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Breaking Bail Barriers:
Organizing Mutual Aid During a Pandemic

 

Dear Humanities Behind Bars members, comrades, and supporters,


Between the devastation of COVID-19 and the momentum of antiracist, abolitionist movements made visible through mass protest, our fight has become an even more urgent one. We continue to be inspired by long legacies of abolitionist organizing, which more and more folx are joining in every day!

As Critical Resistance says, abolition is both a beautiful vision and a practical organizing strategy. Amidst the coronavirus and sustained uprisings for Black Lives as well as ongoing movements against the prison industrial complex, we're currently seeing a push for the release of incarcerated comrades. Our members, friends, and loved ones inside prisons and jails have shared the grossly unjust health precautions taken or not taken there, but this points to what we already know: carceral society deems some folx as undeserving of care. We believe otherwise. Be on alert for social media updates concerning phone zaps and opportunities for action! We look forward to struggling and studying together in the coming months.

 

757 Solidarity Bail Fund

Thanks to the care and support of our friends and neighbors, we have been able to post nearly $35,000 worth of bail in the past month with an additional $14,000 spent supporting the emergency material needs of those getting out. We are so lucky to have friends, neighbors, and co-conspirators who have donated their resources and energy to working towards a future without cash bail.

It has been urgent, sometimes frustrating, and often overwhelming work for us all. As Angela Davis said: "prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings." Doing bail support work has revealed even more clearly the often intentional hurdles the carceral system maintains to block re-entry. Lack of access to transportation and safe housing, specifically, have both been challenges we are actively working to address in the community. To build stronger networks of care, please share and support our mutual aid fund, which is dedicated to the material needs of our friends getting out as well as those on the inside. People Power!
 
Donate to the 757 Solidarity Bail Fund

Teaching and Tutoring

Both in-person teaching and tutoring is on hold at Norfolk City Jail because of COVID-related safety restrictions. However, virtual learning is possible through Skype at designated times when the jail is able to provide the related accommodations.  

HBB is first and foremost concerned for the health and well-being of students and teachers as we move forward with providing educational programming for our comrades on the inside. In the meantime, if anyone would like to propose a class (by providing a course description and 8-10 week syllabus) or offer tutoring in the future, please email HBB Education Coordinator, Will Huberdeau for more information.

 

NEW!  HBB Patreon

Become an HBB Patron on our Patreon! This is a spot to set up monthly donations to HBB. We have 7 tiers, starting from as little as $1 to up to $50 per month. Whatever you can afford, we appreciate you! After 3 months of membership, you will be sent the corresponding bundle of cool HBB swag (membership card, postcards, t-shirt, stickers, pin, zines, etc). We'll have exclusive content and behind-the-scenes looks at how we organize in the community. It's your chance to support our operations in a big, continuous way.
 
Become a Patron!

Upcoming Initiatives

PEN-PAL PROGRAM

Our pen-pals are looking for comrades to communicate with on the outside! Now more than ever, we need to come together and let people know we are here for them and we care! This fall, join us as we hold virtual letter-writing hours for our friends on the inside. If you're interested, please see our website for guidelines, pen-pal resources, and meeting links.

CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS VIRTUAL READING GROUP


HBB is developing a virtual inside-outside reading group! We have some amazing humanities scholars and fellow abolitionists on board to dig into various writers and activists as we harness the power of the movement towards prison abolition, defunding and dismantling the police, and Black liberation! Interested folx will be connected with comrades on the inside to discuss readings and moderated sessions. At the end of this series, we'll invite you and our comrades on the inside to submit creative responses to be published in a zine (see below)! Our vision is to inspire responses that connect to building community and networks of mutual aid. We hope to see you there!

ZINES

HBB has three zines currently in the works! The first will blend information on HBB as an organization with student testimonials, member interviews, abolition resources, and so much more. The second zine will showcase the critical and creative writings of students and community members participating in our inside-outside reading group. The third will be a much longer zine featuring a wide array of artistic expression from poetry, paintings, and song lyrics to personal and critical essays by our comrades on the inside. We're excited to announce that this zine will become HBB's first-ever hardback coffee table book!

CommUNITY Juneteenth Rally

HBB partnered with The Dirty Buffalo and Park Place Elementary to co-sponsor a march on Juneteenth about the importance of community organizing, solidarity, and social justice-oriented education. One week later, The Dirty Buffalo followed up with HBB and Park Place Elementary to donate a total of $15,000 between the two organizations. HBB contributed the full amount to the 757 Solidarity Bail Fund!

Thank you for reading this lengthy newsletter. Please follow us on social media for more regular updates if you don't already!

We look forward to continuing to build with all of you in 2020 and beyond
!

Toward abolition,

Alison Reed, Program Director & Co-Founder
Patrick Green, Events Coordinator
Casey Guditus, Solidarity Coordinator
Will Huberdeau, Education Coordinator
Meghan Morris, Public Relations Coordinator
DeAnna Smith, Program Coordinator
Elle Tyson, Development Coordinator
BeeBee, Community Engagement Coordinator
Sara Brooks, Creative Arts Coordinator

 

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