What does freedom mean to you?
This was one of the many questions that I, along with my co-facilitators, asked during our creative writing workshops at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Mich. We were there through the Sociology program Project Community, which gives U-M students the opportunity to explore the intersection of community service and social action through visiting a community site in one of three focus areas: education, public health or criminal justice, and has been one of the most impactful experiences for me during college.
We always revisit this prompt — What does freedom mean to you? — because no one person’s definition of freedom can be the same, especially for those whose freedom has been explicitly taken away. We ask the participants to respond to these questions through writing, rather than discussion, because writing helps people become vulnerable and nurture relationships.