April 29: Join CPS and Project NIA to Discuss School Discipline

Please register HERE (especially if you need childcare).

We also need discussion circle facilitators for this event. If you can volunteer for this, please contact Mariame at projectnia@hotmail.com.

Special thanks to our friends at Alternatives Inc. for hosting this discussion in their space.

SERP Flyer 04292014-page-001

Feel free to download and share the flier (PDF).

April 27: Tulia, Texas Screening and Discussion

Please join us on April 27…

Tulia-Texas-FB-Cover

Watch the film and stay for the panel discussion which will include:

Alex Bahls — Students for A Sensible Drug Policy (University of Chicago Chapter)

Angela Caputo — Chicago Reporter

Jasson Perez — Black Youth Project

Eliza Solowiez — First Defense Legal Aid

You can find information about the entire Injustice For All Film Festival and can register HERE.

April-June 2014: PIC and Criminalization Events (Updated)

April 24, 2014 —  Roosevelt University, 1 p.m. —  A Summit on Counsel for Children During Police Interrogations —  You are invited to examine the impact of the 2008 European Court of Human Rights decision extending counsel to children (and adults) during police interrogations and its implications for children in Illinois, particularly those at risk of adult trial and incarceration. Register HERE.

April 24-May 3, 2014 Injustice For All Film Festival — Across Chicago.

Our screening and discussion of Tulia,Texas is on April 27, 2014. Details are HERE. JOIN US!

April 29, 2014Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander Membership Meeting – at Chicago Freedom School, 719 S. State Street #3N, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

April 29, 2014 – Join Chicago Public Schools and Project NIA for a discussion about School Discipline. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Alternatives Inc., 4730 N. Sheridan Road. The discussion will focus on CPS’s suspension and expulsion reduction plan. Come hear what their plans are and offer your input and suggestions for change. Register HERE (especially if you need childcare). Free and open to everyone. Food will be provided.

May 1, 2014 — UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The Right To Play Exhibit Opening — 4 to 7 p.m.
FREE, All ages welcome.

Celebrate May Day at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum! Join us for the opening of the museum’s newest exhibit, Unfinished Business: The Right to Play, which explores the history of the social movements that created the first playgrounds, fought for an eight-hour work day, and suggested that time off from work could create a more just world. On May 1, the museum and courtyard will be bustling with activity: field games, food trucks, DJs, live music, and performances by the Jesse White Tumbling Team and other youth ensembles. Rain or shine, we invite visitors to exercise their right to play!

Exhibit Highlights:

● “Eight Hour” songs: In partnership with the Hideout, the Studs Terkel Festival, and the Logan Center, JAHHM invites five local bands to reimagine labor songs composed by Progressive ­Era activists. Listen to records that feature new and old renditions of the songs.

● Prison Neighborhood Arts Project Collaboration, Freedom and Time: In collaboration with the Prison Neighborhood Arts Project, JAHHM showcases
an animation by incarcerated artists at Stateville Prison. Drawing on PNAP’s distinctive model of teaching and art­making, artists spent a semester exploring freedom, play, and time with teaching artist Damon Locks.

● Another World Is Possible: The eight-­hour workday movement called for “eight hours work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what we will.” A century later, activists and thinkers continue to imagine ways to structure economies and work that allow all people to experience their full humanity. JAHHM presents four of these models as interactive infographics.

● Freedom Dreams: Activists and community members consider the questions, “What is freedom? When have you felt the most free?” Their responses will hang in the exhibit for visitors to read and contemplate.

● Jolly Romp: Take a swing on a kinetic sculpture by the Stockyard Institute’s Jim Duignan.

● Right to Play Zine: Learn about why Hull-­House reformers thought play was a crucial component of social change and try out some of their favorite games.

May 2, 2014 — American Jails: The Final Frontier for Correctional Reform– 2 to 4:30 p.m. — Discussion featuring Michael Jacobson, Director of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, former Director and President of the Vera Institute of Justice, NYC Probation and correction commissioner, and author of Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration.

Where: Loyola University Chicago, Philip H. Corboy Law Center, Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, 10th Floor, 25 East Pearson St

RSVP: The event is free, but please RSVP by emailing or calling JHA’s Office Manager Dan Hoffman dhoffman@thejha.org, 312-503-6300.

Over the past two decades, increased attention has been paid to sentencing reform and the incorporation of evidence-based practices in the fields of criminal law and procedures as well as in institutional and community corrections. From revisions in sentencing structures to treatment-focused specialty courts, efforts have been undertaken by states, the federal government, and a wide range of advocacy groups to reduce reliance on prisons and to enhance the quality and effectiveness of community corrections.However, less attention has been paid to the roughly 3,000 U.S. jails, where more than 13 million people cycle in and out of detention annually.

