12 episodes

In times of need, who do you turn to? What systems do you believe are there to catch you if you fall? Is there a way to interrupt generations of trauma and family violence? What might the world look like if we decriminalized mental illness, substance use disorder, and poverty?  Call Declined follows the lives of two extraordinary women, Kamisha Thomas and Aimee Wissman, and the captivating story of how they fell through a frayed safety net and how resilience, friendship, and the power of creativity enabled them to survive the grim walls of the Dayton Correctional Institution. It is a story of how art became their north star and inspiration for what was to come when they finally were released from prison.

Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck, the executive director of the Sozosei Foundation.

To learn more about our country's mental health system, check out the episodes in this feed marked Call For Help, hosted by Stephanie Wittels Wachs, which explores the promise and perils of the nationwide rollout of the 988 hotline.

Call Declined is presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 

The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.

Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.

Call Declined Lemonada

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7 • 92 Ratings

In times of need, who do you turn to? What systems do you believe are there to catch you if you fall? Is there a way to interrupt generations of trauma and family violence? What might the world look like if we decriminalized mental illness, substance use disorder, and poverty?  Call Declined follows the lives of two extraordinary women, Kamisha Thomas and Aimee Wissman, and the captivating story of how they fell through a frayed safety net and how resilience, friendship, and the power of creativity enabled them to survive the grim walls of the Dayton Correctional Institution. It is a story of how art became their north star and inspiration for what was to come when they finally were released from prison.

Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck, the executive director of the Sozosei Foundation.

To learn more about our country's mental health system, check out the episodes in this feed marked Call For Help, hosted by Stephanie Wittels Wachs, which explores the promise and perils of the nationwide rollout of the 988 hotline.

Call Declined is presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 

The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.

Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.

    Call Declined: Imaginary Resources

    Call Declined: Imaginary Resources

    Kamisha Thomas and Aimee Wissman are extraordinary–they are brilliant artists and the founders of The Returning Artists Guild, a non-profit organization that supports artists that have been in prison and some who are still inside. But they have had long and difficult journeys to get to this point. 
     
    In this first episode of our four-part series, Aimee and Kamisha share their personal stories. From where they grew up and the art they loved as kids to the ways that poverty, abuse, racism, and addiction shaped their lives…and ultimately, how they ended up in prison. 
     
    Additional Resources:
    988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: https://988lifeline.org/
    They Followed Doctors’ Orders. Then Their Children Were Taken Away (NYT Mag): www.nytimes.com/2023/06/29/magazine/pregnant-women-medication-suboxonbabies.html 
    Incarceration Trends in Ohio (Vera):  https://www.vera.org/downloads/pdfdownloads/state-incarceration-trends-ohio.pdf 
    Mass Incarceration Trends (The Sentencing Project):https://www.sentencingproject.org/app/uploads/2023/01/Mass-Incarceration-Trends.pdf 
     
    Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck and presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 
     
    The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.
     
    And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia. 
     
    For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
     
    Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
     
    Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 50 min
    Call Declined: Life in Prison

    Call Declined: Life in Prison

    Why is it important to learn about prison from people who have been directly impacted? Well, in this episode, Aimee and Kamisha share their own stories about incarceration – and what they tell us reveals a lot about community services, mental health and substance use treatment, intergenerational family trauma, and mass incarceration in our country. 
     
    Aimee and Kamisha also explain how they got started making art in prison and talk about the people and opportunities that inspired them to create The Returning Artists Guild. 

    Additional Resources:
    Incarcerated Women and Girls (The Sentencing Project): https://www.sentencingproject.org/app/uploads/2023/05/Incarcerated-Women-and-Girls-1.pdf 
    Pens to Pictures Panel Discussion (Chinonye Chukwu and others): https://wexarts.org/education/pens-pictures
    For They Know Not (Aimee Wissman’s Pens to Pictures Film): https://vimeo.com/356550411 
    BANG! (Kamisha Thomas’s Pens to Pictures Film): https://vimeo.com/356291769 
    Story Chain (Jonathan Platt): https://story-chain.org/
    Reentry Stories  (Mary Evans/WYSO): https://www.wyso.org/reentrystories
    The Inside Out Prison Exchange Program: https://www.insideoutcenter.org/ 
     
    Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck and presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 
     
    The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.
     
    Thank you for listening to Call Declined. To help us learn more about what is resonating and how we can keep creating great content, please take our short listener survey at bit.ly/calldeclined.
     
    And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia. 
     
    For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
     
    Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
     
    Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 50 min
    Call Declined: Getting Out

    Call Declined: Getting Out

    Leaving prison can be overwhelming. The need to navigate societal and technological changes, rebuild relationships, find employment, and find housing can be disorienting and alienating. And the stigma we place on those who have been incarcerated is significant both in human interaction and in policies that make it hard to secure employment, housing, and reconnect with one’s community.
     
    In this episode, we learn what the process of reentry was like for Aimee and Kamisha. And we learn how they're using their knowledge, experience, and art to blaze a trail that makes the process easier for other people in similar situations. 
     
    Additional Resources:
    Court-Issued Fines And Fees Frequently Undermine Health Equity (Kathleen Noonan) https://www.healthaffairs.org/content/forefront/court-issued-fines-and-fees-frequently-undermine-health-equity 
    Mass Supervision (Vincent Schiraldi) https://thenewpress.com/books/mass-supervision 
    The Ohio Justice and Policy Center: https://ohiojpc.org/ 
     
    Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck and presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 
     
    The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.
     
    Thank you for listening to Call Declined. To help us learn more about what is resonating and how we can keep creating great content, please take our short listener survey at bit.ly/calldeclined.
     
    And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia. 
     
