If you were fortunate enough to visit the PCAP's 27th Annual Exhibition of Artists in Michigan Prisons on Saturday March 25th, you were in for a treat!
On that chilly Saturday, hosted by PCAP, the People of Action Coalition put on a lively Inaugural Traveling Town Hall. This successful Town Hall discussion focused on the topic of Ending Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole. This exciting event, showcased the ever-growing, and aware efforts of PCAP to broaden the scope of the already epic Annual Exhibition. In addition to the Town Hall event & Panel Discussion, local non-profits, and advocates for change and services for those enduring Michigan Department of Corrections and those coming home were available in the foyer area in front of the PCAP Annual Exhibition. These groups and individuals provided literature, merchandise, and relevant/important information to folks attending the PCAP show, and following the Traveling Town Hall Panel Discussion.
This topical Town Hall, featured discussion and an in-depth question/answer session. The event's moderator was Adam Grant, Executive Director of A Brighter Way in Ypsilanti. Joining Adam on the panel was Eli Savit, Washtenaw County Prosecutor, Rep. Jimmie Wilson Jr, Former Deputy Sheriff Alyshia Dryer, and Bonnie Zabel, mother of an incarcerated juvenile. Additionally, there several returning citizens who collectively spent over 180 years incarcerated for crimes they committed as youth. It is hoped that such gatherings of advocates of carceral improvement and formerly incarcerated community members becomes a repeated feature of the PCAP Annual Exhibition.
The following participated in the panel discussion, and the organizations they represent are as follows:
- E.B. Jordan - VAAC/ S & D PJ Housing
- Hakin Crampton - LJLUSA & A.M.E.N. 4 Youth
- Shawanna Vaughn - Silent Cry
- Konrad Cowell - Center for Employment Opportunities
- Eli Savit - Washtenaw Co. Prosecutor
- Alyshia Dyer - Former Deputy Sheriff Washtenaw Co.
- Jimmie Wilson Jr. - MI House of Representatives 32nd Dist.
- Jose Burgos - SADO and ICAN
- Bonnie Zabel - People of Action Coalition (Mother of Incarcerated Son)
- Patrick Kinney - Law Offices of David L. Moffit & Associates, PLLC & Linkage
- Tone Berry
- Demetrius Knuckles El - Michigan Liberation
- Adam Grant - A Brighter Way Rep
- Jennifer Conlin - 48th Dist (Toured the Artwork, but was unable to stay for the Town Hall.)
Organizations participating in the information/tabling in the foyer included:
- The People of Action Coalition
- The Adolescent Redemptive and Restorative Program
- VAAC - Voting Access for All Coalition
- Silent Cry
- Nation Outside
- A Brighter Way
- MJA Michigan Justice Advocacy
- Center for Employment Opportunities
- MCYJ Michigan Center for Youth Justice
- Washtenaw Literacy Organization
- Michigan Citizens for Justice
- Friends of Restorative Justice
- Emergent Justice
The second iteration of the Traveling Town Hall will happen the last week of April in Marquette, Michigan. PCAP has assembled a collaborative traveling exhibit of art from past Annual Exhibitions, called Voices & Art Unlocked, where The Poetry Guild of Marquette has produced poems based on the art in the exhibit. The poets will read their works at the Marquette Library on April 27th, with the Traveling Town Hall being presented on April 28th.
Scott is a photographer, artist, Re-Entry advocate, and consultant living in the woods of northern Michigan. As a Linkage member, he works with the amazing PCAP staff, Linkage members, and other volunteers. View more of his work on the web at https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/pcap-linkage/scott-tompkins/
Article is made possible by the Linkage Community Journalism Initiative.