American Jails will feature national and local experts on correctional reform, including Michael Jacobson, David Olson of Loyola University Chicago and John Maki of the John Howard Association. They will provide an overview of reform efforts that have been attempted across the country to reduce the reliance on jails and a discussion of the challenges and issues facing the Cook County Jail, the largest single-site detention facility in the United States.

May 10, 2014 – African American Cultural Center at UIC — 1 to 5 p.m. — Introduction to the PIC 101 — Pre-register HERE.
This 4-hour workshop provides participants with an introductory understanding about the role and impact of prisons in the U.S. Participants will engage in interactive activities that focus on understanding the history and economic underpinnings of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).

Saturday, May 10, 2014
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
African American Cultural Center (Library, 2nd floor)
University of Illinois at Chicago (Addams Hall)
830 S. Halsted
[You actually have to enter the campus to find the building; it's tricky so read the signs on the buildings or ASK FOR DIRECTIONS]

Bring your lunch
This workshop is facilitated by members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective.

May 16-17, 2014National Forum on Police Crimes with Angela Davis

May 28-30, 2014Freedom Dreams…Freedom NOW – Join us for an intergenerational interactive gathering of scholars, artists & activists to wrestle with the past and imagine & organize for a better future.Speakers & Participants include: Angela Davis, Julian Bond, Robin D.G.Kelley, Rosa Clemente

June 2-4, 2014Reconnecting The Pathways — A statewide juvenile justice focused conference. Registration is now open and is on a sliding scale.

June 14, 2014 – Columbia College — 1 to 4 p.m., Understanding Prison Abolition 101 — This workshop is facilitated by Project NIA and members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective. Details to come. Bring Your Lunch. $10 to $20 sliding scale. Space is limited.

April-June 2014 – PIC and Criminal Legal Events

April 2, 2014 — Roosevelt University, 5:30 p.m. — Victor Rios Discusses his book “Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys.” Professor Rios’ book Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys (NYU Press 2011) analyzes how juvenile crime policies and criminalization affect the everyday lives of urban male youth. Register HERE at no cost.

April 2nd, 2014 — Loyola University Damen Student Center, 6511 N. Sheridan Rd, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. — Restorative Justice Forum: Using Restorative Justice Practices to Enhance Public Safety and Reduce Youth Suspensions, Expulsions and Arrests.
Participants will include youth, a high school teacher and principal, restorative justice practitioners, a state’s attorney, a Juvenile Court judge and a local police commander. Kuumba Lynx will perform and food will be provided. Download the flyer HERE.

April 4, 20144th Annual Forum on Drug Policy — Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave.
Hear from folks who have been impacted by substance use and the criminal justice system. We will be hosting TWO panels. The first is “Inside and Outside the Walls – perspectives on drug use”. The second can’t miss panel will discuss the lifelong consequences of the marijuana conviction.(Find out why we need to change that and what we can do about it.) Come for the policy, stay for the wine and cheese. Register here at no cost.

April 4-6 – Amnesty International USA’s Human Rights Conference 2014 – Bring Human Rights Home at Amnesty’s 2014 Human Rights Conference and Annual General Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Meet other activists, take direct action, and hear from the leading voices in the human rights movement April 4th-6th at the JW Marriott Hotel.  Register HERE at a cost of $50 to $125.

April 7, 2014 — Depaul University — Symposium: Women in the Prison System
The event will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday April 7th at 1 E. Jackson Blvd, DePaul Center Room 8005. Lunch will be served. Free.
As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, DePaul’s Journal of Women, Gender & the Law cordially invites you to the annual Symposium: Women in the Prison System. Join us for this powerful event and hear from attorneys, professionals, those who work in the prison system, and those who have been in the prison system. Learn about issues that face female inmates and possible solutions. More details HERE.

April 12, 2014 — Roosevelt University, 1 p.m. — Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline 101 Join Mariame Kaba, Director of Project NIA, for “Understanding the STPP,” an introductory workshop about the impact of school discipline policies and solutions to dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP). Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of Chicago-specific school discipline data and an overview of how the STPP operates. This is an INTRODUCTORY workshop appropriate for people who do not have much knowledge about the dynamics of the STPP. Register HERE at no cost.

April 12, 2014 — University of Chicago, 2 to 4 p.m. — America’s Most Wanted: Hip Hop, the Media, and the Prison Industrial Complex. — International House, 1414 East 59th Street — FREE.
AMERICA’S MOST WANTED examines the prison crisis by placing two of America’s most influential industries in the crosshairs: corporate-owned media and entertainment. From exploring trends in national news coverage to debating narratives that dominate hip-hop music and popular culture, a provocative panel of scholars, activists and artists will consider the ways these industries reinforce the status quo of mass incarceration. This forum will also scrutinize how various corporations beyond media and entertainment fuel what activists deem “the prison industrial complex.” Details on Facebook.

