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ICOPA 17 Information Packet Title page[2]

Click HERE to download the HTML document of the conference schedule and open it up on Microsoft Word.

ICOPA 17 CONFERENCE INFORMATION PACKET

Welcome to the 17th International Conference on Penal Abolition!

Our chosen theme is Abolition and its Ghosts: Historic Memory and Ongoing Struggles Against Slavery and Colonialism. With this theme we recognize and honor the Wampanoag nation that spans the regions we know as southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island. We honor the longstanding abolitionist and Underground Railroad histories of New Bedford. We honor the ancestors who lived here before Europe’s genocide and militarized occupation of these territories. We honor the ancestors who liberated themselves from Europe’s enslavement and joined the abolitionist communities of New Bedford. UMass Dartmouth and Bristol County Community College occupy their land and sit within walking distance of their homes, meeting locations and places of work. We thank the New Bedford Historical Society and Rufai Shardow for working with us to make these sites and histories accessible to you. Please locate the points in the program that take you to these sites and sign up to visit if you wish to honor them while you are here.

We invite you to join us in dedicating the next few days towards bringing to surface the historic institutions and precarious intentions that founded and made possible the rise of criminal justice regimes and the deadly mechanisms of their powers worldwide. Tying our theme to historic memory and histories of enslavement and colonial conquest disallows us from engaging with penal abolition in manners that deny or minimize the foundational properties of the problems at hand. We encourage you to reflect upon and work towards articulating the veto-power-position that white supremacy holds at each point of the process required to birth and institute the repressive economic, cultural and gendering bodies of the criminal justice system. As we bring to surface these deeply entrenched foundations we simultaneously resist their powers. We do so by centering and upholding the voices and experiences of the people, communities and nations that colonialism, slavery and the criminal justice system exploit and brutalize in the process of (re)generating illegitimate wealth and power.

We acknowledge the divisions and battles that white supremacy, heteropatriarchy and Europe’s imperialist economies have instituted and do not claim abolitionism as a space void of these dangers. These are issues that have plagued abolitionist thought and organizing from its very inception: we stand today haunted by the shadowed realities of this violence and affected by its ensuing legacies. However, we do not stand in fear. We encourage you to begin the process of facing these ghosts so that you can begin to understand the impact they have had on our relationships to each other and this movement.

As we begin to consider penal abolition through these lenses we allow ourselves to acknowledge and understand the entirety of that which we seek to abolish, thereby positioning ourselves into stronger possibilities for victory.

Let’s do this!   Ⓒ V.Saleh-Hanna, 2017

ICOPA 17 Goals

To expose and decode the root issues that gave rise to the penal system while centering penal abolition as a strategy for liberation.

To inspire understandings of the compounding, repeated, and present manifestations of slavery and colonialism in relation to the carceral state by honoring and drawing upon the strength of our abolitionist ancestors.

To center the lived experiences and perspectives of those most impacted by the penal system: currently and formerly incarcerated people, folks with loved ones in prison and detention centers, system-involved folks, people of color, queer and trans folks, Muslim and immigrant communities, people with disabilities including mental health, youth, low income, and homeless people.

To connect to and strengthen international links to penal abolition, while calling for international solidarity for the liberation struggles of oppressed people within the US. Highlight and support local abolitionist organizing initiatives in New Bedford and North Dartmouth.

To utilize a conference structure and format that supports accessibility, solution oriented feedback, critical self-reflection, productive strategizing, and loving and healing relational practices while emphasizing collectivism and collaboration.

Plenary: Speakers, Performers and Healers

Donna Edmonds Mitchell

Donna Edmonds Mitchell is the steward of the Perry Clan Homestead of Watuppa Reservation in Fall River, Massachusetts. She is rooted in the Wampanoag traditions of ceremony and spirituality. She continues to inspire and encourage all peoples of all races and all genders to reach their highest potential as they journey through life.

Janetta Johnson

Janetta Johnson is the Executive Director of the TGI Justice Project. She has developed a grassroots reentry program with a focus on recidivism and reentry, she is a member of the Bay Area chapter of Black Lives Matter, and is dedicated to ending capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy, and building the organizing capacity of trans and gender non-conforming communities of color as a trans warrior. Janetta uses she/her pronouns.

Monica James

Monica James is the National Organizer of Black and Pink as well as a collective member of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois. Monica has survived years of police targeting including being confined in the maximum security section of Cook County Jail more than 100 times. In 2007, with legal and community support, she fought trumped up charges following a brutal assault by police. In 2014 she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the UN to the severe abuses inflicted by cops and courts on trans women of color. Monica uses she/her pronouns.

Woods Ervin

Woods Ervin is a black genderqueer trans person and organizer. Woods is currently doing active work to dismantle the prison industrial complex and come up with transformative practices for addressing legacies of community and systemic harm with the TGI Justice Project and Critical Resistance. Woods uses they/them pronouns.

Everett Hoagland

Poet Laureate New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1994-1998, and Emeritus Professor, English Department, UMass Dartmouth.

Harriet’s Apothecary: Adaku Utah, Naima Johnson & Kiyan Williams

Harriet’s Apothecary is an intergenerational healing village led by the brilliance and wisdom of Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, activists and ancestors. Founded by Harriet Tubman and Adaku Utah on April 6, 2014, Harriet’s Apothecary is committed to co-creating accessible, affordable, liberatory, all-body loving, all-gender honoring, community healing spaces that recognize, inspire, and deepen the healing genius of people who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of color and the allies that love us.

Erik Andrade

Erik Andrade is a Cape Verdean and Irish American father, artist, and organizer living in New Bedford. In 2016, Erik organized for the international Hip Hop 4 Flint fundraising initiative that took place in 47 cities including New Bedford. Erik served as national organizer and performer for the Mni Wiconi Universal Benefit Concert in Standing Rock, a fundraising effort that raised 1.7 million dollars for the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe’s legal fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Erik is also the founder of La Soul Renaissance a New Bedford creative arts and social justice collaborative with 15 years of organizing history in the region.  He is heading to Denver for the 2017 National Poetry Slam this August as a member of the Lizard Lounge Slam team in Cambridge.

James Mackey

Founder of Stuck on Replay, an organization in Boston with imprisoned members in Norfolk. Stuck on Replay’s mission is to elevate voices and uplift communities impacted most by mass incarceration through community forums and civic leadership to change public policy.

Derrick Washington

Derrick Washington is a political activist currently imprisoned at MCI Norfolk. Derrick is the founder of the Emancipation Initiative, a movement bringing awareness to the unconstitutionality of life without the possibility of parole sentences. As a member of the ICOPA 17 organizing committee, Derrick will provide a call to action that aims to inspire participants to critically engage with penal abolitionist activities post-conference

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson will be performing poems from “Dear Mr. President,” a performance piece that centered around the experience of being incarcerated yet doesn’t leave out the reality of poverty and decision that are made to lead to incarceration or its aftermath. Christopher Johnson is an artist and educator based in Providence, RI.  Most recently, Christopher was a collaborator in the creation and performance of Freedom Project, a devised performance focusing on the effects of mass incarceration. Expression is his activism

Viviane Saleh-Hanna

Viviane Saleh-Hanna is Associate Professor and Chairperson of Crime and  Justice Studies at UMass Dartmouth. She is also an affiliate of Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. She has dedicated her career to the fight for imprisoned people’s struggles and the overall battle for penal abolition. She has worked with prisoners in Canada, the United States, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt. Her most recent work turn our attention towards the haunted and haunting relationships that criminal justice has with slavery and colonialism. She attended her first ICOPA in 1997 in New Zealand. This 20 year journey has shaped her life and work in more ways than can be named.

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. He is a facilitator/designer at The Banff Centre, and for the past 13 years was the Coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus is the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17).  As a visual artist, Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. He is a prison abolitionist, is a former member of Friends of MOVE Toronto and the Prisoners’ Justice Action Project, and is one of the organizers of Toronto’s Prisoners’ Justice Day events. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership and activism (2012). Syrus’ writings on trans health, disability studies and activism are part of curricula at City University of New York, York University, and Ryerson University. Syrus holds degrees in Art History, Visual Studies and a Masters in Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto. Syrus is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

Lacresha Berry

Lacresha Berry, better known as Berry, is a singer/songwriter, actress, poet, educator, and writer from Queens by way of Lexington, Kentucky. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky in 2003.

Tufayal Kaseem Amir

Imprisoned poet and rapper. Brilliant thinker. The first line in Tufayal’s submission for ICOPA 17 captured the essence of this conference more than anything the ICOPA 17 reviewing committee had read in the many submissions received from all over the world: “Have you ever seen death in the flesh? The beginning line to a song I had written a few years ago. My thought behind that line stemmed from a feeling that I had at the time. It had occurred to me at the time that no one was listening to me. That I was in a room, all alone, unable to leave on my own. I was writing and rapping to myself with no audience. No one was listening. It was as if I was dead”. Tufayal, we read this, and the rest of your poem to an audience of 200 people. We hear you. You are valued.

ZuKrewe – hip hop performance

ZuKrewe, AS220’s youth-led artist collective, uses music, art and popular culture to create social change by designing year-long multi-media campaigns that address these issues. At the end of the year, ZuKrewe presents their work in the form of a show, installation and/or public art piece. They also facilitate justice workshops, participate in rallies and volunteer time to support social causes around the community.

Conference Schedule – with descriptions

________________________

WEDNESDAY, JULY 26

6:30pm ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from UMass Dartmouth Lot 11 (near Willow residences), arriving at Cape Verdean Veterans Hall, New Bedford    

7pm – 9pm

Pre-Conference Gathering

Cape Verdean Veteran’s Hall: 561 Purchase St, New Bedford, MA, 02740

  • Conference Registration
  • Opportunity to meet and get to know ICOPA 17 participants
  • Light appetizers will be served

9:15pm ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from Cape Verdean Veterans Hall, arriving at UMass Dartmouth Lot 11 (near Willow Residences)

________________________

THURSDAY, JULY 27

8:30am ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from Fairfield Inn & Suites in New Bedford, arriving at UMass Dartmouth Campus Center    

Thursday, 9am – 11:30am

Opening Plenary and Ceremony

UMass Dartmouth, Main Auditorium

Invocation and Permission to be on the land — Donna Edmonds Mitchell

Donna Edmonds Mitchell is the steward of the Perry Clan Homestead of Watuppa Reservation in Fall River, Massachusetts. She is rooted in the Wampanoag traditions of ceremony and spirituality. She continues to inspire and encourage all peoples of all races and all genders to reach their highest potential as they journey through life.

Keynote address: Leading From The Margins: Black Trans Women In the Fight Against State Sanctioned Violence in the U.S.

Join the opening plenary as we hear from two of the most prolific leaders in the fight against policing and incarceration in the United States today. Both Janetta Johnson and Monica James have survived the violence of incarceration and have dedicated their lives to the abolition of the penal system worldwide. Moderated by Woods Ervin, Janetta and Monica will be in conversation to share their analysis, current work, and visions for our movement for a world free from prisons.

