Political Education is imperative in social justice work.
This is a living document of study created for Let’s Get Free: The Women & Trans Prisoner defense committee, a Pittsburgh based group that works with people in prison. We try to read,watch or listen to one or two items between each meeting and then have a brief discussion. This is one small way our group strives to honor it’s commitment to racial justice.
“Africans were kidnapped and brought to this country incarcerated. Mass incarceration is nothing new.” — Ricky Olds
- 1619 Podcast – In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is time to tell the story. The full .pdf of the New York Times Magazine publication for the 1619 Project.
- Reconstruction PBS Special – 4 part series: i think it’s free if you have cable or pbs membership. You can buy it from amazon for 3 dollars an episode of 8 bucks for the season.
- Mumia Speaks 1996 Interview with Mumia Abu Jamal (about an hour) Watch Long Distance Revolutionary
- Prison Radio Short radio commentaries from people in prison including Mumia
- The 1985 Move bombing in Philadelphia – The Confrontation – 15 minute video from Philly Inquirer: Produced for the 25th anniversary of the 1985 Move bombing in Philadelphia, in this video retired Philadelphia police officer James Berghaier and Move member Ramona Africa describe the fatal confrontation between police and Move.
- Read Assata Autobiography of Assata Shakur and research her
- Watch Black Power Mixtape and Free Angela and Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
- The Prison Industrial Complex and Global Economy by Eve Goldberg and Linda Evans
- 13th Documentary by Ava Duvernay on netflix
- Monumental Lies by Reveal – The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but the Confederacy didn’t completely die with it. Monuments, shrines and museums are found throughout the South. We teamed up with The Investigative Fund to visit dozens of them and found that for devoted followers they inspire a disturbing – and distorted – view of history: Confederate generals as heroes. Slaves who were happy to work for them.
Commutation & Life Sentence
- Updated Tips for Filing Commutation -Feb. 2020
- Let’s Get Free’s Platform for commutation reform.
- What is Commutation? A Visual Story Let’s Get Free performed this at Avis’ last Merit Review
- Statistics of Commutation and the PA Department of Corrections
- Pennsylvania Parole and Life Imprisonment by Jon Yount – February 2004
- History of Commutation by Lifers Incorporated Commutation Committee – Information Sheet December 21, 2010
- Mass Incarceration of the Elderly – Report by the ACLU
- Chronological Legal History of Parole and Probation from PA Sentencing
- A Living Chance – Creative project lifting up women sentenced to life in California
- Life LInes Voices Against the Other Death Penalty – LifeLines is a media/cultural project conducted in extensive, long-term collaboration with eight people serving Life Sentences Without Parole or Death By Incarceration sentences in Pennsylvania. The project uses interviews, creative media interventions, and sound installations to support an emerging statewide campaign to abolish Death By Incarceration
- “The Ungers: A Matter of Time” 10 minutes: A new short film by Wide Angle Youth Media introduces us to the Ungers – geriatric lifers released under the 2012 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling, Unger v. Maryland. This examines the issues of long term sentences, geriatric parole and what it means to be a part of this unique case study in geriatric reentry. The film also interviews key reform experts including Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais and JPI’s State Based Strategist, Keith Wallington.
- You can see a panel discussion of the film – Starts at 8 minutes – this is an hour long panel with some of the “ungers”
- Mujid Farid Here is 12 minute interview Mujid died in late 2018, he was one of the founders of Release Aging People from Prison and spoke about the punishment paradigm and coined the phrase ”If the risk is low let them go.”
- Can you talk your way out of a life sentence? California is giving a second chance to thousands of inmates who had no hope of parole. But first they have to prove to a panel of strangers that they’ve truly changed.By Dashka Slater January 2020 NYT
- Prepping for Parole – A group of volunteers is helping incarcerated people navigate a system that is all but broken. By Jennifer Gonnerman NewYorker
Women in Prison
- Series of Videos of Women Serving Time at Muncy
- Dying Outloud – 20 minute Video Doc – Tusko Films – Female prisoners in a US maximum-security prison explain how they got to be facing Life Without Parole, even though they did not pull the trigger. Is it just that they die slowly in prison without hope, even though they didn’t actually kill anybody?
- Overview of Resistance behind Bars by VIkki Law from Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggle of Incarcerated Women Buy the book! from the publisher if you can. This whole book is essential.
- Institutionalized Violence Chapter from Unruly Women: The politics of confinement and resistance by Karlene Faith
- Going to the Movies from Unruly Women
- Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline by Human Rights Project for Girls, Ms. Foundation, Georgetown University
- Recordings from the Free Her Conference 2015
- Research Marissa Alexander
- These Formerly Incarcerated Women Fought to Close a Jail and Won by Vikki Law March 2020
Queer and Trans
- Introduction Queer Injustice from the book Queer Injustice – powerful history illuminating connections between colonization and violence against trans people
- Rights Movements and Critical Trans Politics by Dean Spade
- Treatment of Queers in Criminal Courts chapter from Queer (In)Justice
- Research CeCe McDonald and the New Jersey 4 Out in the Night – Documentary about the New Jersey 4 – I think you can just see the trailer now. You may be able to watch it if you have access to PBS. 40 minute interview with Ce Ce here
- Out: The Making of a Revolutionary – about Laura Whitehorn political prisoner on youtube!
