are inspired as we have been by these courageous writers.
We lived so hard
And so authentically
To Write our lives
My fellow poets
Our hearts shake the world
A constant tremor
We heard the call
And chose not to remain
Now they have our
Hearts in their hands
This is how we pulled them
Into The Conversation
Catch the JustWrite interactive multimedia installation at 516 Arts February through May, Gallery opening on February 1 (6-8pm) at 516 Arts, as part of the Heart of the City project. JustWrite will also be performing on April 26 (7pm) – 516 WORDS: JustWrite Poetry performance.
For details on this event and others check out the digital version of the Heart of the City Program Guide / Exhibition Catalog here: Heart of the City Catalog Web
Tune into KUNM Women’s Focus Saturday (1/25) at 1pm to hear Diahndra talk about the JustWrite Installation and Performance as part of 516 Arts Heart of the City. http://kunm.org/programs/womens-focus
Heart of the City is organized by 516 ARTS, www.516arts.org
JustWrite is partnered with Sandoval County Juvenile Justice System, Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center and Bernalillo High School to begin JustWrite Youth in the Fall 2013 semester. This literary and visual arts program is hosted alongside, but separate from, the JustWrite New Mexico Adult Program on this website, http://nowrongjustwrite.org. Stay tuned for more poetry, art, performance and inspiration from our Youth!
A write exchange:
A poetry reading from a student at Georgetown University.
View more poetry readings in our Media Gallery.
For the full story, visit http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2927455.shtml?
The Lead Facilitators of the JustWrite Program, Carlos Contreras and Diahndra Grill, would like to give a special thanks to the Albuquerque MDC for making this project possible and allowing it to flourish. Thanks also to Wendy Jason and Jiva Manske at Georgetown University for co-facilitating a write exchange between MDC and Georgetown. Thanks to Adriana Ramirez de Arellano for collaborating with JustWrite and allowing Interns to work with us from the Feminism In Action course at the University of New Mexico. Lastly, we’d like to give a big thanks to the talented writers and artists who have chosen to be present and share their voice in this project; you inspire us.
JustWrite on KUNM Espejos de Aztlán program
Lead facilitators and co-founders of JustWrite, Diahndra Grill and Carlos Contreras, join us live to talk about the program and share some pieces from past and current JustWrite participants.
If you missed the live show on 3/25, you can tune in here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/19011218/032513_JustWrite.wav-