23 episodes

Works of Justice is an online series that features content connected to the PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program, reflecting on the relationship between writing and incarceration, and presenting challenging conversations about criminal justice in the United States.

PEN America Works of Justice PEN America

    • Arts

Works of Justice is an online series that features content connected to the PEN America Prison and Justice Writing Program, reflecting on the relationship between writing and incarceration, and presenting challenging conversations about criminal justice in the United States.

    Alejo Rodriguez of Exodus Transitional Community

    Alejo Rodriguez of Exodus Transitional Community

    Works of Justice 111 - Alejo Rodriguez of Exodus Transitional Community by PEN America

    • 41 min
    A Stronger Desire to Live

    A Stronger Desire to Live

    Our society is in the middle of a radical awakening. The twin pandemics of COVID-19 and the state-sanctioned killing of Black people have caused millions to rally for justice. “A STRONGER DESIRE TO LIVE” draws together a roster of powerful artists standing in to voice a tremendous series of prose, poetry, and drama works penned by award-winning incarcerated writers who have all experienced the brutal realities of what our nation calls justice.

    Tied together with original music by Kenyatta Emmanuel (https://kenyattaemmanuel.com), an artist and activist who has shared his music from Sing Sing to Carnegie Hall, the program is a moving tribute to the immense—and often hidden—talent behind the walls.

    The live release event was in partnership with Haymarket Books and featured an original slideshow with artwork sourced from Artists at Risk Connection, Rehabilitation Through the Arts, and The Confined Arts, and invited listeners to join in a live chat.

    View the amazing artwork slideshow at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxPA9FWkuIM

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

    Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

    Among the many notes of wisdom in this conversation with our Prison and Justice Writing Program Manager, Robbie Pollock, Gloria J. Browne-Marshall contextualizes the history of systematic murder of Black Americans at the hands of the law, and a offers a holistic and inciting call to action around reconciling white privilege and being in right allyship with Black Americans in this critical moment and beyond.

    Gloria is a valuable member of our Prison Writing Committee who holds an extensive biography that includes award-winning civil rights attorney, highly regarded author of numerous books, articles and plays, a sought after legal commentator , and Professor of Constitutional Law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY).

    • 37 min
    George T. Wilkerson on Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row

    George T. Wilkerson on Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row

    For authors whose books were slated to publish during a pandemic, like Tessie Castillo’s, that usual release process has been turned on its head. Castillo is a journalist and the author of Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row, published by Black Rose on March 12, 2020, and co-authored by Michael J. Braxton, Lyle May, Terry Robinson and George Wilkerson; four men on death row in North Carolina. Castillo met her co-authors while conducting a journaling class. The project is a meditation on her unlikely friendship with the men—after all, classes conducted by outsiders on death row are indeed rare—and features thirty essays in the men’s own words about their experiences.

    We bid our outgoing Prison and Justice Intern Kate Cammell farewell with her final Works of Justice interview: a powerful conversation with Crimson Letters editor George Wilkerson about the power of storytelling and how he finds hope in his daily circumstance. Wilkerson is a PEN America Award winner for his 2018 Memoir “Limp Gray Fur.” His writing has been published in The Marshall Project, Compassion and The Upper Room.

    Intro by Mark Gallagher

    • 24 min
    CURA Magazine: REVERB Launch

    CURA Magazine: REVERB Launch

    This incredibly moving performance was the launch of the 2020 issue of CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action. Entitled “REVERB: VOICES AGAINST MASS INCARCERATION,” and inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, this issue honors the many voices that echo across time and space in protest of mass incarceration.

    Magazine link: https://curamag.com
    Video of Launch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFSLqggVrd0

    For this important work of student activism, Fordham University’s creative writing program partnered with PEN America’s prison writing program to curate some of the most talented incarcerated writers and social justice voices.

    Louise Waa'kaa'igan (11:33)
    Sterling Cunio greeting (15:03)
    Aaron Samuels reading Sterling Cunio's harrowing prose (15:47)
    Liza Jessie Peterson (34:52)
    Carlos Andrés Gómez reading B. Batchelor's poetry (42:58)
    Nicole Shawan Junior (50:09)
    Justin Hicks (1:05:51)
    Conclusion and Q&A (1:11:32)

    cohosted by Dr. Nia Witherspoon and Anaissa Gonzales

    intro by Mark Gallagher
    intro music by Orquesta Arrecife

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Keri Blakinger of The Marshall Project

    Keri Blakinger of The Marshall Project

    To understand the particular challenges faced by incarcerated women during COVID 19—of whom nearly 80% are mothers, to name one glaring example—and to learn about how COVID-19 is amplifying them, we called Keri Blakinger, the first formerly incarcerated staff writer at The Marshall Project.

    Keri also reports for the Houston Chronicle and co-hosts their podcast Behind the Walls about criminal justice in Texas. Keri’s thorough and thoughtful reporting has led to prison reforms, including a state-level effort to get 3-D printed dentures to incarcerated communities.

    Read Keri's interview in PEN America's World Press Freedom Day 2020 effort: https://pen.org/local-journalist-heroes-keri-blakinger/

    Intro by Mark Gallagher
    Music by Orquesta Arrecife

    https://pen.org/worksofjustice

    • 26 min

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