Janetta Johnson

Janetta Johnson is the Executive Director of the TGI Justice Project. She has developed a grassroots reentry program with a focus on recidivism and reentry, she is a member of the Bay Area chapter of Black Lives Matter, and is dedicated to ending capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy, and building the organizing capacity of trans and gender non-conforming communities of color as a trans warrior. Janetta uses she/her pronouns.

Monica James

Monica James is the National Organizer of Black and Pink as well as a collective member of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois. Monica has survived years of police targeting including being confined in the maximum security section of Cook County Jail more than 100 times. In 2007, with legal and community support, she fought trumped up charges following a brutal assault by police. In 2014 she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the UN to the severe abuses inflicted by cops and courts on trans women of color. Monica uses she/her pronouns.

Woods Ervin

Woods Ervin is a black genderqueer trans person and organizer. Woods is currently doing active work to dismantle the prison industrial complex and come up with transformative practices for addressing legacies of community and systemic harm with the TGI Justice Project and Critical Resistance. Woods uses they/them pronouns.

Poetry

Everett Hoagland, Poet Laureate New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1994-1998, and Emeritus Professor, English Department, UMass Dartmouth.

Grounding

Harriet’s Apothecary: Adaku Utah, Naima Johnson, Kiyan Williams

Harriet’s Apothecary is an intergenerational healing village led by the brilliance and wisdom of Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, activists and ancestors. Founded by Harriet Tubman and Adaku Utah on April 6, 2014, Harriet’s Apothecary is committed to co-creating accessible, affordable, liberatory, all-body loving, all-gender honoring, community healing spaces that recognize, inspire, and deepen the healing genius of people who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of color and the allies that love us.

Harriet’s Apothecary is offering 2 Healing spaces for ICOPA 17. An open space for healing and honoring our ancestors is located in front of the Art Exhibition room on the lower level Room 050. A more private and quiet healing space is available in Room 340. — find more info on this in the Community Resources section of this program.

Thursday, 11:30am – 12pm

Transition to Bristol Community College

11:45am ICOPA bus departure

  • Departing from UMass Dartmouth campus center arriving at Bristol Community College

Thursday, 12pm – 1pm

Lunch

Bristol Community College Room 118

Lunch meet-up

For all interpreters and participants interested in language interpretation. (Pick up your lunch in Room 118 first)

Room 216

A Guided Journey through Time: New Bedford’s Underground Railroad

Sign up in Room 118 ahead of time, space is limited.

Meet in Room 118 @ 12:45pm

Rufai Shardow

New Bedford was home to many Africans who escaped enslavement in the south. The whaling industry was key to New Bedford’s economy and inadvertently accommodated communication between Black laborers in New Bedford, enslaved Africans in the south and many involved in the underground railroad along the way. This, along with New Bedford’s strong Abolitionist communities comprised of free/escaped Africans, White abolitionists and Quakers produced the perfect confluence for New Bedford to become a key site of anti-slavery organizing and resistance. Amongst those who lived and worked in New Bedford are Frederick and Anna Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson, Thomas H. Jones, and Paul Cuffee. These guided walks are an opportunity for you to walk through New Bedford’s historic neighborhoods with Rufai Shardow so that you can visit, honor and pay homage to the histories, places and people here. This tour is wheelchair accessible. 25 people capacity, first come first served. Sign up at the registration table in Room 118.

Rufai Shardow was raised in Accra, Ghana and is an alumn of Crime and Justice Studies and Black Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He has been a Park Guide and Volunteer Lead at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park since 2014. He gives walking tours on the history of New Bedford — Whaling and the Underground Railroad.

Thursday, 1pm – 3:15pm

Abolitionist theory into action: corruption, transgression, responsibility, and meaningful change Room 311

  • “Escaping the logic of “crime”: from blaming to taking responsibility” David Scott

This paper draws upon the insights of Louk Housman to question the ontological reality of criminal harm and the moral philosophy of Enrique Dussel to highlight the limitations of criminal blame.  The paper concludes by arguing that our response  to wrongdoing should be informed by a forward looking ethics emphasising the importance of taking responsibility

  • “Transgression and Standard Theory: Contributions toward Penal Abolition” Michael Coyle

In this paper I propose a transgression theory and a standard theory toward penal abolition that challenge the foundational language (construction) and theory of “criminal justice” logic that ignore the continuity of the past in the present (white supremacy, neocolonialism, racial capitalism, and gendering enslavement), and that fortify discourse and practice from recognizing, eliminating and standing accountable by rectifying centuries of white privilege, heteronormativity, and the oppression of nonwhite bodies.

  • “Confessions of Corruption” Tamara Hinkle

Tamara Hinkle has been imprisoned at the California Institution for Women in Corona, CA for the last twenty-two years, offers commentary on the corruption of prison guards and the impossible cycle of exploitation that female prisoners find themselves in.

  • “Restorative Justice: A practical move towards meaningful change” Steven “Farooq” Quinlan

A member of MCI-Norfolk Prisoner’s Restorative Justice Group, Steven “Farooq” Quinlan examines what he describes as the “unlikely collaborative group of incarcerated men, criminal justice practitioners, victims/survivors of violent crime, and prominent community leaders” and the significance of their work in relation to the history and ideologies of restorative justice and a social-justice landscape that is becoming increasingly aware of the need for such alternative methods of addressing and healing from harm.

  • “The Beat Goes On: Yesterday’s Lessons, Today’s Challenges” Robert Chan

Writing from inside, Robert Chan provides an examination of the path from slavery to convict leasing to chain gangs to penal farms to the modern prison industrial complex, the profiteers who have long benefitted from such systems, and forms for solidarity needed to combat these systems.

Exploiting the Middle Passage: Forced Movement and the Arts of Carceral Resistance

Michael Brown, Yusef Qualls-El and Frederick Williams Room 312

This panel will present an active collaboration with currently incarcerated poets, artists, educators and abolitionists. We will introduce our collective, elaborate on the present day manifestations of “the politics of erasure” taking place in Detroit and throughout Michigan, and then introduce the tools and techniques of adaptive abolitionism, with the hope furthering the connections between the growing rhizomes of prison resistance across the US and abroad. The panel will feature call-in presentations from 4 currently incarcerated artists and activists along with selections of poetry and art from incarcerated men and women across the state of Michigan

Life Without the Possibility of Parole

Rachel Corey (Emancipation Initiative) Room 219

The Emancipation Initiative was founded inside MCI-Norfolk as a multi-racial, multi-generational group of people most impacted by crime and incarceration – incarcerated people and their loved ones. The dual goals of the Emancipation Initiative are to end the sentence of life without parole – the harshest sentence in Massachusetts – and return the right to vote for people who are incarcerated.

Empowering our Feminine: Breaking Down the Prisons of Our Minds

Donna Mitchell Room 314

Life is filled with many twists and turns — some good, some not so good; some because of what others have done to us or what we have done to ourselves.  It’s time to breakdown the walls that imprisons our bodies, minds, and spirits.  Together we will rise! This workshop is transinclusive.

National Jail Fighters Gathering

Lisa Marie Alatorre and Toby Kramer Room 313

Construction of new and bigger jails is a new trend in the growth of the U.S.-based prison system. Join organizers and activists from around the country to share information and strategy. This interactive session has 3 main goals: 1. Map jail construction and resistance; 2. Connect local jail fights to larger abolition movement and work; 3. Share questions, strategies, and ideas for stopping the construction of cages and the allocation of resources to prisons and police.

Thursday, 1pm – 2pm

Exposing Systems of Torture at Norfolk

Kazi Toure Room 216

Massachusetts Correctional facilities have one of the highest rates of prisoner and guard suicides in the entire country.  In this workshop, participants will learn about some of the human rights abuses and even criminal activity that takes place in Norfolk. Information will also be shared about current campaign efforts to expose these abuses and how activists are working to address them.  Kazi Toure is a former political prisoner and former National Co-Chair of The Jericho Movement.

Care Not Cages: Dismantling the Largest Prison and Jail Building Projects in the History of the World

Amber-Rose Howard and Ivette Ale Room 213

CURB has put together an interactive and informative workshop that will explain why California cannot build its way out of it’s imprisonment crisis, why incarceration must matter to those with and without people locked up and what other organizations can do to dismantle a quarter century of the largest prison and jail building projects in history.

Visit The Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson House, former home of Frederick Douglass *historic home is not wheelchair accessible

Sign up in Room 118 ahead of time, space is limited. Meet in Room 118 @ 12:45pm and walk to The Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson House

Nathan and Mary Johnson were free blacks living in New Bedford, Massachusetts, who owned a block of properties including their longtime home and the neighboring old Friends meetinghouse. Nathan Johnson was an active abolitionist who assisted numerous fugitive slaves, including famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Mary Polly funded much of their expenses for the house through her anti-slavery candy store which specialized in sweets that divested from slave grown products, including sugar. The Johnson home was Douglass’s first residence after his escape from slavery in 1838–the only one of Douglass’s three homes in New Bedford that remains today.

Thursday, 2pm – 3:15pm

Taking Away the Power of Criminal Charges: Combating State Repression to Strengthen Our Movements

Jude Ortiz Room 213

This presentation and discussion are based on the goal-setting framework in the recently published book, A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant. The Tilted Scales Collective is on tour with this comprehensive guide for radicals about handling criminal charges in ways that can strengthen revolutionary struggles. This workshop will include case studies to illustrate components of the goal-setting framework and community discussion to delve deep into topics affecting participants.

Through Barbed Wire*: Challenges of Maintaining and Nurturing Healthy Relationships With Family, Friends, and Community During the Incarceration Period

Arnie King Room 216

This presentation will be a participatory circle where former prisoners and their family and friends will speak on the theme based on their own experience, and the Through Barbed Wire* members will speak about the community-based 4th Friday series and the ways in which it functions to nurture these relationships while lessening the interpersonal challenges.

*Through Barbed Wire was created by Arnie King to (re)establish and maintain ties to our neighborhoods and to offer and provide genuine service to society.  Due to the heavy chains around our hands and feet, as well as CORI and other “stigmas”, such efforts face severe restrictions.  These obstacles can be lessened, and eventually eliminated, with virtues of honesty, open-mindedness and willingness flowing through barbed wire into the community.

Sisters In Stitches Joined By The Cloth

Susi Ryan Basement Exhibition Room 050

An interactive workshop with Sisters In Stitches Joined By The Cloth, New England’s only quilt guild dedicated to preserving and honoring the Art, History, and Tradition of African-American quilting throughout the African Diaspora since 1997.  It is the intent of SISJBTC, quilt guild members to present story quilts that reflect the history and memories of our Enslaved Ancestors and their descendants continuous struggle for freedom, equality and justice.  We firmly believe that many patterns, shapes colors, and symbols used in African-American quilting are based on rites of passage by our Enslaved Ancestors. We also believe that many of the symbols and patterns have been passed through historic memory to help guide runaway slaves to freedom via The Underground Railroad.  Our quilts have been displayed at numerous Art Galleries, Museums, Colleges and Universities, Folk Festivals, Academies, Scholarship Teas, Churches, and City Halls throughout New England. It is always and honor for us to present, demonstrate, teach, and speak about our quilt making and telling our Ancestral stories in Cloth.

