Announcing Our Spring Pen-Pal Program Dates!


Dear Humanities Behind Bars members and supporters,

Welcome back to another semester of study and struggle! We are excited to announce our upcoming Pen-Pal Program dates at the Muse Writer's Center (2200 Colonial Ave., Suite #3 Ghent, Norfolk, VA, 23517). We will be meeting on the fourth Thursday of every month: January 24th, February 28th, March 28th, and April 25th from 7-9pm.  Light refreshments will be provided, and everyone is welcome!  If you need a ride, please contact us. We will also be announcing our solidarity letter-writing sessions at ODU soon, so stay tuned!

For an overview of the program, check out our collectively written guidelines.

You may RSVP to our Facebook event for the first session here.
Come build solidarity with HBB and our incarcerated comrades! We have a large stack of letters waiting for their existing pen-pals or new friends!


Also, on this MLK Day, we join our comrades in honoring his radical legacy, not the sanitized appropriation of his capacious racial justice vision. As Critical Resistance beautifully describes here, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned against white liberalism, not just overt white supremacy, and fought against global racial capitalism and militarism. In "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" (1963), Dr. King famously critiques the "white moderate who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice." #CareNotCages

Our friends at the Norfolk Catholic Worker also shared this report by the Institute for Policy Studies on
how entrenched and thoroughly racialized economic inequities should remain at the forefront of our minds on Dr. King’s 90th birthday, and the actual meanings embedded in Dr. King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech before the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 as the keynote address of the March on Washington, DC, for Civil Rights. The fight against the prison industrial complex is also a struggle for racial, economic, and social justice! 
Humanities Behind Bars is excited and honored to be included in the most recent issue of Critical Resistance's newspaper, The Abolitionist, which gets mailed out free of charge to over 5,500 people in prisons, jails, and detention centers across the country. In solidarity, always! For more writings by program co-founders Meghan G. McDowell and Alison Reed, as well as essays and zines on abolition, check out our recently updated Resources page!

Humanities Behind Bars is working to build solidarity with local organizations, such as RISE for Youth and Virginia Organizing, in order to mobilize against prison expansion projects (e.g. some current proposals that would gravely impact youth in the state), as well as develop our community-based reentry network. Toward that end, please check out the below flyer with details about an upcoming housing forum on Thursday, February 7th at 6pm.

We will be sending out more updates soon, including information about upcoming teaching and advocacy team meetings, socials, fundraisers, a zine release party, and other events!

Finally, we want to thank Leslie Garrett for her service in Norfolk City Jail Programs - we know where most jail staff stand, but she was a true advocate for HBB. She has moved on to another position, but the work continues! We will be coordinating courses with Tammy Lindquist, who previously worked in this capacity as our jail education program was just getting started in 2016. If you are a current NCJ teacher-volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out to HBB Graduate Research Assistant Meghan Morris for more information about scheduling your spring semester class:

We look forward to building with all of you in 2019!

Toward abolition,


Alison Reed, Program Director & Co-Founder
Casey Guditus, HBB Treasurer & IWOC Liason

Meghan Morris, Graduate Research Assistant
Danielle Goldstein, Student Justice Coordinator


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