“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.