Thursday, 3:30pm  – 5pm

Within the shadows of Life and Death: childbirth, death and living death behind bars Room 311

  • “Towards an Abolitionist Epistemology: The Epistemology of Ignorance, Reproductive Justice and the Treatment of Pregnant Women in Canadian Provincial Prisons” Harry Critchley

In the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia, the broad discretion afforded to provincial prison administrators in the carrying out of health-related policies creates the regulatory conditions under which incarcerated women are routinely denied adequate prenatal and natal care and, at the same time, the epistemic (that is, relating to knowledge production and transmission) conditions under which this fact cannot be demonstrably proven in any reliably generalizable sense. Drawing on recent scholarship concerning the “epistemology of ignorance,” I analyze the laws and policies governing corrections in these two provinces to illustrate how deliberate gaps in knowledge are exploited by Departments of Corrections for the purpose of disguising systemic issues relating to the provision of health services.

  • “Childbirth in Chains: Reproduction and Punishment in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” Mary Lipscomb

The Massachusetts Anti-Shackling Law passed in 2014 and set a variety of standards of care for incarcerated women who are pregnant, in labor, and postpartum. Among these standards are strict limits on the practice of shackling these women when they are transported to hospital visits and court dates. In 2016, Prisoners’ Legal Services and the Prison Birth Project found what they described as universal noncompliance with the law. This presentation places the passage of the Anti-Shackling Law and subsequent noncompliance in the context of prison abolition as a reproductive justice issue.

  • “Worthless Potential” Tamara Hinkle

This spoken word piece by Tamara Hinkle, a prisoner at California Institution for Women in Corona, CA for the last twenty-two years, is a meditation on the harmful and contradictory messages that Black women are faced within society.

  • “Before I be a slave, I’ll be buried in my Grave.” and “War Cry” Garfield Patterson

Two poems by Garfield Patterson, a prisoner inside the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, NY discusses the need for memory, education, and representation in the fight against slavery and colonialism.

Detrimental Assumptions About Our Penal System

Tim Muise Room 312

Many have no idea about the history of rehabilitation in Massachusetts. The history seminar will give a direct description of why this history is important to any viable abolition movement.

This is war: criminal justice as occupation in the afterlife of colonial conquest

Room 314

  • “Why Political Prisoners Matter”Ashanti Alston

Questioning the integrity and authenticity of contemporary movements that ignore the struggles of political prisoners captured in the 1960s and 1970s. A National Jericho Movement perspective.

  • “Dismantling the Slavery to Prison Pipeline” Viviane Saleh-Hanna

A visual journey through Europe’s architectural development of slave dungeons upon West African soil and white supremacy’s cumulative journey from auction blocks to courtroom and plantations to penitentiaries.

  • “Bitter Truth: Slavery, Oppression & the Penal System” John Kosmetatos

A poem and paper from John Kosmetatos, who was, until June 5th in the Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone, NY. His current location is unknown. The presentation begins with the poem “Stronger Than Their Cage”, “an original composition of traditional rhymed verse centered upon withstanding the oppression of the penal system, exposing the “cage” for what it really is and showing them that we are stronger than their cage”. The paper follows: “an essay sharing a few of the struggles faced by prisoners and the psychological effects incarceration has, as well as exposing tactics used by these establishments to promote an agenda of oppression and slavery. An in-depth look into the necessary actions that need to be taken to strike a crippling blow to the Prison Industrial Complex.”

  • “Untitled” Hanif Bey

Hanif Bey is a political prisoner, currently at the Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, AZ. In this essay he discusses the history of colonization and resistance in the Virgin Islands and the continued criminalization of Black and Indigenous inhabitants.

  • “Poem called Revolution,” by Makaveli Shaqur-Myrick

A poem, followed by a short story about a young, inspirational political prisoner that discovered answers and potential solutions to the domestic concerns that oppressed, exploited, and marginalized his people, from Makaveli Shaqur-Myrick, currently at the Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone, NY.

Profiles in Abolition

Critical Resistance Room 216

Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex is a new video project from Critical Resistance which explores the current state of the prison industrial complex and how people are fighting back to resist and abolish it. As we face the consolidation of state and right-wing forces that threaten our communities, we hope these videos will strengthen our resistance by sharing clear analysis and inspiring lessons from seasoned organizers for this moment. Featured videos in this first series include Claude Marks , Craig Gilmore, Dylan Rodriguez, Laura Whitehorn, Marbre Stahle-Butts , Mariame Kaba, Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, and Soffiyah Elijah.

Haunted impressions: Unghosting white imaginings on black and brown youth, immigration, borders and walls Room 313

  • “Security? From the Representations of the <<Suburban Youth>> to the Representations by the Youth,” Rita Carlos and Adina Mazer

For more than three decades, public discourse in France surrounding security has been targeting ‘les jeunes de banlieues’, the suburban youth.  While the so-called ‘experts’ (politicians, scientists, media personalities) dominate the dialogue, the voices of the youth themselves are left absent.  Maximum In Security is a short-length video documentary which compiles dozens of interviews with French suburban youth responding to their mainstream opponents and exposing their plight in a society of security, through their analyses and daily experiences of confinement.

  • “The Evolution of Juvenile Justice,” by Christopher Rambert

This paper discusses the history of the treatment of juvenile offenders and the clinical and behavioral research that has been used to further punish and criminalize youth that get wrapped up in the system of mass incarceration.

  • “The Horizon Beyond the Wall: Immigration and Incarceration in the Era of Trump” by Robert Chan

This analysis discusses the violence of the immigration system and its relationship to the broader carceral state.

Thursday, 5:15pm – 6pm

Community Support  Meeting Basement Exhibition Room 050

Reflective, Feedback, and Strategy Circles

Starting in Room 050 and then breaking out:

  • Family members with loved ones in prison and detention Rm 311
  • Formerly imprisoned folks Room 314
  • Healing/reflective space Room 313
  • Derrick’s Track: Review and Renew Room 409
  • Affinity groups to be determined based on need: Sign up Sheets in Room 118

7:30pm ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from Bristol Community College, arriving at UMass Dartmouth Lot 11 (near Willow residences)

Thursday, 7pm – 9pm

“Fire on the Inside”

Presentation on prison strikes by Ben Turk and Colleen Hackett

New Bedford Free Library, 613 Pleasant Street (a short distance from BCC)

________________________

FRIDAY, JULY 28

Bristol Community College

8:30am ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from UMass Dartmouth Campus Center, arriving at Bristol Community College

Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm

Conference Registration Table Room 118

Friday, 9:15am – 11am

A Guided Journey through Time: New Bedford’s Underground Railroad

Rufai Shardow

Sign up in Room 118 ahead of time, space is limited.

Meet in Room 118 @ 9am

New Bedford was home to many Africans who escaped enslavement in the south. The whaling industry was key to New Bedford’s economy and inadvertently accommodated communication between Black laborers in New Bedford, enslaved Africans in the south and many involved in the underground railroad along the way. This, along with New Bedford’s strong Abolitionist communities comprised of free/escaped Africans, White abolitionists and Quakers produced the perfect confluence for New Bedford to become a key site of anti-slavery organizing and resistance. Amongst those who lived and worked in New Bedford are Frederick and Anna Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson, Thomas H. Jones, and Paul Cuffee. These guided walks are an opportunity for you to walk through New Bedford’s historic neighborhoods with Rufai Shardow so that you can visit, honor and pay homage to the histories, places and people here. This tour is wheelchair accessible. 25 people capacity, first come first served.

Friday, 9am – 11:15am

Untangling white heteropatriarchal grips on our bodies: an abolitionist exorcism of ableism, racism, genderism, heterosexualism and the theft of life and body autonomy Room 409

  • “Police Brutality, Art, Activism & Ableism & Beyond the State” Leroy Moore

In this presentation, Leroy Moore lays out some history of state violence aka police brutality against people with disabilities and how mainstream society, activists, government and artists have responded since the 80’s. Leroy points out that society needs to change the focus from what police need to what the community/activists/artist arena need. Leroy also talks about the cultural work of Krip-Hop Nation around police brutality against people with disabilities.  Finally Leroy gives some examples that community on a local and national level can work on.

  • “When carceral humanism meets carceral ableism: Disability, mental health and “alternatives” to incarceration,” Liat Ben-Moshe

Disability is largely missing from our analysis of incarceration and its abolition. When disability is present it is conceived as a deficit, something in need of correction (medically or by the correction industry itself), but never as a nuanced identity from which to understand how to live differently including re-evaluating (criminal justice) responses to harm. This presentation will demonstrate that disability or mental difference are not (or not only) medical conditions but the basis of social movements with deep histories of oppression and resistance. Centering disability and mental difference can therefore also lead to a more complex discussion of alternatives to incarceration. I will use deinstitutionalization as one such example that can aid lead to moving towards a non-carceral future.

  • “The criminalization of trans identities as a direct effect of the ‘prohibitionist model’ of drug policies in Argentina” Antonella Tiravassi and Maria Santos

Criminalization of trans identities as a direct effect of the prohibitionist drug policies in Argentina. Forms of agency and possible alternative methods in place of incarceration.

  • “Creating the Other: the policies and practices of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections as they pertain to members of the LGBT community Incarcerated at MCI-Norfolk” John P. Swist

A piece from the collection Queer Liberation is Penal Abolition, submitted by prisoners. This paper investigates and discusses the treatment of LGBT people who are incarcerated at MCI-Norfolk. The author reviewed the policies of the Department of Correction and attempted to conduct interviews with staff at MCI-Norfolk in an effort to obtain a fair and balanced picture of the situation; not a single member of the MCI-Norfolk staff was willing to speak to the author for this paper. The author also conducted several in-depth interviews with people who self-identify as members of the LGBT community incarcerated at MCI-Norfolk. Reader: Vatic Tayarie Kuumba

Exorcising white supremacy:  Abolitionist horizons, coalition building and failed encounters with solidarity Room 314

  • “Shifting Carceral Landscapes: Decarceration and the Reconfiguration of White Supremacy” Ben Turk and Colleen Hackett

This paper presentation will explore the changing contours of control and confinement in the United States and in particular its relationship to systems of white supremacy. We offer a brief examination of penal reforms and interrogate the ways that they continue to secure white racial interests across the carceral landscape and reinforce white-dominant social institutions that work together to confine and control communities of color outside of the prison walls. It is our hope that this survey will address the shape of racialized control in the U.S. that must be considered when addressing just one of its manifestations – the prison state.

  • “Africa’s Abolitionist Horizons?” Abena Asare

What are the historical precedents for prison abolition on the African continent? Does prison abolition have a place within the human rights framework and networks in Africa? This paper pursues a hidden history of radical abolitionism within African prison reform efforts

  • “The Challenge of Coalition Building in Ottawa, Canada” Teneisha Green

This presentation will address prison expansion in the provinces and territories of Canada, while describing the ways (including the successes and pitfalls) in which our campaign #NOPE has engaged in resisting expansion projects.

  • “A statement on LGBTQ struggles and a call for unity” Alexander Philips

A piece from the collection Queer Liberation is Penal Abolition, submitted by prisoners at MCI-Norfolk. This letter examines the marginalization of the LGBTQ movement from wider civil rights movement work.

