Schedule of Events (Jun 4-6, 2020)
Leslie Vass spent 10 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Ever since he was freed in 1986, he has been haunted by the erroneous charges that still exist on his record, even today. Vass will be sharing his story and the way he is currently impacted. After he speaks we will host a Q and A.
Sacred Canvas Workshop
Eeden Theta Shale is the creator behind Sacred Canvas, utilizing trauma informed healing processes in union with artistic release. They live in Philadelphia, consistently curating projects for creative development, activism, as well as ceremony. Eeden runs a campaign called Advocacy Arts in honor of the change, catharsis + community cultivation this perspective-bridging blend brings.
Jail Bed Drop will be hosting a Sacred Canvas workshop facilitated by Eeden, as an extension of their Art With Intent series. The focus will be on recovery from gender violence or oppression - through macro + micro scales that have impacted us systemically or institutionally. Together, we'll engage in a themed meditation that carries us into a space to create, thoroughly expressing the emotions connected to our experiences as survivors.
West African Dance Class (Rhythm- Soli)
Jahanna Blunt, a native of Los Angeles, California, began her dance career as a seven-year-old with Abalaye African Drum and Dance Ensemble, and has since been studying, practicing, and performing West African dance in various arenas. The rhythm, Soli, was chosen for this class because it is used in rites of passage ceremonies. It is a representation of transition and overcoming adversity through the journey from childhood to adulthood, offering healing and uplifting energy.
Updates and Actions Steps Towards Prison Abolition
My Name is Jared O'Brien but I also go by Jaybo or King Jaybo to my friends or when I am beong referred to in the music field. I am a singer, rapper and songwriter but also an Organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition and the Justice LA Coalition who has great love for my community. Grew up in Belize Central America and moved to South central Los Angeles as a teenager. I have been impacted by the juvenile injustice system as a youth and this is what fuels both my love for organizing and my love for Art. I am on a mission to help to abolish the unfair Criminal Injustice System and create something more equitable for people of color. I will be talking about this mission and the work that I am doing along with YJC to dismantle the Juvenile injustice system and the work that I am involved in with Justice LA to fight to abolish the system of Cages and to create a holistic system of Care!! I will also be talking about the importance of Abolition over Reform and why it is important to understand the difference!!!
Poetry Readings by Daniel Whitlow
"I am a musician and author who received a sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole at the age of 17. After 19 years, because of juvenile justice reforms (namely Senate Bill 9), a court resentenced me to 25-to-life, and in 2019, a parole board found me suitable for parole. After 22 years of incarceration, I am free and grateful for a chance to make amends for the pain I caused so many.
The poems I’m sharing are part of a larger project that seeks to identify the complexities of trauma through an allegorical lens, with the ultimate goal being finding paths of understanding, healing, and personal growth amidst the chaos and decay of isolation and shame and other negative forces."
MORNING EXORCISE: our bodies –– our homes
MORNING EXORCISE is a ceremony to awaken / return to our authentic bodies and expression. by stripping the learned body, we allow ourselves to engage in active & deep listening with our body memory, sensations, and surroundings – we create space for our bodies to reveal their truths, depths, and native tools for feeling, healing, alignment, and joy! Through guided movement meditations and embodiment tasks, we explore new ways of moving and existing together in service of our own freedom and empowerment.
This rendition of MORNING EXORCISE is entitled “our bodies –– our homes.” How can we occupy our bodies as home, and carve sacred homes both inside and around us? How can you take up space? How can space take up you? together we will reorient our relationships to home, as we liberate ourselves from the confines of constructed, walled spaces.
Photographer: Roger JC Lee
POPS the Club transforms shame and stigma into hope and healing for teens who are struggling with the Pain of the Prison System. In weekly club meetings, young people with loved ones in prison, jail and detention discover they are not alone. In the sacred space that is a POPS club meeting, members create community, share their stories, and to listen to others'. We break bread, make art, write, engage in mindfulness exercises, learn from guest speakers, and publish and perform our stories and poems.
Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls
-An hour of readings of dances as imagined inside the CRC prison during spring 2020
-Suchi Branfman with Ernst Fenelon Jr, Chris Rowan, Marc Antoni Charcas
In the midst of dancing and creating weekly together for the past four years with men inside the CRC prison gym in Norco, the work was abruptly ended in March 2020, when the California state prison system shut down all programming and visitation. The project the dancers were working on, Choreographing Our Stories, was rapidly revised, and the dancers began sending out imagined choreographies from their bunks to the world. This event shares the resulting powerfully written choreographic work, read aloud by formerly incarcerated brothers of the inside choreographers.
#carenotcages #letthemgo #freethemall
Suchi Branfman, choreographer, performer, educator, and prison abolition activist, has had the honor of working for many years, throughout the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean and the African continent. She is currently in year four of a five-year choreographic residency at the California Rehabilitation Center, a medium security state men’s prison.
“The practice of bodies in motion is a call to freedom.” Saidiyah Hartman