April 19, 2014 — Resisting Abuse, Fighting for Freedom (Details on FACEBOOK)
Film Screening + Letter Drive
at the ribcage – 3036 N Lincoln Ave., #3B in Chicago

Hosted by the Illinois Clemency Project for Battered Women
4pm-5:30pm: Film Screening of “Sin by Silence”
5:30pm-7pm: Write a Letter in Support of Our Upcoming Clemency Petition (light refreshments, wine, beer, and nonalcoholic beverages will be provided – donations graciously accepted)

***Sin by Silence is a 50-minute film about Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), a group of survivors in a California women’s prison who organized to free themselves and each other. Read more at http://www.sinbysilence.com/film/

***We regret that this location is up two flights of stairs and is not wheelchair accessible.

April 24, 2014 —  Roosevelt University, 1 p.m. —  A Summit on Counsel for Children During Police Interrogations —  You are invited to examine the impact of the 2008 European Court of Human Rights decision extending counsel to children (and adults) during police interrogations and its implications for children in Illinois, particularly those at risk of adult trial and incarceration. Register HERE.

May 10, 2014 – African American Cultural Center at UIC — 1 to 5 p.m. — Introduction to the PIC 101 — Pre-register HERE.
This 4-hour workshop provides participants with an introductory understanding about the role and impact of prisons in the U.S. Participants will engage in interactive activities that focus on understanding the history and economic underpinnings of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).

Saturday, May 10, 2014
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
African American Cultural Center (Library, 2nd floor)
University of Illinois at Chicago (Addams Hall)
830 S. Halsted
[You actually have to enter the campus to find the building; it's tricky so read the signs on the buildings or ASK FOR DIRECTIONS]

Bring your lunch
This workshop is facilitated by members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective.

May 16-17, 2014National Forum on Police Crimes with Angela Davis

June 14, 2014 – Columbia College — 1 to 4 p.m., Understanding Prison Abolition 101 — This workshop is facilitated by Project NIA and members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective. Details to come. Bring Your Lunch. $10 to $20 sliding scale. Space is limited.

March-May 2014: Upcoming Chicago Criminal Punishment-Related Events

March 25, 5:30 p.m.Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander Member Meeting: This open meeting is an opportunity for members and other interested individuals to get updates on the case, to share ideas, to learn about upcoming projects. It’s an open meeting and everyone is welcome.

When: Tuesday, March 25
Where: Chicago Freedom School, 719 S. State Street, #3N
Time: 5:30 to 7:30
Info: Please feel free to bring your dinner with you.
RSVP: projectnia@hotmail.com

March 27, 2014Lecture and book signing by Carl Hart, PhD for his book “High Price.”
Roosevelt University, Murray-Green Library | Auditorium Building, 10th floor, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
4:30 p.m. Lecture and discussion; 6 p.m. Book signing and reception
Register HERE.

March 30, 2014 — Hull House Museum 800 S. Halsted, 2 to 5 p.m. — Black and Pink Card-Writing Party — Join us for a celebration of love, life, and resistance. We’ll be writing and sending cards to all 160+ inside members of Black and Pink in Illinois. Whether you’re an old friend of Black and Pink, a pen-pal with an inside member, or someone who is interested in learning more this a great event to get to know our work better and send some love to our incarcerated family. Queer and trans people are less likely to have support networks on the outside, making it even more important that we send our incarcerated LGBTQ family lots of love through the bars. Information is HERE.

March 31, 2014 — Union League Club of Chicago, 8:30 am – The $2 Billion Question: Can Illinois Spend Less on Incarceration and Improve Public Safety: A Symposium on Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform – The purpose of this symposium is to (1) understand the operations and outcomes of the existing criminal justice system and (2) discuss the fiscal and policy decisions facing Illinois in an effort to devise financially sustainable solutions to reduce incarceration and improve public safety. Flier is HERE.

April 2, 2014 — Roosevelt University, 5:30 p.m. — Victor Rios Discusses his book “Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys.” Professor Rios’ book Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys (NYU Press 2011) analyzes how juvenile crime policies and criminalization affect the everyday lives of urban male youth. Register HERE at no cost.

April 4, 20144th Annual Forum on Drug Policy — Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave.
Hear from folks who have been impacted by substance use and the criminal justice system. We will be hosting TWO panels. The first is “Inside and Outside the Walls – perspectives on drug use”. The second can’t miss panel will discuss the lifelong consequences of the marijuana conviction.(Find out why we need to change that and what we can do about it.) Come for the policy, stay for the wine and cheese. Register here at no cost.

April 4-6 – Amnesty International USA’s Human Rights Conference 2014 – Bring Human Rights Home at Amnesty’s 2014 Human Rights Conference and Annual General Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Meet other activists, take direct action, and hear from the leading voices in the human rights movement April 4th-6th at the JW Marriott Hotel.  Register HERE at a cost of $50 to $125.

