Youth Incarceration in the U.S.

This semester, I had the opportunity to volunteer with and learn about an organization that allows youth that are incarcerated the exposure and platform to study performing, visual, and literary arts. Free Write students are given the platform to become the “narrators of their own stories and authors of their own futures.” Throughout the semester, I have had the opportunity to learn about the various programs Free Write provides, as well as the mediums that they utilize to spread the word about what they do.

In April, I had the opportunity to attend a Violence Prevention event at the Chicago Art Department. To kick off National Youth Violence Prevention Awareness week, they hosted a “Lessons in the Cycle,” featuring youth voices and verses on best practices in violence prevention and trauma-informed care. In partnership with UIC’s Urban Youth Trauma Center, Free Write alumni workshopped, created & performed their pieces on camera, each responding powerfully to one of five Best Practices for Violence Prevention and Trauma Intervention.

The evening featured the world premier of the five short videos, a panel discussion about the best practices, an art exhibition and performances by Free Write Arts & Literacy students and Project Fire, direct action on issues of violence, food, and much more. You can learn more about the event HERE.

Also, in April, I had the privilege of attending a Social Justice Workshop at the Oak Park Library through my volunteerism with Free Write. It consisted of various workshops through organizations utilizing literacy to engage youth in positive methods,

Below is a video of various interviews on youth incarceration in the United States, as well as peoples’ thoughts on Free Write.

To learn more about Free Write Arts & Literacy, click HERE.


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