- Research Chelsea Manning
Non- Profits and Savior Complex
- Social Service or Social Change by Paul Kivel 2000
- The Revolution will not be funded Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence – Book Review by James Trimarco 2008 in Yes Magazine
- White Anti-Racism Must Be Based in Solidarity, Not Altruism Altruism is too often carried along by the currents of racist capitalism. By Jesse A. Myerson Feb 2018 The Nation
- No White Saviors on Instagram
- White Savior and Why It’s A Problem – Youtube
- “No More Heroes”Jordan Flaherty’s New Book Excavates the Deep Roots of the White Savior Industrial Complex by Wendy Elisheva Somerson September 23, 2016
- “Saviors” Believe That They Are Better Than The People They Are “Saving” by Jordan Flahtery 2017
- More than Flinging a Coin, True Compassion as a Critique of Charity by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and Colleen Wessel-McCoy
- Decolonizing Wealth Address’ Philanthropy’s White Supremacy Problem by Catherine Lizette Gonzalez Oct 23, 2018 Colorlines
Transformative Justice, Surviving Violence and Prison Abolition
- Abolitionist Resource Guide Prisons, Policing, and Punishment by Micah Herskind – phenomenal collection of resources. Thanks Micah!
- A Life Sentence and Living With Murder – 3 Part radio series – each an hour Frontline PBS – Samantha Broun takes us through the story of her own family’s traumatic experience with violence, provides a historical overview of the commutation process in PA and shares vulnurable dialogue with Kempis Ghani Songster, who was sentenced to die in prison with a life sentence at the age of 15. There is an additional follow up story with Ghani after his release from prison.
- Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex – Joint Statement from Critical Resistance and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence 11 pages
- Is Prison Necessary? Ruthie Gilmore Might Change Your Mind by Rachel Kushner April, 2019 NY Times Magazine
- My rapist apologised. I still need an abortion. By MIchelle Alexander May 23, 2019 NY TImes Opinion
- Reckoning with Violence. We must face violent crime honestly and courageously if we are ever to end mass incarceration and provide survivors with the support they truly want and need to heal. By Michelle Alexander March, 2019 NY TImes Opinion
- Interview with Danielle Sered was interviewed by Xochitl Bervera about her book “Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration and the Road to Repair” at the 2019 Decatur Book Festival. – 40 minute Video
- The Practices We Need: #metoo and Transformative Justice Part 2 How to Survive the End of the World -Podcast: Today the Brown sisters talk with transformative justice practitioner Mariame Kaba (@prisonculture on twitter) and get minds blown with frameworks and breakthroughs on how to really address harm and grow beyond it.
- The Fact of a Body Alexandria (Alex) Marzano-Lesnevich The book parallels two true stories – one of Alex researching the Louisiana death penalty case of Ricky Langley – who committed several acts of pedophilia and ultimately killed a child named Jeremy. The second story is of Alex, processing the sexual violence they personally experienced at the hands of their grandfather and how thier family deals with it.
- Interfaith Panel on Forgiveness from Restorative Justice Conference – audio recording
- Dominc Barter on Restorative Justice Circles in Brazil – audio recording
- Bryan Stevenson from Equal Justice Initiative speaks in Pittsburgh – audio recording
- Creative Interventions Community Accountability Tool Kit Creative Interventions (CI) started in 2004 in Oakland as a national resource center to create and promote community-based interventions to interpersonal violence. CI and our partners developed a toolkit to promote a community-based approach to ending interpersonal violence.
- Fumbling Towards Repair: A Workbook for Community Accountability Facilitators by Mariame Kaba and Shira Hassan (June 2019)
- In a series of four short online videos produced by BCRW, activists Reina Gossett and Dean Spade discuss prison abolition as a political framework, exploring why this is a top issue for those committed to supporting trans and gender-nonconforming people. These videos look at how to build societies where the process of creating justice is as important as the end—communities where no one is exiled.
- “No One is Disposable: Everyday Practices of Prison Abolition,” 1 hour dialogue between Reina Gossett and Dean Spade
- What would a world without prisons look like?
Some resources for white people in solidarity for collective liberation
- Link to All the What’s Up Study Groups Since 2012
- Anti-Oppression Training Alliance(AORTA) Resource Page – Toolkits Galore!
- From White Racist to White Anti-Racist by Dismantling Racism Works
- Love is the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks 6 pages
- Barriers to Organization Between Anti-Racist White People by Joanie Mayer 10 pages
- Why It’s so Hard to Talk to White People About Race and/or video by Robin DiAngelo
- On the Role of White People in the Movement at this Moment by SONG
- The Movement for Black Lives Policies
- Black Lives Matter
- How to Tell the Difference Between Real Solidarity and ‘Ally Theater’ by Mia McKenzie
- How to be an Ally? – Excerpt from the book Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression by Anne Bishop
- The Work Is Not The Workshop: Talking and Doing, Visibility and Accountability in the White Anti-Racist Community by Catherine Jones
- Explore this website resource now and in the future – https://www.whiteaccomplices.org/
- “Taking Direction, Accountability” by Hilary Moore & Joshua Kahn Russell from Organizing Cools the Planet
- Connecting the Dots Political Education Series for Showing Up for Racial Justice
- Example of Solidarity Guidelines by Deep Green Resistance
- Code of Ethics for Antiracist White Allies By JLove Calderon and Tim Wise
- Protocol and Principles by Bay Area Solidarity Action Team
- Collecting [a] home for Disability Justice in the Library Co-written by Dustin Gibson and Dana Bishop-Root in collaboration with Bekezela Mguni. Audio version by Imani Barbarin. Originally published at Disability Visibility Project.
- SURJ Disability and Access Organizing
Resources for PA and Communicating with people in PA Prisons
- Pa Prisoner Directory Action – Updated 2017 – Resource Guide for Prisoners in PA put together by Book ‘Em
- Snail Mail, Email and Photos Communicating with Prisoners in PA