April 7, 2014 — Depaul University — Symposium: Women in the Prison System
The event will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday April 7th at 1 E. Jackson Blvd, DePaul Center Room 8005. Lunch will be served. Free.
As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, DePaul’s Journal of Women, Gender & the Law cordially invites you to the annual Symposium: Women in the Prison System. Join us for this powerful event and hear from attorneys, professionals, those who work in the prison system, and those who have been in the prison system. Learn about issues that face female inmates and possible solutions. More details HERE.

April 12, 2014 — Roosevelt University, 1 p.m. — Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline 101 Join Mariame Kaba, Director of Project NIA, for “Understanding the STPP,” an introductory workshop about the impact of school discipline policies and solutions to dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP). Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of Chicago-specific school discipline data and an overview of how the STPP operates. This is an INTRODUCTORY workshop appropriate for people who do not have much knowledge about the dynamics of the STPP. Register HERE at no cost.

April 24, 2014 —  Roosevelt University, 1 p.m. —  A Summit on Counsel for Children During Police Interrogations —  You are invited to examine the impact of the 2008 European Court of Human Rights decision extending counsel to children (and adults) during police interrogations and its implications for children in Illinois, particularly those at risk of adult trial and incarceration. Download the flier (PDF) HERE.

May 10, 2014 – African American Cultural Center at UIC — 1 to 5 p.m. — Introduction to the PIC 101 — Pre-register HERE.
This 4-hour workshop provides participants with an introductory understanding about the role and impact of prisons in the U.S. Participants will engage in interactive activities that focus on understanding the history and economic underpinnings of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).

Saturday, May 10, 2014
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
African American Cultural Center (Library, 2nd floor)
University of Illinois at Chicago (Addams Hall)
830 S. Halsted
[You actually have to enter the campus to find the building; it's tricky so read the signs on the buildings or ASK FOR DIRECTIONS]

Bring your lunch
This workshop is facilitated by members of the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective.

May 16-17, 2014National Forum on Police Crimes with Angela Davis

April 12: Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline 101

Pre-Register HERE

The trend of harsh school discipline practices such as suspension, expulsions, and zero tolerance policies in public schools do more to increase student involvement in the criminal punishment system than to correct or curb behavior. Research suggests that when students are suspended or expelled, the likelihood that they will repeat a grade, not graduate, and/or become involved in the juvenile justice system increases significantly. In Chicago, Black students and children with special education needs are suspended and expelled at particularly high rates.

stpp2

Join Mariame Kaba, Director of Project NIA, for “Understanding the STPP,” an introductory workshop about the impact of school discipline policies and solutions to dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP). Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of Chicago-specific school discipline data and an overview of how the STPP operates. This is an INTRODUCTORY workshop appropriate for people who do not have much knowledge about the dynamics of the STPP.

For those who are very familiar with the STPP & are looking for curriculum ideas, etc…, visit the Suspension Stories website.

Mariame is co-author of the reports “Policing Chicago Public Schools. She has also co-authored essays about the school-to-prison pipeline as well as restorative justice including: Arresting the Carceral State (with Erica Meiners) and Restorative Justice is Not Enough: School-Based Interventions in the Carceral State (with Hereth, Lewis, and Meiners).

When: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Where: Roosevelt University, 425 S. Wabash Ave, Room 418
Time: 1 to 4:00 p.m.
Info: Bring your lunch. This workshop is at no cost to participants. However space is limited and Pre-Registration is REQUIRED.

NO WALK-INS WILL BE ACCEPTED. We also ask that you please be considerate of others who would really like to attend this workshop. DO NOT SIGN UP WITHOUT BEING CERTAIN THAT YOU WILL ATTEND. We really mean this.

Workshop: Teaching About the PIC and the Criminal Legal System

Pre-Registration is REQUIRED for this event and can be accessed HERE.

Chain Gang by William H Johnson

Chain Gang by William H Johnson

Join Project NIA on March 22, 2014 for the Release of Our New Curriculum Guide by Dr. Michelle VanNatta, “Teaching about the Prison Industrial Complex and Criminal Legal System: Exercises, Simulations, Resources, and Discussion Ideas.” Michelle will lead an interactive based on some of the activities featured in the guide.

This curriculum guide offers ideas for exercises that can be adapted, shared, and transformed to meet the needs of different groups. These activities are offered as potential tools in the hopes they may be useful in sparking discussion and in the development of more curricula.

Teaching about the Prison Industrial Complex and Criminal Legal System” is in no way meant to provide a comprehensive look at issues in the prison industrial complex or criminal legal system. This is not a systematically developed, integrated group of exercises intended to provide a thorough view and analysis of all the critical issues about the prison industrial complex that communities, students, and activists need to learn about. Rather, it’s a set of tools intended to be adapted and integrated into curricula, popular education, or training efforts by teachers, organizers, and community builders.

Participants will learn about the content of the guide and will get some hands-on practice using some of the activities featured.  A digital version of the guide will be available to interested individuals and information will be provided about how to access this. In addition, hard copies of the curriculum guide will be available for a suggested donation of $25.

