2019 Graduate, Lisa Garcia was a part of PCAP for one year, in 2018. After watching associate professor Ashley Lucas's play—Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass—she was hooked. "Afterwards, all I could think was ‘oh my god, I need to meet this woman.’ I then got into contact with Ashley, learned about PCAP and the work she does,” Garcia said.
After graduating, Garcia started a fellowship with Princeton and went to Guatemala for a few months, where she worked for a women’s justice non-profit. She just started a graduate program at Columbia in the fall.
“I will be working towards community development and sustainable interventions in third world countries, as the experience I had in Brazil, while traveling with PCAP, made me realize how prison abolishment is prominent all around the world, and not just the United States.”
While in PCAP During her time with PCAP, Garcia took the theater and incarceration class in preparation to travel to Brazil, and also led a workshop at Milan Federal Correctional Facility. “The workshop was very improv based and there was also a bit of music as some of the men had a background in songwriting. The experience itself was fully life changing," she said.
Going inside a men’s prison in Brazil, as a guest for a trans women workshop, is one of Garcia's favorite memories and experiences. The participant women were very inquisitive in the best way and were also very challenging, Garcia said.
“Before they started the workshop, the women questioned our motives for being there which is extremely valid. We then explained that we were there to exchange practices with Brazilian students and that we were not trying to impose but were simply there as guests," she said. "The workshop went very successfully and I learned so much about the prison system in Brazil by physically being there to see it.”
“From knowing Ashley to seeing her show, to traveling with her to Brazil, I feel like there was my life before PCAP and Ashley Lucas, and then there was my life after PCAP and Ashley Lucas, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had through PCAP overall”, Garcia said.
Coupled with personal experiences of those in the prison system and its intersection with the immigration system, journaling during the theater and incarceration workshops also had a great impact during her education. “There was lots of intense self reflection and introspection as well as learning about my own internalized biases. Being part of PCAP was very important to me,” Garcia said.