  • “Conversations on South Center & 95th: The Greatest of All Time and Sandy Speaks” Amber Rose Howard

Two poems from a collection (not yet published) called “A New Black Poet- Small Talk at South Central and 95th.” The book of poetry explores the inner conflicts of people in the community who are reluctant to make the necessary sacrifices to engage the fight to transform society, which sometimes include sacrificing one’s life, but move forward anyhow in the name of freedom and self-determination. The poems were written during my time spent as Community Organizer for All Of Us Or None at A New Way Of Life Reentry Project located on the corner of South Central and 95 thin the Watts/South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods. Each piece is inspired by community conversation in reaction to the loss of two very different Black liberationists: Mohammed Ali and Sandra Bland. Ali, formerly incarcerated and remained an advocate until death. Sandra, incarcerated at the moment of protest and killed in custody of local jail.

Ballots Over Bars: The History and Future of Prisoners’ Voting Rights in Massachusetts Rachel Corey and Elly Kalfus  Room 312

As a majority of states across the U.S. passed criminal disenfranchisement laws, Massachusetts remained one of the few states which allowed incarcerated people to vote, except those convicted of voter fraud. However, after a group of lifers in MCI-Norfolk prison formed the Massachusetts Prisoners Association Political Action Committee, the people of Massachusetts amended the constitution, disenfranchising all people incarcerated for felonies for the duration of their prison sentence. Through a combination of archival investigation, oral histories and survey analysis, we will examine the history of criminal disenfranchisement in Massachusetts with the goal of returning the right to vote to every citizen in Massachusetts as a tool to effect penal abolition. We are working on this project with incarcerated organizers who were involved with the formation of MPAPAC and are still fighting for their rights 20 years later.

The Abolition of Policing: Building Skills for Self-Determination

Critical Resistance Room 313

Critical Resistance will be presenting its “Abolition of Policing” workshop, which was developed during their participation in the fight against gang injunctions in Oakland, CA. It will be presented in a Training-for-Trainers style, with the goal of giving participants all of the tools, resources, and materials they would need to facilitate this workshop for their community or organization.

Healing Justice Workshop at The Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson House, former home of Frederick Douglass

Naimah Johnson, Adaku Utah and Kiyan Williams (Harriet’s Apothecary)

*historic home is not wheelchair accessible

Sign up in Room 118 ahead of time, space is limited.

Meet in Room 118 @ 8:45am and walk to The Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson House

Harriet’s Apothecary defines Healing Justice (HJ) as an evolving framework that re-centers the role of healing, safety and wellness inside of liberation. HJ is informed by economic, gender, racial, reproductive and disability justice movements. HJ seeks to transform and respond to generational and current trauma and violence in our movements, communities and lives.  HJ seeks to engage the ability to regenerate liberatory and resilience practices that have been lost and stolen. Use healing as a strategy to build sustainable and mutually nourishing movements.  In this interactive, embodied workshop, come learn and share healing justice strategies to fortify your individual and collective liberation practice and praxis for combating oppression and abolishing the systems that uphold it.

Friday, 9am – 10am

Poverty Skolarship 101: Unlearning Akkkademia’s Lies

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia Room 213

We are Poverty Skolaz- all the people you dont want to be -ever want to see- look away from me.. What you gonn do .? Arrest me?? im in yo City…- Us the displaced,unhoused, incarcerated, criminalized, bordered, PoLiceed, CPSed with & system messed with are  members of a distinct and power-FULl canon- called Poverty Scholarship- This workshop uplifts and shares the medicine of poverty scholarship while also deconstructing the myth that the only legitimate forms of knowledge, theory, scholarship and curriculum are paid for and defined by eugenicist launched institutions and colonizer paper

Library Freedom Project’s Workshop on Privacy and Surveillance

Myrna Morales Room 216

This workshop addresses those questions and offers a framework for anyone interested in anti-surveillance tools.  These tools can provide practical ways for everyday people to prevent being tracked online and are for people at all levels of technical ability.

Friday, 10am – 11:30am

Afro Flow Yoga

Leslie Salmon Jones Basement exhibition room 050

Afro Flow Yoga infuses electrifying dance movements of the African Diaspora with a meditative yoga sequence of gentle yet powerful stretches. Deeply connect with the soulful rhythmic drums, energize your chakras, gain strength and flexibility and rejoice in the bliss of feeling renewed, grounded and peaceful. Classes are led by founder Leslie Salmon Jones and with co-founder and musicians Jeff Jones and Akili Haynes.

Friday, 10:15am – 11:15am

Prison Visiting Rideshare: Moving in the Landscape of Incarceration

Bar None Room 213

This workshop will focus on the Bar None prison rideshare, a project which connects people with free rides to visit their loved ones who are imprisoned outside of Winnipeg MB. We will discuss how we do this work as abolitionists, seeking to undermine the prison system through insisting that those who are imprisoned remain a part of our communities, while refusing to engage with the notion of the deserving or undeserving prisoner. We will situate the project in Treaty 1 Territory and discuss the tensions between being a political project which meets a need and navigating the landscape of social service on the prairies, which is often a direct corollary of colonialism. This workshop is participatory, but this involvement is optional.

Mass Bail Fund

Jessica Thrall Room 216

By posting bail for people who cannot afford to pay a low cash bail, the Massachusetts Bail Fund is a direct disruption to the ‘guilty plea problem.’ We want all people regardless of their wealth to be able to make decisions about their cases from the outside.

Friday, 11:30pm – 1pm

Lunch Room 118

Friday, 12:45pm – 2:30pm

A Guided Journey through Time: New Bedford’s Underground Railroad

Rufai Shardow

Sign up in Room 118 ahead of time, space is limited.

Meet in Room 118 @ 12:30pm

New Bedford was home to many Africans who escaped enslavement in the south. The whaling industry was key to New Bedford’s economy and inadvertently accommodated communication between Black laborers in New Bedford, enslaved Africans in the south and many involved in the underground railroad along the way. This, along with New Bedford’s strong Abolitionist communities comprised of free/escaped Africans, White abolitionists and Quakers produced the perfect confluence for New Bedford to become a key site of anti-slavery organizing and resistance. Amongst those who lived and worked in New Bedford are Frederick and Anna Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson, Thomas H. Jones, and Paul Cuffee. These guided walks are an opportunity for you to walk through New Bedford’s historic neighborhoods with Rufai Shardow so that you can visit, honor and pay homage to the histories, places and people here. This tour is wheelchair accessible. 25 people capacity, first come first served.

Friday, 1pm – 3:15pm

Abolitionist organizing across space and time: On agreements, betrayals and forecasts for change Room 311

  • “Agreements and Betrayals: Oppression of Indian Indentured Labour in Plantation Colonies” Kapil Kumar

The end of slavery in India led to the creation of a new form of slavery under the garb of Indentured labour in order to sustain plantation economies for colonial powers. Under these ‘agreements’ minimal labour wages were introduced and certain other promises like free passages back were promised. However, these agreements did not include the consent or understanding of those they were structured to oppress. Moreover, intimidation, abductions and many other methods were utilized to recruit indentured labour, including false allurement and the promise of a rosy life. Most studies on indentured labor highlight and follow colonial arguments, failing to take into account that it was not simply a question of extracting labour, but instead the birth of a new social and cultural order. New structures were being cautiously constructed on these plantation colonies; they denied  the practice of customary traditions, social rights and religions. Indian marriages were not recognized, access medical and educational resources was denied, cremation of the dead by Hindu customs was not allowed, and all efforts were made to induct indentured laborers into colonial religions. The working conditions remained the same as those under slavery with the exception of meager wages. Movements continued to be restricted and families remained separated. This paper presents records, fieldwork and interviews to examine these  oppressive practices along with the forms of resistance  adopted by the labourers  to sustain their dignity and culture.

  • “DRUM: A model for grassroots abolitionist organizing in South Asian Communities” Sheena Sood

This presentation incorporates Harsha Walia’s framework of “border imperialism” to discuss Desis Rising Up and Moving’s (DRUM) approach to migrant and racial justice and abolitionist organizing. DRUM is a community-based organization in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York whose membership is made up of working-class, predominantly Muslim and over fifty percent undocumented folx. As a scholar activist who researches South Asian American racial justice organizing, I begin by sharing the personal experiences of Shahina Siraj, whose post-9/11 experience of being detained after her son was entrapped in a fake terrorism plot by U.S. law enforcement agencies, influenced her radicalization as a lead organizer for DRUM. I follow by discussing how Shahina’s experience informs DRUM’s campaigns to demand justice for hundreds of Muslim families who continue to experience systemic discrimination through the carceral and immigration system. I conclude with theoretical insight on why DRUM remains the only organization in the South Asian American community doing abolitionist-leaning organizing through a transformative and restorative justice framework at a time when our alliances in leftist movements demands widespread strength and solidarity.

  • “More Stormy Weather? Or Sunny Ways? The Forecast for Change According to Prisoners in the Canadian Carceral State” Jarrod Shook and Bridget McInnis

Recognizing that the knowledge produced by prisoners, particularly when brought together with academic arguments, can serve to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions, Journal of Prisoners on Prisons undertook a Canada-wide consultation with federal prisoners in regard to what changes have occurred in the penitentiaries where they have served time during the last decade of ‘penal intensification’ that occurred as a result of the former Harper government’s punishment agenda.  While appreciating the problematic nature of reforms, we left it up to prisoners to tell us how these changes have impacted their lives and what they would like to see moving forward in the context of the current government’s promised review of the Canadian Criminal Justice System. This presentation (given by a former prisoner currently on federal parole) summarizes the thoughtful and courageous responses that were received from prisoners in every region of the country at all security levels, with special attention granted to the all-too-often marginalised voices of Women, Black, Indigenous, Elderly, and LGBTQ prisoners.

  • “Statement on the Asian Culture Awareness Committee at MCI-Norfolk” Bonrad Sok

A personal testimony from the Chairman on the A.C.A.C in MCI-Norfolk on the importance of building or regaining ties to cultural history while imprisoned.

From historic memory to living reality: capitalism’s homelessness is the afterlife of enslavement and colonial land-theft Room 312

  • “Punishing the Poorest: How the Criminalization of Homelessness Perpetuates Poverty in San Francisco” Bilal Mafundi Ali, Dayton Dubois Andrews, and T.J. Johnson

Our presentation makes evident how criminalization fails to reduce homelessness and rather perpetuates homelessness, racial and gender inequality, and poverty.  We will also illustrate our organizing strategies to expose and eliminate the civil and human rights violations of the unhoused.

  • “Killing the Poor Tonight: A Copernican Revolution in Racial Politics”  Joseph Chyette

Chyette’s essay, written inside, explores the relationship between institutionalized racism in the US and the need for members of the bourgeois class to protect their property holdings and privilege by dividing,  disenfranchising and alienating the proletariat. Through examples from Virginia Colony to the murder of Philando Castile by an agent of the state, Chyette’s analysis posits that racism and it’s parameters are simply capitalist tools to maintain systemic oppression and division amongst the masses.