When: Saturday, March 22, 2014

Time: 1 to 4 p.m. [Bring Your Lunch]

Location: Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave, Room 320

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED (NO EXCEPTIONS).  Please only register is you are SURE that you will be attending the event. Space is limited.

This event is at no cost to participants but hard copies of the curriculum will be available for a suggested donation of $25.

 

Feb 14: Criminalizing Black Girls: A Workshop

Criminalizing Black Girls

Delores, Melrose Plantation, Louisiana, 1950 (by Carlotta Corpron)

Delores, Melrose Plantation, Louisiana, 1950 (by Carlotta Corpron)

Black girls and young women are the fastest growing population in the juvenile legal system. They are disproportionately targeted at every stage of the process. Black girls are also consistently suspended, expelled, and arrested from school at a higher rate than their peers. Yet most of the discussions and concern about criminalization are centered on boys and young men.

Join Project NIA and the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women for a workshop about the criminalization of black girls on February 14th from 1 to 4 p.m.

The workshop will provide a space to consider the following questions: 1. How and why are black girls targeted? 2. What are the effects and impacts of their disproportionate criminalization? How can we intervene to interrupt this criminalization?

Pre-Registration is required and Suggested Donation is $15. No one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay.

Friday, February 14
1 to 4 p.m.
(Bring Your Lunch)
Roosevelt University
425 S. Wabash Ave
Wabash Room 418

Register HERE.

by Bianca Diaz

by Bianca Diaz

Project NIA: 2013 Year in Review

2013 was a very productive year for us at Project NIA and we have no doubt that 2014 will be even more so.

This year, we continued to undertake applied research that was cited and used by various stakeholders. We trained community members about prison and juvenile justice issues. We created new curricula and tools to disseminate our ideas about transformative justice. We organized conferences, art exhibitions, film screenings, and other events to build community and a base of people who are interested in dismantling the prison industrial complex. We joined with allies to advocate for policy changes and to oppose efforts to further criminalize people. We worked in our community to provide healing spaces through bodywork, peace circles, and more. Finally, we continued to incubate projects that have a direct impact on the lives of youth in conflict with the law and their families. In 2013, our work impacted thousands of people across the country.

We could not do this work without our generous supporters and donors who make it all possible. In particular, we put out two calls for grassroots fundraising support this year. You helped us to meet our goals. Thank you for supporting us in 2013 and we look forward to a terrific 2014 building on our accomplishments and learning from our challenges. Below are some highlights of our work. Please feel free to share this with others who might be interested in Project NIA.

PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH & INFORMATION ACTIVISM

We produced and published several reports this year. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to and used this work. Our research was cited in the media including Dnainfo Chicago, Think Progress, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bureau, and more. We also know that the data and reports were used by our peers at other organizations and by community members to advocate for policy changes. Our Chicago Youth Justice Data Project Blog continued to provide updated information about the Illinois juvenile justice system throughout the year.

Here are the reports that we published in 2013:

1. Policing Chicago Public Schools 2 by Mariame Kaba & Eva Nagao

2. Arresting Justice (Second Edition, PDF): Juvenile Arrests 2011 & 2012 by Mariame Kaba

3. Trends in Chicago Juvenile Arrests, 2009-2012 (PDF) by Ashley Cook, Zygmunt Czykieta, Paul Mack, and Chris Skrable (with contributions by Mariame Kaba)

4. “WE’RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL:” ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION FOR YOUTH IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW by Michelle VanNatta and Mariame Kaba

5. Mandatory Minimums & Guns: Opinions from Illinois by Julian Ignacio and Mariame Kaba

arrests-FS-1-page-001

In addition to these reports, thanks to volunteers Eva Nagao and Jacqui Shine, we created infographics about youth incarceration in Illinois and about juvenile detention in Cook County along with a series of fact sheets about the school to prison pipeline.

POPULAR AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION

Art and Other Exhibitions

Black/Inside: During February (Black History Month), the Black/Inside exhibition traveled to Trinity United Church of Christ. Hundreds of people came through to view the artifacts and engage the exhibition.

With help from our supporters, we successfully raised over $5,000 through a grassroots fundraising campaign to turn Black/Inside into a traveling exhibition. Stay tuned for details about this in 2014!

Black and Blue: From March 18 to 29, through a residency at the Pop-Up Just Art Space on Maxwell street, we organized a series of events about policing, violence, and resistance including an art exhibition, film screenings, panel discussions, and more. We were hosted by the Social Justice Institute at UIC and over 250 people participated in the events. We thank our volunteers Billy Dee (who designed the exhibition) and Eva Nagao who were indispensable to making the residency a success.

