"Contraband Love":
Amplifying Creative Voices for Change


Dear Humanities Behind Bars members and supporters,

We are excited to share a number of upcoming opportunities for you to get involved with Humanities Behind Bars! First, please join us for our next solidarity letter-writing session at the Muse Writers Center (2200 Colonial Ave, Suite #3, Norfolk, VA 23517) this Thursday, March 28th from 7 - 9 PM. Light refreshments will be provided, and everyone is welcome! If you need a ride, please contact us. We have SO MANY letters from incarcerated comrades seeking new friends with whom to correspond! Alongside writing letters, we will be transcribing critical and creative submissions as well as working on our next zine; if possible, please bring a laptop if you have one handy! New volunteers are always welcome! #AbolitionWriteNow
As our zine is an inside/outside collaboration, we are soliciting additional submissions from outside HBB members and supporters. The theme is love as an agent of social transformation, or what Assata Shakur calls "contraband love" as a force capable of building communities of care as we break down systems of harm. We are going to press in June, so we are asking for submissions by Friday, April 26th at 5 PM in order to continue the editorial process throughout May. We will be creating a collective of editors to work on the zine in May, so if you are interested in joining our Zine Team or submitting work, and would like more info, please contact Meghan at:

Also, mark your calendars for the next two solidarity letter-writing sessions of the semester: Thursday, April 11th from 6 - 8 PM (at Old Dominion University, Batten Arts & Letters, Rm 5009), and Thursday, April 25th from 7 - 9 PM (at the Muse Writers Center). For an overview of the Pen-Pal Program and to find answers to common questions about becoming a pen-pal, check out our collectively written guidelines. Come build solidarity with HBB and our growing network of incarcerated comrades!


You are invited to an upcoming Community Conversation with Suffolk Public Library, featuring Humanities Behind Bars! The event is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Morgan Memorial Library (443 W Washington St, Suffolk, VA 23434) on Thursday, April 4th from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.

Watch a screening of We are Witnesses, and hear from Humanities Behind Bars about our work at Norfolk City Jail, as well as testimonies from formerly incarcerated HBB members. In particular, we are excited that Nicholas Harper and Derek "DJ" James (HBB's Resident Artist and Poet) will speak on their experiences with the carceral state.

Finally, we want to invite everyone to join us at our end-of-semester fundraiser on Friday, April 12th from 8 PM - 12 AM at the New River Taphouse (1716 Pleasure House Rd #101, Virginia Beach, VA 23455). In addition to enjoying live music hosted by HBB Music Director Kole Matheson, we will be selling t-shirts and stickers, with all proceeds going to the organization. (We accept cash, check, or PayPal.) Hope to see you there! Abolitionists rock!

Come dream and scheme a just world with us!

Toward abolition,


Meghan Morris, Graduate Research Assistant
Alison Reed, Program Director & Co-Founder
Casey Guditus, HBB Treasurer & IWOC Liason
Danielle Goldstein, Student Justice Coordinator


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