  • “Untitled Autobiographical Narrative” Pablo López Alavez

Pablo Lopez Alavez’s narrative recounts the broader political history of his imprisonment. He discusses his community’s defense of water and nature in San Isidro Aloapam, and he narrates efforts by the neighboring municipality, San Miguel Aloapam, to collaborate with the government to clear timber from the region. The threat the timber industry posed to San Isidro Aloapam’s water has led to a struggle by the Zapotec people of the area, and the government has imprisoned over the last 20 years several of San Isidro Aloapam’s residents, as the narrative describes. The narrative also documents the struggle for Lopez Alavez’s liberation. He has been imprisoned since 2010. This narrative will be read by a Spanish-speaking interpreter unless a phone connection with Lopez Alavez can be established.

Colonial Hauntings: life and death under occupation, enslavement and criminal justice  Room 313

  • “Sisters in Spirit and Grassroots Strategies for Change” Vicki Chartrand

This work is the result of a cross-country road trip over 17 days covering over 10,000kms across Turtle Island to interview the families and communities of disappeared and murdered Indigenous women and how they keep the spirit of the women alive through their important work. By illuminating these activities, this work considers the significance of Indigenous grassroots approaches and highlights the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian state today

  • “Reverse Facialization and David Garneau’s ‘Evidence’”Josephine Savarese

In the summer of 2014, I created a series of prints at the Honolulu Museum of Art School under the instruction of painter and printmaker, George Woollard. The prints, titled Waikīkī Scrolls, work to visually respond to the tragic loss of the Hawaiian homelands by gesturing to the abundant fisheries once present in the tourist heavy area of Waikīkī.2 Through the prints, I respond to the marginalization and over-criminalization of Indigenous Hawaiians. Themes of reconciliation and reclamation are embedded within the Scrolls.

  • “Unearthed: the afterlife of Nesmin’s mummified remains – trapped in museum cases and tied in death to prisoners condemned to serve several life sentences” Viviane Saleh-Hanna

Like thousands of Egyptians, Nesmin’s (250 BCE) mummified body was unearthed from his grave, transported out of Africa to Europe, and eventually across the Atlantic. He now lies trapped and exposed in RISD’s museum in Providence, RI. In this paper I consider White supremacy’s impact on Nesmin and his relatives to produce an analysis of colonialism’s grip on our pasts and our futures as simultaneous and cumulative. This nuanced reading of colonial power unearths the brutal legacies under-riding a criminal justice system all over the world that sentences people ‘to life’, ‘to death’ and in the United States, to several life sentences, or hundreds of years of imprisonment.

  • “Trans-Atlantic Hauntings: ghosts, nightmares, and silences in Teju Cole’s Open City” Nicole Nemergut

This paper will explore Teju Cole’s novel, Open City, as a narrative of intergenerational trauma that complicates the dichotomy of perpetrator and victim. Cole meditates on the lasting legacies and impact of imperialism, slavery, and war through the narrator’s experience of hauntings, dissociation, nightmares and lapses of memory.

  • “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” Laura Brown-Lavoie

Laura Brown-Lavoie is a farmer and poet whose piece “Spring Harvest” explores the legacy of slavery and colonization in Rhode Island as it is marked on the landscape, and how those legacies haunts today’s agriculture. Using poetry and synthesizer, Laura will pull these histories to the surface of our rocky soil, and consider how farmers and anyone intimate with the land might move from that intimacy to confront injustices in the the modern day food system, injustices whose roots lie in our shared history of violence on this land.

Friday, 1pm – 2pm

Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline

City School Young People Rm 409

This workshop will be lead by the youth leaders from The City School.  There is a direct connection between school zero tolerance policies and the incarceration of youth.  This workshop will show current statistics about this problem as well as some efforts that have contributed to the dismantling of the pipeline.  Success stories about alternatives to zero tolerance policies will also be highlighted.

Using available broadcast media for educating the public and building community thru the walls

Ray Hill Room 216

In an effort to include prisoners in widely separated prisons in the Texas landscape, Hill uses knowledge of media and access to community non-commercial radio to communicate directly to those in prison about issues related to their oppression. Within months, a committed audience among prisoners was built and continues today. The Prison Show is still the most reliable source of important information to prisoners and their families. This can be done anywhere in the country or elsewhere.

Friday, 2:15pm – 3:15pm

Trans Femmes Bustin’ Out of the Prison Industrial Complex

Woods Ervin and Coral Feign Room 409

Trans Femmes Bustin’ Out is a presentation on the systemic neglect and criminalization of trans people, specifically trans femmes of color, and the ways that trans community is pushing back against the prison industrial complex to get our loved ones out of state captivity. Woods Ervin and Coral Feigin work with the Transgender Gendervariant Intersex Justice Project based out of San Francisco and will be speaking about some of the work that TGIJP has done to support trans people inside, organize for trans people’s release and ease re-entry for trans folks getting out.

Restorative Practices as Abolitionist Tools

Lisa Marie Alatorre Room 213

Restorative Justice and Transformative Justice are natural alternatives to punitive responses to harm and violence. This workshop will explore on the ground examples of how this work has abolitionist potential. The workshop will include a presentation on a San Francisco, CA based restorative justice model currently being used to respond to harm and violence within adult homeless shelters as an alternative to relying on the police and punitivity. Join the workshop to share examples as well as to learn about models.

Eternally Misunderstood documentary screening and discussion

Sisters Unchained: Ayana Auborg, Bianca Mercado, Janasia Williams, Loyalty Canon, Unity Canon, Vanessa Ly

Room 314

Eternally Misunderstood is a documentary short featuring interviews with young women of color whose lives have been impacted by the prison industrial complex. In recent years, there have been many documentaries about the negative effect of prison on men, however, far too few are about women in prison. Specifically, women of color, despite the fact that they make up over 64% of the prison population in the US. In this film, you will hear young women between the ages of 14-25 tell their stories of life as a child of incarceration.

[b]REACH: adventures in heterotopia

Kai Barrows (Gallery of the Streets) Room 216

A meditation on confinement and freedom, [b]REACH: adventures in heterotopia, is an abolitionist-surreal-queer-Black-feminist retelling of Marge Piercy’s utopian novel, Woman on the Edge of Time.  (It’s layered…) The multimedia experimental performance includes sound, projection, and visual art compositions that meet at the intersections of speculative fiction and historic absurdities. Merging ritual and performance, education and play, the work invites audiences to participate in an immersive experience; to engage ideas through touch, movement, sight, sound, and dialogue. Gallery of the Streets will perform a series of excerpted scenes from [b]REACH at ICOPA17. These “Open Rehearsals” (a reference to Charles Mingus’ 1962 open recording session/concert at Town Hall in NYC) rely on imaginative play that blurs the lines between artist and audience, practice and polish. Through the mechanics of call and response and improvisation, Open Rehearsals invite audiences to participate in the development of [b]REACH as a collectively realized performance.

Visit to Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson House, former home of Frederick Douglass *historic home is not wheelchair accessible

Sign up in Room 118 ahead of time, space is limited.

Meet in Room 118 @ 2pm and walk to The Nathan and Mary (Polly) Johnson House

Nathan and Mary Johnson were free blacks living in New Bedford, Massachusetts, who owned a block of properties including their longtime home and the neighboring old Friends meetinghouse. Nathan Johnson was an active abolitionist who assisted numerous fugitive slaves, including famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Mary Polly funded much of their expenses for the house through her anti-slavery candy store which specialized in sweets that divested from slave grown products, including sugar. The Johnson home was Douglass’s first residence after his escape from slavery in 1838–the only one of Douglass’s three homes in New Bedford that remains today.

Friday, 3:30pm – 5pm

Healers of the Wound: Healing Racism from the Inside Out

Melissa Bartholomew Room 311

Healers of the Wound: Healing Racism from the Inside Out will be a healing space for conference participants to breathe and engage in the spiritual work of healing from the effects of racism. The experience will incorporate rituals and practices designed to nurture your interior environment-your mind, heart, soul, and spirit-in order to strengthen your capacity to continue in the pursuit of justice and healing in the world. This healing session will draw from the wisdom of enslaved Africans in the United States who harnessed their spiritual power to transcend oppression and navigate their way to freedom. Participants will learn about the spiritual technologies which fostered the resilience of the enslaved and discuss ways to utilize lessons from the past to sustain them in their justice work.

The Connection Between Gentrification and Incarceration

Alex Ponte-Capellan and George Lee Room 216

This workshop explores the deliberate connection between gentrification and incarceration patterns, and the government’s key role in allowing this relationship.

Reaching Through Bars: A Black and Pink Pen Pal Training Workshop

Annajane Yolken Room 313

Black and Pink is an open family of LGBTQ and HIV+ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Responding to the reality that many of these prisoners are particularly vulnerable to isolation, abuse, and mistreatment within the prison system, Black and Pink sends a monthly newsletter to over 10,000 people in prison and helps those who are interested connect with non-incarcerated pen pals. In this workshop, representatives of the Providence chapter of Black and Pink will provide an overview of the national organization’s mission, share stories and tips from our personal experiences of having pen pals, and demonstrate how to use Black snd Pink’s online database to start writing letters with an incarcerated member of the LGBTQ or HIV+ community.

Indigenous Justice and Nation Building

Giselle Dias Room 312

My spirit name is Zhaawshkoo Giizhgoo Kwe (Blue Sky Woman) and I am an Anishinabek Kwe from the Metis Nation.  Indigenous people on Turtle Island are the strongest we have been in over 400 years. As we work towards resurgence of our language, culture, ceremony, governance and connection to land we are building stronger Nations. In this workshop I will be using Medicine Wheel teachings to guide a conversation of how abolishing the prison industrial complex is possible through Indigenous resistance and Nation Building.  Medicine wheel teachings are extensive and layered and vary from Nation to Nation. I will be using the Anishinabek teachings from Elder Banakonda Kennedy Kish Bell to help understand the importance of balance of the spirit, heart, mind and body in our walk towards mino bimaadiziwin (the good life).  This workshop will highlight the history and on-going colonization of Indigenous people in canada, resistance movements, and nation building. The workshop will be framed in a wholistic Indigenous perspective within a circle process.

Breathing life into the deadly chambers of the prison’s mandated segregation: Building classrooms inside to bring the prison into the community and the community into the prison Room 314

  • Moderator: Angela Bryant
  • “Inside-Out: What works and what doesn’t work for the Inside Students” Susan Krumholz, Kristin Bumiller, Jo-Ann Della Giustina, Steve Simms

This presentation will focus on the contradictions and challenges created when teaching in prison following the inside/out model and confronting the deeper complexities of educational programming. We will be asking, who and what purposes does prison education serve?

  • “Higher Education in Contexts of Incarceration, from a Perspective of Academic Practicea” / “La Educación Superior en contextos de encierro desde la perspectiva de la práctica académica” Jose Salazar

The objective of this presentation is to broach the theme of higher education in prisons, in terms of reconciling academic discourse with the institutional discourse of Social Rehabilitation Centers.

  • Statement from Norfolk Prison Education Committee

A paper from prisoners at MCI-Norfolk that focuses on the importance of education for prisoners, the often-corrupt politics that act as obstacles, and some concrete projects that have been instrumental in education, particularly the Boston University Prison Education Program.