Eva created an online exhibit to document the art from this project. You can also read NIA volunteer Billy Dee’s reflections on talking about police violence with students from Bowen H.S. who contributed their art to the exhibition.

by Bianca Diaz

by Bianca Diaz

Picturing A World Without Prisons: In partnership with our friends at Free Write Jail Arts and Literacy Program, we curated an exhibit which brings together the visions of incarcerated youth and people on the outside. We were hosted by the HumanThread Center/Gallery from November 11 through December 6.

We want to engage the public in imagining a world without prisons with us. This project will extend into 2014 with the creation of a zine and a continuation of our discussions about imagining a world without prisons. In the meantime, we have begun to create an online exhibit that will document the project.

You can read Alicia Crowther’s reflections on submitting a photograph to the exhibition here. Below you can listen to Marie Soude discuss her submission to Picturing A World Without Prisons. Her submission is here.

Other workshops, training, and educational events

Through our various teach-ins, workshops, conferences, and discussions, we reached over 750 people in 2013.

trayvon_martin_flyer

Some of our workshops included understanding the criminalization of youth 101 and Introduction to the PIC. Teach-ins for youth and adults focused on Trayvon Martin, Assata Shakur, and Marissa Alexander. We co-organized and hosted discussions about the school to prison pipeline, transformative justice, the militarization of police, the impact of incarceration on children, violence in the lives of black girls and more.

In addition, the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective organized an 8 session summer training program for over 35 people. The training program was co-sponsored by our friends at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum. Through the program, we invited some new members to join the Collective and connected others to local anti-prison efforts in Chicago.

Curricula and Resources

This year we continued to develop curriculum and resources that we made available to the public at no cost. Our resources are now used across the world and we are always excited to hear about how they contribute to creating a more just and peaceful world. Visit the PICIS.org website for a listing of all of our resources.

Chain Reaction: Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling the Police is a youth-driven, multimedia project run by volunteers in Chicago from 2011-2013. The project website includes an archive of video and audio stories about young people’s encounters with police, a “how-to” on creating a youth media project in your own community, and a curriculum for workshops on what it means to not call the police in your own community.

A Different Approach to School Safety: We (with NIA volunteer & filmmaker Debbie Southorn) produced a short film documenting how one urban school in Chicago manages school safety without relying on law enforcement or harsh school disciplinary policies. We will use that film to promote the campaign and also to provide a concrete example illustrating that it is in fact possible to ensure school safety without relying on cops. This was part of our Yes to Counselors No to Cops Campaign.

A Transformative Justice Curriculum Guide: This guide offers some idea for educators, organizers, and community members who want to facilitate conversations about concepts such as intervening when harms occur, how to define justice, forgiveness, alternatives to policing, and more.

Uproar Chicago: We partnered with community members to produce an innovative audio collage capturing a particular moment in time in Chicago and illuminating community responses to violence. This resource can be used to foster conversations about the nature and impact of violence in the lives of Chicagoans.

A Youth-Friendly Reader about Trayvon Martin Case: This publication is appropriate for high school aged youth and older. It includes articles, manifestos, and a couple of poems. At the end, we offer a short list of potential activities and actions that young people can do.

ADVOCACY AND ORGANIZING

We continued to organize to support juvenile justice and prison reform policies while opposing those that we believe are detrimental. This year saw the closing of two youth prisons in Illinois. We’ve been proud to join with our allies over the last few years to achieve this outcome. We continue to press for the closing of more juvenile prisons. Some of our other advocacy efforts are featured below.

by Billy Dee

by Billy Dee

1. Chicago Student Safety Act: After over two years of discussions with Chicago Public Schools, our coalition will have some exciting news to announce in January 2014. Stay tuned!

2. HB2265/SB1342 Mandatory Minimum Gun Bill: We spent the entire year working to oppose SB1342,a bill that would have imposed mandatory sentences for possessing an unloaded gun without a valid FOID (Firearms Owner Identification) card. A description of the latest incarnation of the bill can be found here. Read about the costs about the bill here. We oppose mandatory minimum prison sentences because they do not deter crime, are too expensive, and actually do not make our communities safer.

Recently one of our creative resistance actions against the bill was profiled in YES MAGAZINE. Here are some of the creative actions that we organized. Ultimately, SB 1342 did not get a vote this year. This is a victory but we expect that proponents of the bill will try again this Spring. We’ll be prepared to oppose it then too. Upon hearing the news that the bill would not get a vote in the December special session, we encouraged all of our supporters who helped in this campaign to take a moment to celebrate.

by Bianca Diaz

by Bianca Diaz

3. We co-organized several direct action protests in 2013. See some photographs from these actions. In particular, we responded to a federal report about high rates of sexual victimization of incarcerated youth by organizing a silent witness protest before a House committee hearing. Mariame also testified at the hearing. Some media coverage can be found here and here.

