PHI News

Break the Silence

July 5, 2018

“BREAK THE SILENCE projection of the self one is nothing one is not definable woman is not definable man is not definable woman will be what she makes of herself man will be what he makes of himself existence precedes essence after that leap towards existence we are left alone, without excuse.” Found words poem by an incarcerated artist at a detention center in New York

A vivid representation of the intersection of art and justice, the ARTE panel, which was sponsored by the Society of Fellows and the Heyman Center for the Humanities, provided an overview not just of the project, but also gave the young women involved an opportunity to speak about their experiences participating in this unique enterprise.  In the winter of 2017, ARTE (Art and Resistance Through Education), in collaboration with the Justice-in-Education Initiative, facilitated a workshop for young women detained in a New York jail. The women conceived of and drafted a mural that celebrated the accomplishments of six notable women of color, namely Dolores Huerta, Bree Newsome, Michelle Obama, Leymah Gbowee, Malala Yousafzai, and Leena Kejriwal; in the spring of 2018, a group of students from the Maxine Greene High School worked on painting the mural, which can now be admired at the intersection of 116th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

"Getting Out of Prison Meant Leaving Dear Friends Behind" by Robert Wright   I have spent countless nights like this, lying awake, anticipating life, trying to escape imprisonment through my mind’s eye. I imagine the things I will do once I’m free. Flashes of me laughing with family and friends at a cookout or enjoying the company of a beautiful woman play out in my mind like a silent movie.

Columbia University has received nearly three million dollars in grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through its program in Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities. The awards entail a renewal of $1.7 million for the Justice-in-Education Initiative, developed under the direction of Geraldine Downey, professor of Psychology and director of the Center for Justice, and Eileen Gillooly, executive director of the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, to provide educational opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Humanities New York sits down with Josie Whittlesey of Drama Club and Cameron Rasmussen and Ryan Burvick from the “Beats, Rhymes and Justice” program. They discuss the Action Grant-supported projects they offer to incarcerated youth (men and women under the age of 21) on Rikers Island. Humanities NY s a partner of the Heyman Center on our Public Humanities Fellowships, many of which have gone to graduate students whose supported projects took them to Rikers.

PEN America’s $10,000 Writing for Justice Fellowship will commission six writers—emerging or established—to create written works of lasting merit that illuminate critical issues related to mass incarceration and catalyze public debate.

From The Nation: The Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Doyle Lee Hamm The State of Alabama was warned that its planned execution of Hamm would be painful and torturous. It kept going anyway.

Professor Bernard Harcourt, on the Society of Fellows' Governing Board, is featured in this New York Time's OpEd piece on Doyle Lee Hamm, a cancer patient currently on death row in Alabama.

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