  • Four Poems by Jason Fleck

Four poems from an inside student from the Inside-Out program that highlighted moments of isolation, connection, and reflection.

Friday, 5:15pm – 6pm

Community Support Team Meeting Basement Exhibition Room 050

Reflective, Feedback, and Strategy Circles

Starting in Room 050 and then breaking out:

  • Family members with loved ones in prison and detention Rm 311
  • Formerly imprisoned folks Room 314
  • Healing/reflective space Room 313
  • Derrick’s Track: Review and Renew Room 409
  • Affinity groups: to be determined based on need: Sign up Sheets in Room 118

Friday, 6pm – 7pm

Dinner break

7pm ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from Bristol Community College, arriving at UMass Dartmouth Lot 7 (near CVPA)

Friday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Evening Event: Syrus Marcus Ware and Artistic performances

UMass Dartmouth Center for Visual & Performing Arts Auditorium: CVPA Room 153

  • Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. He is a facilitator/designer at The Banff Centre, and for the past 13 years was the Coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus is the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17).  As a visual artist, Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. He is a prison abolitionist, is a former member of Friends of MOVE Toronto and the Prisoners’ Justice Action Project, and is one of the organizers of Toronto’s Prisoners’ Justice Day events. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership and activism (2012). Syrus’ writings on trans health, disability studies and activism are part of curricula at City University of New York, York University, and Ryerson University. Syrus holds degrees in Art History, Visual Studies and a Masters in Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto. Syrus is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

  • “Lacresha Berry’s TUBMAN” Lacresha Berry

This one woman show/session presents the story of Harriet Tubman reimagined as a young woman growing up in Harlem through a theatrical lens. Harriet Tubman is a heroine and American legend in her own right. This session will take the story of Harriet in the 19th century and places her in the 21st century; laced with the problems facing African-American youth all over the country. Lacresha Berry, better known as Berry, is a singer/songwriter, actress, poet, educator, and writer from Queens by way of Lexington, Kentucky. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky in 2003.

  • “The Birth of the Factual” Tufayal Kaseem Amir

Imprisoned poet. Brilliant thinker. The first line in his submission for ICOPA 17 captured the essence of this conference more than anything the ICOPA 17 reviewing committee had read in the many submissions received from all over the world: “Have you ever seen death in the flesh? The beginning line to a song I had written a few years ago. My thought behind that line stemmed from a feeling that I had at the time. It had occured to me at the time that no one was listening to me. That I was in a room, all alone, unable to leave on my own. I was writing and rapping to myself with no audience. No one was listening. It was as if I was dead”. Tufayal, we read this, and the rest of your poem to an audience of 200 people. You have been heard. You are valued.

Reader: Manami Braxton from ZuKrewe

  • ZuKrewe – hip hop performance

ZuKrewe, AS220’s youth-led artist collective, uses music, art and popular culture to create social change by designing year-long multi-media campaigns that address these issues. At the end of the year, ZuKrewe presents their work in the form of a show, installation and/or public art piece. They also facilitate justice workshops, participate in rallies and volunteer time to support social causes around the community.

9:45pm buses departure time

  • Departing from UMass Dartmouth Lot 7, arriving at Fairfield  Inn & Suites in New Bedford

________________________

SATURDAY, JULY 29

9am – 12:45pm Bristol Community College

8:30am ICOPA  bus departure

  • departing from UMass Dartmouth Campus Center,  arriving at Bristol Community College

Saturday, 9am – 11:45am

Strategy Sessions: Issue based breakout groups

Session #1: Community Liaison groups for Prisoner Groups in MCI-Norfolk Room 311

Facilitator: Yohana Beyene

  • Statement on building Latino Cultural Awareness Committee at MCI-Norfolk. (Ely Iglesias – imprisoned)
  • Latino Cultural Comenta (Author unknown – imprisoned)
  • PEERS: Prisoner Engagement Empathy Respect Solidarity (A statement and call to action from David L. Roberts, member of a group at MCI-Norfolk that attends to the emotional traumas experienced by those inside through support and mentorship)
  • Statement and press clips from campaign to change 13th amendment from MCI-Norfolk and allies (Derrick Washington – imprisoned)
  • Statement on the war on education in US prisons – and a call for action.

Session #2: ICOPA closing meeting Room 312

  • Determine future locations for ICOPA
  • Gather and prepare resolutions to be presented at the post-conference for a vote

Strategizing Abolitionism Sessions: To Be Determined at ICOPA 17

Sign up sheets in Room 118 to create sessions in response to discussions and strategies at ICOPA are available in Room 118. Confirmed Sessions will be announced on Friday.

  • Session #2  _____________________________     Room 313
  • Session #3  _____________________________     Room 314
  • Session #4  _____________________________     Room 409
  • Session #5  _____________________________     Room 213
  • Session #6  _____________________________     Room 216

Saturday, 11:45pm-1:15pm

Lunch Bristol Community College, Room 118

12:45pm ICOPA bus departure

  • departing Bristol Community College, arriving at UMass Dartmouth Campus Center

Saturday, 1:15pm – 3:30pm

Closing Plenary

UMass Dartmouth, Main Auditorium

    • Poetry
  • By Erik Andrade

Erik Andrade is a Cape Verdean and Irish American father, artist, and organizer living in New Bedford. In 2016, Erik organized for the international Hip Hop 4 Flint fundraising initiative that took place in 47 cities including New Bedford. Erik served as national organizer and performer for the Mni Wiconi Universal Benefit Concert in Standing Rock, a fundraising effort that raised 1.7 million dollars for the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe’s legal fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Erik is also the founder of La Soul Renaissance a New Bedford creative arts and social justice collaborative with 15 years of organizing history in the region.  He is heading to Denver for the 2017 National Poetry Slam this August as a member of the Lizard Lounge Slam team in Cambridge

  • Stuck on Replay

James Mackey

Founder of Stuck on Replay, an organization in Boston with imprisoned members in Norfolk. Stuck on Replay’s mission is to elevate voices and uplift communities impacted most by mass incarceration through community forums and civic leadership to change public policy.

  • Derrick Washington’s Call to Action

Derrick Washington is a political activist currently imprisoned at MCI Norfolk. Derrick is the founder of the Emancipation Initiative, a movement bringing awareness to the unconstitutionality of life without the possibility of parole sentences. As a member of the ICOPA 17 organizing committee, Derrick will provide a call to action that aims to inspire participants to critically engage with penal abolitionist activities post-conference

  • Share out from working group strategy sessions

Presenters: to be determined by each strategy session

  • “Dear Mr. President”

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson will be performing poems from “Dear Mr. President,” a performance piece that centered around the experience of being incarcerated yet doesn’t leave out the reality of poverty and decision that are made to lead to incarceration or its aftermath. Christopher Johnson is an artist and educator based in Providence, RI.  Most recently, Christopher was a collaborator in the creation and performance of Freedom Project, a devised performance focusing on the effects of mass incarceration. Expression is his activism

  • Closing Statement: “On Abolition and It’s Ghosts: Historic Memory and Ongoing Struggles against Slavery and Colonialism”

Viviane Saleh-Hanna

Viviane Saleh-Hanna is Associate Professor and Chairperson of Crime and  Justice Studies at UMass Dartmouth. She is also an affiliate of Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. She has dedicated her career to the fight for imprisoned people’s struggles and the overall battle for penal abolition. She has worked with prisoners in Canada, the United States, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt. Her most recent work turn our attention towards the haunted and haunting relationships that criminal justice has with slavery and colonialism. She attended her first ICOPA in 1997 in New Zealand. This 20 year journey has shaped her life and work in more ways than can be named.

  • Reflections on ICOPA 17: and where do we go from here?

Monica James

Monica James is the National Organizer of Black and Pink as well as a collective member of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois. Monica has survived years of police targeting including being confined in the maximum security section of Cook County Jail more than 100 times. In 2007, with legal and community support, she fought trumped up charges following a brutal assault by police. In 2014 she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the UN to the severe abuses inflicted by cops and courts on trans women of color. Monica uses she/her pronouns.

  • “A Closing Affirmation: Walking with a New and Renewed Way of Living Life”

Donna Edmonds Mitchell

Donna Edmonds Mitchell is the steward of the Perry Clan Homestead of Watuppa Reservation in Fall River, Massachusetts. She is rooted in the Wampanoag traditions of ceremony and spirituality. She continues to inspire and encourage all peoples of all races and all genders to reach their highest potential as they journey through life.

Saturday, 3:45pm – 5:15pm

Post-Conference Meeting

UMass Dartmouth Main Auditorium

  • Location for ICOPA after Liverpool in 2018
  • Presenting and voting on Resolutions

5:30pm ICOPA bus departure

  • departing from UMass Dartmouth Campus Center, arriving at Fairfield Inn & Suites in New Bedford

_________________________________

ICOPA 17 Resources

Food

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday lunch from Fresh Food Generation will be served at Bristol Community College from 12-1pm in room 118 (registration room). ICOPA has made it a priority to accommodate all dietary needs and restrictions of all conference attendees who registered and indicated their preferences to us. BCC does not have a room large enough that would allow us to eat lunch in one location. Folks can pick lunch up in Rm 118 and either eat in the in the parks and patio surrounding BCC (weather permitting), or eat inside the building on bistro tables/chairs in the hallways, or inside the classrooms reserved for ICOPA. These will have ICOPA signs on the doors.

Multi-Lingual Justice & Spanish-English Interpreting

The ICOPA 2017 organizing committee promotes multilingual justice. Please remember that breaking down language barriers and respecting language differences requires the engagement of all ICOPA participants. During sessions with language interpreting, please remember to speak slowly and deliberately and do not speak while others are speaking. Please respect the labor of the interpreters by being mindful of their needs and the language needs of everyone in the room.

Spanish-English interpreting will be available throughout the conference for panel presentations, plenaries, closing reflection circles, and during Saturday activities. There will be two teams of interpreters. During blocks of time with more than two sessions (during break-out sessions on Saturday and during the block of panels on Friday from 1-3:15), those in need of interpretation should speak directly with interpreters and tell them which sessions they would like to attend.

Community Support Team

Community Support volunteers help create the kind of collective safety we envision in a world without the penal system by helping participants with logistical questions, and generally pitching in to make sure the conference runs smoothly. They also play an important role in ICOPA’s praxis – helping collect feedback from each session, and sharing it with conference organizers. Community Support volunteers are committed to addressing harm in a holistic and transformative way, operating from an anti-oppression analysis.


If you have a question about logistics or accessibility, need support in challenging oppressive dynamics as they arise, or have feedback for conference organizers, the Community Support Team is here to help. There will be a Community Support volunteer present in each workshop and panel, and volunteers can be identified by wearing a green armband.

 

Community Support Volunteers are asked to attend a special 1.5 hour training in trauma informed responsiveness, de-escalation, and restorative justice practices.

 

Childcare

Childcare will be at Bristol Community College in rooms 403 and 333 so children and youth are on the same site as parents/guardians during conference proceedings. Please be mindful of young people. Help us make this space welcoming to everyone. Parents, we are planning for your children to be with you for lunch, please pick them up at the beginning of the designated times.