    For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
     
    Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
     
    Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 42 min
    Call Declined: Answering the Call

    Call Declined: Answering the Call

    Starting a non-profit is a challenging and confusing process that also, sometimes, includes joyful shenanigans. In this episode, we get a behind-the-scenes look at how Aimee and Kamisha approached building The Returning Artists Guild. We learn how they met and formed a relationship with Melissa and we hear from a variety of philanthropic funders about why the arts are important to ending mass incarceration. Kamisha and Aimee speak candidly about their vision for the future and what it will take to get there.  
     
    Additional Resources:
     
    Kamisha Thomas’s Portfolio: https://thomaskamisha.myportfolio.com/ (portfolio)
    https://www.instagram.com/kdenee_614/ (Instagram)
    Aimee Wissman’s work: https://aimeewissman.myportfolio.com/work (portfolio) https://www.instagram.com/aimeeinks/ (Instagram)
     
    Ohio Prison Arts Connection: https://wexarts.org/education/ohio-prison-arts-connection-online 
    The Wexner Center for the Arts: https://wexarts.org/ 
    California Lawyers for the Arts: https://www.calawyersforthearts.org/ 
    Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (MOMA exhibit): https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5208 
    Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Book by Dr. Nicole Fleetwood): https://www.hup.harvard.edu/books/9780674919228 
    Art for Justice: https://artforjusticefund.org/
    Agnes Gund Sells a Lichtenstein to Start Criminal Justice Fund (New York Times): https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/11/arts/design/agnes-gund-sells-a-lichtenstein-to-start-criminal-justice-fund.html 
    Imagining Freedom (The Mellon Foundation): https://www.mellon.org/article/imagining-freedom-initiative 
    Fitton Center for Creative Arts: https://www.fittoncenter.org/ 
    Cummings Center for the History of Psychology: https://www.uakron.edu/chp/ 
     
    Julie B. Ehrlich–Director of Presidential Initiatives and Chief of Staff (Mellon Foundation): https://www.mellon.org/people/julie-b-ehrlich 
    Rick Kellar–President and CEO (Peg’s Foundation): https://pegsfoundation.org/leadership/#rick-kellar-mba-president-and-ceo 
    Aliyah Salim – Program Officer (Galaxy Gives): https://www.galaxygives.com/team/aliyah-paulsingh 
     
    Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck and presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 
     
    The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.
     
    Thank you for listening to Call Declined. To help us learn more about what is resonating and how we can keep creating great content, please take our short listener survey at bit.ly/calldeclined.
     
    And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia. 
     
    For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
     
    Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
     
    Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 50 min
    Call Declined: Bonus Episode – The Parents

    Call Declined: Bonus Episode – The Parents

    Many wonderful people helped make and inform the Call Declined podcast. In this special bonus episode, we hear from three people who are very important in the stories of Aimee’s and Kamisha’s lives–their parents. Through our conversations across generations we hear echoes of trauma, abuse, and incarceration. And we see a system that too often declines calls for help. But we also find hope for a world where those calls are answered.  

    Additional Resources:
    Kamisha Thomas’s Portfolio: https://thomaskamisha.myportfolio.com/ (portfolio)
    https://www.instagram.com/kdenee_614/ (Instagram)
    Aimee Wissman’s work: https://aimeewissman.myportfolio.com/work (portfolio) https://www.instagram.com/aimeeinks/ (Instagram)
    Pens to Pictures: https://wexarts.org/education/pens-pictures 
     
    Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck and presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 
    The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.
     
    Thank you for listening to Call Declined. To help us learn more about what is resonating and how we can keep creating great content, please take our short listener survey at bit.ly/calldeclined.
     
    And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia. 
     
    For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
     
    Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
     
    Please note that this podcast contains mature content, including explicit language and discussions about drug use and other potentially sensitive topics. The views expressed are solely those of the participants and do not reflect the opinions of the Sozosei Foundation, podcast host or sponsors. Listener discretion is advised. This content is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for all listeners.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 35 min
    Call Declined (Official Trailer)

    Call Declined (Official Trailer)

    Call Declined follows the story of two talented artists, Kamisha Thomas and Aimee Wissman, whose lives became intertwined in prison after the systems in place to ensure their well-being failed them. This story of fortitude, friendship, and the power of creativity takes listeners along on the pathways that led Kamisha and Aimee to prison, how they survived incarceration, and the journey to freedom that led to the creation of The Returning Artists Guild.
    Call Declined is hosted by Melissa Beck and presented by the Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s goal is to increase access to mental healthcare in order to eliminate the inappropriate use of jails and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the United States. Learn more at www.SozoseiFoundation.org. 
    The Sozosei Foundation extends special thanks to Aimee Wissman and Kamisha Thomas, visionary artists and co-founders of The Returning Artists Guild whose creativity, resilience, and lived experience inspire us to build a world where mental illness is not a crime. To learn more about the Guild visit www.thereturningartistsguild.org.
    And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia. 
    For a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and every other Lemonada show, go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
    Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
     
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
92 Ratings

92 Ratings

92007 (level 30) ,

Inspirational!

Thank you for giving me strength through your stories. It’s so easy to fall into traps set by racism, poverty, stress, and exhaustion. Of course drugs and mistakes are all part of the “calculated formula.” Thank you for showing the way out through art and the right social support, not punishment.

Papaya678 ,

Powerful

It is rare to hear the stories of 2 women who make it through drugs, mental health and prison to the other side and start their own nonprofit. You go go go! So inspired.

AJ Hanger ,

Important listen

Individual stories can and do encourage people to vote for elected officials that can make positive change - like ending mass incarceration and decriminalizing mental illness. Thanks to Aimee and Kamisha for sharing theirs!

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