4. Yes to Counselors, No to Cops: In January 2013, we mobilized a loose coalition of individuals and organizations in Chicago to pressure our Senators (in particular) to oppose any new funding for police officers in schools and to take an affirmative position in support of more counselors and restorative justice programs. We also wanted to be proactive in asking the Chicago Public Schools to pass a resolution that would state unequivocally that any new funding received from Federal grants to improve school safety based on the President’s gun reform plan will be used to hire COUNSELORS NOT COPS. Our coalition accomplished a great deal in just a few short weeks. See what was accomplished here.

5. Finally, we supported the Juvenile Justice Initiative’s successful effort to Raise the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction in Illinois. We helped to rally community support and encouraged people to contact their elected officials and file witness slips. We also supported to effort to expand Redeploy Illinois.

INTERVENTIONS/INCUBATION

NIA Wellness Program
During 2013, our Wellness Program developed the Community Healers Project. This project was set up to train community members to help themselves and others with easy-to-learn, straightforward, gentle techniques to create wellbeing and relaxation. We held our first training in July 2013 in collaboration with Rogers Park’s Family Matters organization and Sage Community Health Collective. We raised money and hired licensed acupuncturist Tanuja Jagernauth to provide an ear acupressure training for a group of six women and youth in Rogers Park. Project Nia social work intern Michelle VanNatta also provided training on active listening and guided relaxation. Members of this group returned to share their skills with other community members at two Community Share meetings held in August and October. Licensed massage therapists and bodyworkers were also recruited to volunteer their services. Project Nia networked with other community organizations that provide services to recruit participants, who came to learn relaxation skills and receive healing treatments. The intern and volunteers plan to continue offering these community events every other month during 2014. Family Matters has volunteered their space for this purpose, and volunteers have been providing snacks and supplies.

Our intern had regular counseling and psychoeducation sessions with several individual clients during 2013. She also provided a healing circle for a family member of an individual currently detained and charged with sexual abuse of minor children.

Michelle represented Project Nia with the Healing Justice Network at meetings and provided services to clients at monthly Community Care Nights. This group focuses on providing free wellness services to the community and addressing oppression in healthcare settings. They are currently working to replicate our Prison Industrial Complex Teaching Collective model as they build a teaching network around health justice issues.

Circles and Ciphers: We’ve incubated and supported this hip hop leadership development program for youth in conflict with the law since its inception. In the video below, program co-founder Ethan Ucker explains Circles’s work and impact. In 2013, Circles and Ciphers worked with several dozen young people in school, detention, and community settings.

restoring hope from Leah Varjacques on Vimeo.

Families in Touch: After 2.5 years of coordinating Families in Touch, Tobin Shelton has moved out of state and turned over leadership to another volunteer Maggie Mui. We are so very grateful to Tobin for all of his efforts to launch and then sustain the program. He was an intern at Project NIA when he developed Families in Touch. Maggie has been a volunteer giving rides to families who need to visit their children at Warrenville Youth prison. We thank her for stepping up to lead the program.

Chicago Girl Talk: Girl Talk, a volunteer-led and run program, continues to work with girls and young women who are incarcerated at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Girl Talk will be undergoing some changes in 2014. Check the site for future updates.

VOLUNTEERS & KEY SUPPORTERS

Special thanks to the following people who contributed greatly to our work in 2013.

Volunteers
Kyla Bourne, Scout Bratt (Girl Talk), Lisa Dadabo (PIC Collective), Billy Dee, Bianca Diaz (Intern), Jessica Estrada (Girl Talk), Claudia Rojas-Garcia, Jane Hereth (PIC Collective), Carrie Kauffman (PIC Collective), Hope Lassen (Girl Talk), A.D. (Sean) Lewis, Deana Lewis (Girl Talk), Sarah Lu, Kayla Martensen (Girl Talk), Page May, Erica Meiners (PIC Collective), Maggie Mui (Families in Touch), Eva Nagao, Olivia Perlow (PIC Collective), Charlotte Pope, Yolanda Roldan (Girl Talk), Chez Rumpf (PIC Collective), Jacqui Shine, Ashlee Stephens (Girl Talk), Debbie Southorn, Michelle VanNatta (Intern), Haley Volpintesta, Lewis Wallace (Chain Reaction/PIC Collective), Emily Williams (Girl Talk), Ann Wooten (PIC Collective).

