photo by Peter Merts
There is a new movement afoot–or perhaps the movement is not new, but now named. Two Brothers in Pen, Emile DeWeaver and Rahsaan Thomas, have co-founded Prison Renaissance. Let me give it to you in their own words, from their new website, prisonrenaissance.org:
What is Prison Renaissance?
The Renaissance of the 1400s brought the rebirth of reason in Europe, and the 1920s saw the rebirth of African-American art & literature in the Harlem Renaissance and its echoes.
Prison Renaissance began with a group of incarcerated artists who experienced a rebirth of their human values. Artistic expression changed the way they see themselves. Art and education will allow them to help change how other incarcerated people see themselves — as citizens and community builders instead of outsiders and burdens. We hope that a return to civic duty among incarcerated-Americans will change how the public views its incarcerated population — the largest in the world.
Our Mission & Goals
To use the art and community to create a culture of transformation to end cycles of incarceration
To reduce prison populations
To inspire civic responsibility in incarcerated people, as a step toward rehabilitation and reintegration into society
To use art as a vehicle to create proximity between the general public and incarcerated people
To use art as a vehicle to transform the lives of incarcerated people
Co-founder/Editor: Emile DeWeaver
Co-founder: Rahsaan Thomas
Administrator/Editor: Camille Griep
These two eloquent writers are giving shape to an energy that is already on the move. Please take a look at their website and be a participant in and a champion of this emergent movement. #prisonrenaissance !