Healing Spaces

Throughout the conference, healing and meditative space will be offered by Harriet’s Apothecary – an intergenerational healing village led by the brilliance and wisdom of Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, activists and ancestors. Founded by Harriet Tubman and Adaku Utah on April 6, 2014, Harriet’s Apothecary is committed to co-creating accessible, affordable, liberatory, all-body loving, all-gender honoring, community healing spaces that recognize, inspire, and deepen the healing genius of people who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of color and the allies that love us. The open healing space is located in the Art Exhibition room on lower level in Room 050. The closed healing space is located in Room 340

Closing Circles

At the end of each day 5:15pm- 6:00pm, as part of ICOPA 17’s praxis, there is the opportunity to convene for a reflective circle with other conference participants, and to share healing space in Room 050 (Art Exhibition room on the lower level). Family members with loved ones in prison and detention will be given space to convene in Room 311, formerly imprisoned folks will be able to convene in Room 314, a Healing and reflective space will be offered in Room 342 and folks participating in Derrick’s Track will convene and unpack conference themes in Room 409.

ICOPA 17 Art Exhibitions

Basement Exhibition Space Room 050 and Registration Room 118

Amy Araujo, “Untitled”, live drawing

The piece is a fairly developed 8′ x 9′ life size drawing of a group of figures that live within a small, tight, dark, ambiguous space. This drawing serves as further research to my investigation of identity and the questions and conflicts driving my current body of work, asking who is of more value?-the individual within society? or the group? The drawing is in progress, and will be worked on and completed at the conference.

Sila Assad, “The Circle”,  painting

Prison abolition means moving from hard lines and hierarchy to circular formation. In the circle, we invoke an age old practice to conduct healing and truth where each person sees every other person in the collective. No one is hidden, no one above, no one below. In this practice we do not just evolve – we revolve and return to an undeniable wholeness – making a true example of the word REVOLUTION.


Priscilla Carrion, “Waves”, quilt

“In my personal creative pursuits I am influenced by my history and background, having been raised in Providence as first generation Ecuadorian American. Growing up with a foot in each culture and traveling has increased my awareness of the impact that economic and political changes can have on our personal lives, societies, art and cultural trends. We are communal organisms and from my experience living in RI, I’ve learned it’s essential to empower residents to be engaged in their communities through artistic expressions; it can be healing. I am motivated and inspired by my friends and by nature. I have evolving concerns that trickle into everything. I am a decolonial feminist. I am flawed but I have value. I ramble sometimes. Lately,  I am exploring visibility and invisibility, adaption and change, and also cycles in nature.”

Wayland X. Coleman, “Pain / Promise”, drawing

A work on paper that represents both the cruelty of the carceral system and the ability of individuals to resist and transcend. This piece is featured in the ICOPA 17 program.

Jermaine Glenn, “Untitled”, painting (photo) and “rules of play”

This conceptual piece is a “representation of claims of rethinking modern-day slavery and legacies of chattel slavery and anti-Blackness.” It includes images of “The Chain around America,” “Uncle Sam,” “The Shadow Face behind Bars,” and the “Go To Jail Chance Card” in order to show the connection between slavery and prison. This piece is featured in the ICOPA 17 program.

Thomas Manning, Collection, imprisoned  artist, paintings

A collection from Tom Manning, Vietnam veteran, working class revolutionary and US political prisoner who militantly struggled against the war in Vietnam and supports the right of self-determination of all oppressed peoples.

RED ART Collection: Reaching Every Dream [RED] and Rising Together: a group of prisoner artists, works from inside

Reaching Every Dream And Rising Together (RED ART) is a group of prisoner artists in Rhode Island that started with a vision to see a world without prisons, oppression, war and hate. RED ART sheds light on prisoners to show we are not monsters but smart humans with dreams and visions. We are changing the world through art – drawing, writing, music, unity, and love. With the right understanding we can all reach every dream and rise together.

    • Edward “Sincere” Cable, “My Life”, “Break Free”, and “Dream”, drawings
    • David “Chalupa” Chavez, “Perfected” and “The Warrior That Lives Within Her”, drawings
    • Tirso “Mexico” Coronel, “Untitled”, drawing on handkerchief
    • George Santos, “Medusa” and “Mama Africa”, drawings, and “Santa Maria”, drawing on handkerchief
  • Jesse Sweetloice, “Guardian Angel”, drawing

MJ Robinson, “Resistance, Rhode Island”, zine

Resistance, Rhode Island is a comic that sews together past and present, exploring graveyards to find the threads between a 19th century Rhode Island vampire story, Pokémon Go, an opiate addiction, #NoDAPL, and prisons. This 20 page zine, a combination of personal narrative and historic non-fiction, was created in August 2016 by MJ Robinson, an artist and activist based in Providence, RI. By exploring historical and contemporary symptoms of structural poverty and racism, the zine highlights the ways that oppressive forces seem to act as specters, difficult to pinpoint and combat.

Dania Sanchez, “Untitled”, quilt

This quilt was inspired by the work of Gee’s bend quilter Loretta Pettway. I used scraps, old clothing, fabrics given to me by friends, and bought fabrics. I wanted to pay homage to the black and brown women who have taught me, supported me, and inspired my work.

Josephine Savarese, “Waikiki Scrolls”, prints

In the summer of 2014, I created a series of prints at the Honolulu Museum of Art School.  The prints, titled Waikīkī Scrolls, work to visually respond to the tragic loss of the Hawaiian homelands by gesturing to the abundant fisheries once present in the tourist heavy, super developed area of Waikīkī.  Through the prints, I respond to the marginalization and over-criminalization of Indigenous Hawaiians.   Themes of reconciliation and reclamation are embedded within the Scrolls.

Meredith Stern, “Deporting and detaining parents…”, print

Meredith Stern’s print is a collaboration with Colorlines, a magazine focusing on issues related to race, culture, and organizing. One of the issues the magazine has been investigating is how families are shattered when parents are deported. Colorlines believes that rather than being defined and divided by racism, citizens can become uplifted and united through racial justice by confronting the racism at the core of our society.

Alison Wells, “The Other Side of the Harbor” and “Beneath the Surface”, paintings On “The Other Side of the Harbor”, Acrylic & Paper Collage on Canvas, 2013

New Bedford had and still has a history of helping others and one of the most important parts of that history was its involvement in helping fugitive slaves seek refuge and freedom during slavery on The Underground Railroad. In my mixed media collage painting on canvas, I incorporated painting techniques along with paper collage and photo montage. My vision is to encourage discussions about a history that is unknown to many but challenges and inspires our community today.

Alison Wells, onBeneath the Surface” Acrylic & Paper Collage on Canvas, 2017

This painting explores the stages of oppression amongst African Americans in particular. From slavery to the struggles of the civil rights movement, to the exploitation of prison labor in today’s penal system deemed by many as 21st Century Slavery. This piece incorporates painting, paper collage and drawing techniques in an effort to create semi-abstracted layered portrayals of the past, the present and an uncertain future.

Collective Effort, “Dearly Beloved: we are our own record keepers”, quilt, 2015

Julia Jordan-Zachary and Viviane Saleh-Hanna (visionaries)

Dara Bayer (art coordinator and several portrait submissions)

Priscilla Carrion (quilt coordinator and lead quilter)

Dearly Beloved is a commemoration visioned and initiated by Julia Jordan-Zachary and Viviane Saleh-Hanna: they are mothers, black feminists and professors of Black studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Political Science and Crime and Justice Studies. Dara Bayer coordinated and contributed to the painted portraits and Priscilla Carrion coordinated and contributed towards the quilt. The primary goal of Dearly Beloved quilts is to memorialize and honor those who have been murdered by policing and state sanctioned violence. Another is to support movements against the militarized institutions of criminal justice and its expanding branches of repression and control.

This Dearly Beloved quilt was created by a large collective of intergenerational organizers and artists. We were able to commemorate 32 people killed by state sanctioned violence, ranging in age from 7 to a 107 years old. We chose to honor Black and Indigenous children (one of them unborn), men, women and trans women killed between the years of 1969 and 2015. The central portrait holds space for the unnamed and unrecorded murder victims of policing and state sanctioned violence. The original portraits, most of them painted by young black artists in Boston, have been printed on cloth and sewn into this quilt by a large group of grandmothers, mothers and daughters. Our youngest quilter was 6 years old.  

We invite you to visit the Dearly Beloved quilt at ICOPA 17.  If you visit Dearly Beloved we ask that you take the time to read each eulogy written for each person included, and the poem written for the unknown and unnamed murder victims. Please note that many of the eulogies were written by the commemorated person’s loved ones. One is the same eulogy that was read at the the person’s funeral.

The inaugural memorial service for Dearly Beloved was held on October 2nd, 2015 at UMass Dartmouth. There are portraits completed and a quilt being sewn in Providence, Rhode Island this year. There are talks about the possibility of a Boston, Massachusetts quilt. We invite all who are interested in creating a Dearly Beloved quilt for their regions to contact icopa17@umassd.edu for further details.

Healing Spaces by Harriet’s Apothecary

Room 340 & Room 050

In the Harriet’s Apothecary healing village for ICOPA 17 we will offer body-affirming, love-drenched remedies, rituals, practices and customized individual and group healing experiences. These offerings will be provided with the intention to heal trauma, and to restore and expand our community’s abilities to transform the impacts of white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism, colonization and the institutions that uphold these systems.

Rooted in the resilience of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, who actively resist dehumanization, we co-created Harriet’s Apothecary as an intentional response to the oppressive violence that our community faces every day and as a love ode of reverence to our legacy of activating vast possibilities of imagination, inherent wisdom, and interdependence in service of our liberation. We envision generations and lifetimes of folks of color engaging in their dignity, power and vast connection to that which liberates our souls. We amplify the inherent connection and capacity within us to heal, to love and to transform for the sake of justice and freedom.

The Healers representing Harriet’s Apothecary collective @ ICOP

Adaku Utah

Armed with the legacies of a long line of healers, witches, priestesses and fearless women who refused to shut up, I harness my tools as an herbalist, teacher, love warrior, intuitive empath, artist and liberation organizer everyday as an act of love to my community, my body, my ancestors and this Earth. I am deeply invested in co-creating communities that are invested in taking care of each other instead of taking advantage of each other. I  have studied under master herbalists in Nigeria, Jamaica, Haiti and the US including my mother and grandmother. Since 2011, I have been apprenticing with Master Herbalist Karen Rose of Sacred Vibes Healing in the Sacred Vibes Community Herbalist Apprenticeship Program. Founding BeatBox Botanicals and Harriet’s Apothecary is a magnanimous ode of love to my community with my community. May the act of loving ourselves and our communities heal us and dismantle and compost the cruel fuckedupery that assaults the sacredness of our vessels.

Kiyan Williams

Kiyan Williams (gender pronouns they/them/theirs) is an artist, writer, and healer whose whose work inspires social transformation. They create performances, texts, objects, images, sounds, and installations informed by autoethnography, archival research, and social practice. You can learn more about Kiyan at kiyanwilliams.com.