Key Supporters
Kristen Atkinson, Lori Baptista, Micah Bazant, Lara Brooks, Tawanna Brown, Alice Cottingham, Isis Ferguson, Sharlyn Grace, Shira Hassan, Lisa Junkin, Jake Klippenstein, Lisa Lee, Tracye Matthews, Owen-Daniel McCarter, Kristin Millikan, Nancy Michaels, Sarah Jane Rhee, Barbara Ransby, Beth Richie, Ann Russo, Traci Schlesinger, Teresa Silva, Brad Thompson, Rick Uttich. Lewis Wallace

Collaborating Organizations & Institutions
African American Cultural Center at UIC, American Civil Liberties Union Illinois, Black & Pink Chicago, Black Youth Project 100 (Chicago Chapter), Broadway Youth Center, Building Bridges Ending Violence, Chicago Alliance against Racist & Political Repression, Chicago Childcare Collective, Chicago Freedom School, The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM), Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, Children and Family Justice Center, COFI/POWER-PAC, Community Justice for Youth Institute, Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC), Dignity in Schools Campaign, Family Matters, First Defense Legal Aid, Free Marissa NOW Mobilization Campaign, Free Write Jail Arts & Literacy Program, Gender Just, Haymarket Books, HumanThread Center/Gallery, Illinois Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, IYC-Warrenville, Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Juvenile Justice Initiative, Juvenile Justice Support Network (JJSN), John Howard Association, Lawndale Amachi Mentorship Program (LAMP), Lawndale Christian Legal Center, Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation (Roosevelt University), National Lawyers Guild (Chicago), New Life Centers of Chicagoland (Urban Life Skills Program), Occupy Rogers Park, Overpass Light Brigade (Chicago), People’s Law Office, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Sage Community Health Collective, Social Justice Initiative of UIC, Teachers for Social Justice, Trinity United Church of Christ, Truthout, Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), Woman of God’s Design Ministries, Women’s All Points Bulletin, Women & Gender Studies Program (Depaul University), Young Women’s Empowerment Project, Youth Service Project.

Donors
(2013 list of individual donors will be listed on our website)
Afterschool Matters
Crossroads Fund
Cook County
MSS Social Justice Award
Woods Fund of Chicago

December 5: We Are Still Troy Davis

troy-davis

TWO YEARS LATER, WE ARE STILL TROY DAVIS

Please join us for a commemoration & book event Thursday, December 5 at the Chicago Temple

“Like Trayvon Martin’s monumental murder, the execution of Troy Davis was a historic awakening for this country – an awakening of the deadly consequences of white supremacy. Don’t miss this book!”
— DR. CORNEL WEST

 Thursday, December 5th at 6:30pm

Chicago Temple

77 W Washington Street (across from Daley Plaza)

Chicago, IL 60602 

FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

RSVP on Facebook

CHICAGO–On September 21, 2011 Troy Anthony Davis was put to death by the State of Georgia.

Two years later, we are still Troy Davis.

The Davis family, author Jen Marlowe, and Haymarket Books invite you to join us for a book launch and commemoration of Troy’s legacy and reflection on the impact that his struggle has had on those of us still fighting for justice. Cosponsored by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Project NIA, the Illinois Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, and Young Chicago Authors, the program will include:

Kimberly Davis, sister of Troy Davis
Jen Marlowe, author, I Am Troy Davis
Mariame Kaba, founding director, Project NIA
Malcolm London, BYP 100 & Young Chicago Authors teaching artist
Marlene Martin, Campaign to End the Death Penalty
*a representative of the BYP 100
*a special performance by Kevin Coval, artistic director for Young Chicago Authors

Participants will reflect on the legacy of Troy Davis and his sister Martina Davis-Correia, honor their memory by discussing next steps in the struggle for justice, and launch the new book I Am Troy Davis, co-authored by Jen Marlowe and Troy’s sister Martina Davis-Correia, with the participation of Troy himself.

Book signing to follow.

 About I Am Troy Davis:

On SEPTEMBER 21, 2011, Troy Anthony Davis was put to death by the State of Georgia. Davis’s execution was protested by hundreds of thousands across the globe. How did one man capture the world’s imagination and become the iconic face for the campaign to end the death penalty?

 I Am Troy Davis, coauthored by Jen Marlowe and Davis’s sister Martina Davis-Correia, tells the intimate story of an ordinary man caught up in an inexorable tragedy. From his childhood in racially charged Savannah; to the confused events that led to the 1989 murder of a police officer; to Davis’s sudden arrest, conviction, and two-decade fight to prove his innocence; I Am Troy Davis takes us inside a broken legal system where life and death hangs in the balance. It is also an inspiring testament to the unbreakable bond of family, to the resilience of love, and to how even when you reach the end of justice, voices from across the world will rise together in chorus and proclaim, “I am Troy Davis,” I stand with you. 

About the author:

JEN MARLOWE is a human rights activist, writer, and filmmaker, is the author of The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker and Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival.

 About the sponsors:
Campaign to End the Death Penalty - www.nodeathpenalty.org
Project NIA - www.project-nia.org
Illinois Campaign to End the New Jim Crow - http://illinoiscampaigntoendthenewjimcrow.wordpress.com
Young Chicago Authors - www.youngchicagoauthors.org
 
Haymarket Books - www.haymarketbooks.org

 Interviews and review copies of I Am Troy Davis available on request.

Media contact: jim@haymarketbooks.org

If interested in background information about Troy Davis and his case, visit a site that we co-created in 2011 HERE. You can also read two of the blog posts that Mariame wrote about Troy here and here.

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