Naimah Efia Johnson

Naimah is a licensed therapist, yoga instructor, doula, and community activist. Within her work she applies a radically integrated therapeutic approach that is informed by activism, esotericism, liberation psychology, and ancestral wisdom.  She provides trauma-focused counseling through her private practice and in community-based settings, with a dedicated focus on the trauma of oppression. Naimah is a member of the transformative healing justice collective, Harriet’s Apothecary; and also works collaboratively with organizations and institutions providing liberation-based training and facilitating community healing spaces.

Penal Abolitionist Dictionary

Ⓒ V. Saleh-Hanna, 2008; 2017

Crime

Penal abolitionists do not uncritically accept or rely on this term to discuss violence: it is stigmatizing and deadly towards those it targets for criminalization, and it limits our understanding and perceptions of what is violent. If we intend to learn about and respond appropriately to violence, we cannot use the perceptions and terms provided by the state – for these perceptions and terms will obviously fail to recognize state violence, corporate violence and all forms of institutionalized harm.

Instead of relying on crime to define what does and does not violate, hurt or offend, penal abolitionists discuss violence, in all of its manifestations and beyond the boundaries imposed by the penal code and the many interpretations and applications it produces. As we remove the crime blinders from our understanding of what is violent, we take the power to define what is harmful to us out of the State’s hands and place it back into its rightful place – within our communities. We also recognize that the problems of violence are too complex to be reduced to a singular term (crime) and the singular and vastly inappropriate responses that are built into that term (imprisonment, community service, fines, or death).

Community

A penal abolitionist understanding of community requires a recognition of interrelatedness regardless of place, time and State sanctioned or institutionalized status. This means that people who are imprisoned continue to be members of their home communities, regardless of their exiled status. Imprisonment enforces a violent and involuntary segregation, and it denies one’s ability to engage with their community, but it does not end the social, familial and historic facts of kinship and community.

Through a penal abolitionist lens community is also understood to be cumulative (hence a recognition of ancestral relationships, or what sociologists may call ‘contextualization’) and responsive to institutional power: this means that when the criminal justice system engages in racial profiling it produces community. In other words, the overlapping experiences of being targeted forms a commonality that produces community in the same way that the overlapping experiences of privilege in being overlooked by the criminal justice system produces community. Evidence of this is clearest in the institutions of enslavement that produced contemporary black communities throughout Africa’s Diaspora. These communities continue to face overlapping struggles and share common cultural understandings and practices, regardless of the residual effects of divisiveness instituted through white supremacy’s enslavement and colonial conquest.

_____________________________________________

The following is a direct excerpt from Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria (Saleh-Hanna, 2008; pg. 465-467): University of Ottawa Press) with updates and additional thoughts (in italics)

Abolition vs. Reform

Only reforms that work towards abolition are considered as productive within the penal abolitionist movement.  It has been a trend in penal reform that all attempts to humanize the penal system have been co-opted into its inhumane structure and only work to strengthen its existence and expand the penal system’s power; thus, only reforms that exist outside the realm of the penal structure are pursued by penal abolitionists. Also, reforms that increase the survival chances and the quality of life of prisoners are abolitionist, for to neglect the needs of those most vulnerable to the violent whims of the criminal justice system in the name of an ideological dogma is unethical and a decision that can only be pursued by those whose loved ones are not imprisoned. Abolitionists work to progress the vision of an empowered, enlightened community and only when sections of power are handed over is a reform truly an alternative and not a simple add-on to the already too powerful, revenge-oriented penal system.

Restoring vs. Transforming (restorative justice vs. transformative justice)

Penal abolitionists do not generally support notions of restoration, mainly because to restore is not necessarily to change.  If harm occurs and the community works to restore the survivor(s) to the state they were in before the harm occurred, and they succeed in this restoration, then all they have really succeeded in doing is restoring them to a situation that allowed the harm to happen in the first place.  To transform is to look at the roots of why the harm occurred and to deal with the poisons that allowed it to grow into harm (i.e. social alienation, capitalist greed, poverty, racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism etc.).  In addition, penal abolitionists do not always believe that restoration is realistic – when a harm occurs the survivor of that harm will never again be the person they were before the harm occurred; thus, penal abolitionists look at the transformation processes which are necessary in dealing with the harm and working to integrate its consequences into the person’s life in a way that is tolerable, livable and if possible, positive and productive.

Prison vs. Penal Abolition

Penal abolitionists recognize that to abolish the prison is not necessarily sufficient in abolishing penal oppression.  The real problem is the penal mindset which allows the prison to exist; thus, to abolish the prison without abolishing the penal mentality and penal structure would only open society up to the possibility of different yet still brutally penal oppressions.  Because the prison is so concrete and so open about its oppressive elements, it is an easy target – the goal is to understand how the prison and other penal institutions (police, courts, probation, parole) are legitimized: the prison is the end result of what really needs to be questioned, revealed and abolished.

It is primarily a revolution of the mind, taking place in the current consciousness of the people.  This revolution must occur in order for productive structural changes to be properly implemented.  Penal abolitionists do recognize that the society we live in today has created a situation where people and the socioeconomic, political power structures they live within are constantly hurting and violating each other – change needs to start within the mind, the soul and the essence of each human existence before it can take any real shape on a larger, structural level.  Without a revolution of the mind, any and all penal reforms will continue to be co-opted by a legitimate and legal yet violent penal system[2].

End Excerpt

_____________________________________________

Penal abolition, Prison abolition and PIC abolition

We have seen the use of the term “Prison Industrial Complex” or PIC in much of the abolitionist literature and organizing emergent within the United States. While the intention has been to provide a more comprehensive abolitionist agenda than prison abolition would offer, I have found PIC abolition is much more limiting than both prison and penal abolition, for it is vulnerable to the interpretation that we need only abolish the ties that exists between the prison (or for some, the criminal justice system as a whole) and the privatized economies of punishment (Industrial Complex). Severing that relationship does not necessarily abolish the criminal justice system and the penal system in general (which includes immigrant detention, carcerality, state surveillance etc).

Thought it is key to recognize that the punishing structures of colonialism, enslavement and criminal justice have always been tied to the profit-producing powers of the colonial state and its economic allies in industry and capital, this economy-based reasoning does not get to the heart and soul of the problem: the penal system is immoral. It is corrupt. It is intrinsically violent. It is a system built upon colonialism and enslavement. It is thus rooted in the illegitimate, militarized wars of colonial conquest and it is in place to protect and expand the illegitimate wealth and power that these wars have produced. Regardless of its profit making abilities, on its own and void of its profiteering capacities, penality does not constitute justice. The criminal justice system is just that – a criminal (hijacking of) justice (that has been) system(ized).

Outside the parameters of its own delusions and narratives, it is nothing more and nothing less than an abusive, corrupt, militarized, heteronormative, testosterone driven, and racist institution. We cannot continue to allow the penal system to hijack our notions and expectations of justice. At its core, that is what penal abolition is really about: the complex, conflicting and varied fight to reclaim and achieve justice for our respective families, communities and nations – on our own terms, with dignity, and outside the centralized, terrorizing, menacing invasions of the criminal justice system, aka: the most recent manifestation of colonial occupation and institutionalized enslavement.

Last but not least on the landscape of Abolitionist Words:

We say prisoner – not inmate. Inmate carries the connotations of a semi-voluntary process of checking yourself into an institution, generally a medical one. The prison is not that, and imprisonment by nature requires an absolute lack of voluntary submission.

We say prison, jail or penitentiary – never correctional, facility, center or house of correction. The criminal justice system punishes not corrects, imprisons, jails and detains people in institutions that should not be cushioned within softer languages that disguise the violent realities of criminal justice.

We do not believe that ‘rehabilitation’ is appropriate or legitimate – the very notion that millions of people (the majority of whom are disenfranchised in societies all over the world) ‘need to be ‘fixed’ is offensive and violent. It reeks of eugenics and shifts the onus of the problem upon the shoulders of those who already carry and perish beneath the weight of society’s scapegoating institutions.

Language matters. It is central to our process of defining and understanding that which we seek to abolish.

Penal Abolitionist Dictionary Ⓒ V. Saleh-Hanna, 2008; 2017

Thank you to all who supported ICOPA 17!

With Special Mention, Much Gratitude and Shout Out to

Derrick Washington and all those imprisoned at

MCI-Norfolk who contributed to the visioning and organizing of ICOPA 17.

We could not have done this without you.

All the imprisoned artists, poets, writers, organizers, historians, socio-political analysts, philosophers and thinkers who sent us their work. Thank you. Your contributions continue to teach and inspire us to pursue abolition now!

 

The City School in Boston for serving as ICOPA 17s fiscal sponsor. Your sponsorship and support made it possible for us to access the resources that so many put forth towards this effort.

ICOPA 17’s Cosponsoring Organizations and Community Groups

Black and Pink

Boston Coalition for Police Accountability

City Life/Vida Urbana

Criminal Justice Policy Coalition

Critical Resistance

Dearly Beloved: we are our own record keepers

Equitable Opportunities Now

Emancipation Initiative

Harriet’s Apothecary

New Bedford Historical Society

Sisters in Stitches Joined by the Cloth

Showing Up for Racial Justice – Boston

Showing Up for Racial Justice – Bay Area

Sisters Unchained

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois

Poor Magazine

ZuKrewe

A special thank you to the following organizations and individuals who generously supported and came through to make ICOPA 17 possible

AS 220

Bristol Community College, New Bedford Campus

Dean Jim Daniels, BCC, New Bedford

Nathan Vaughn, BCC New Bedford

Brown University Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Destination Soups Restaurant

Freedom Food Farm

Fresh Food Generation Catering

Hyams Foundation

Hocus Pocus Farm

International Foundation for a Prisonless Society

Journal for Prisoners on Prisons

Kramer Foundation

No Problemo Restaurant

Scratch Farm

Sidewalk Ends Farm

Third Sector New England Fund

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, College of Arts and Science, with a special mention to Dean Amy Shapiro

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Crime & Justice Studies

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Frederick Douglass Unity House

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Student Affairs

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dining Services

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Facilities, Housing and Transportation

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Blanca Vargas

Benjamin Bonnet

Erika Perez

Carl Williams

Catalina Tang Yan

Cathy Tran

Génesis Medina

Ian Trefethen

Jadrian Miles

Lauren Miller (poster&program design)

Lee Blake

Loreto Ansaldo

Makeen Jordan-Zachary

Milvia Lopez

Myriam Ortiz

Rufai Shardow

Sara Sandmel

Sabine Adrien

ICOPA 17 was made possible by

a small group of dedicated people

Lead Conference Organizers

Dara Bayer

Yohana Beyene

Viviane Saleh-Hanna

Local Organizers

Erik Andrade

Tammi Arford

Jenyka Gasnola

Katie Krafft

Eric Larson

Sharon Onaga

Elena Shih

National Organizers

Lisa Marie Alatorre

Toby Kramer

Technical Support and ICOPA 17 Website

Peggy Dias

Jennifer Reilly

Logistics and Administrative Support

Emily Crandell

Wendy Graca

With additional valuable support from

Ashanti Alston

Biko Ajani

Yasmeen Grace

Rachel Corey

Lu Heintz

Luke Krafft

Laura Brown-Lavoie

Anjel Newman

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