Join us Tuesday October 26 at 6:30pm for an online panel discussion and booklet release event for WEology: Transformative Justice in Practice. WEology was written by four people who are currently incarcerated at SCI Coal Township in Pennsylvania about how they are practicing transformative justice while incarcerated. The booklet’s authors – Qu’eed Batts, Avron “JaJa” Holland, David “Dawud” Lee, and Nyako Pippen – discuss why transformative justice is important, how they are using transformative and restorative practices even in the confines of prison, and about how their own personal journeys led them to this approach.
The event will feature a panel of activists and transformative justice practitioners responding to sections of the booklet and sharing their own reflections. Panelists include Kempis Ghani Songster, Kris Henderson, Robert Saleem Holbrook, and others TBD. WEology author David “Dawud” Lee will be calling in from prison to address the audience and take questions. We will also be sharing messages from other WEology authors.
You can download the PDF version of the booklet here: https://lifelines-project.org/2021/09/14/weology/
Kempis Ghani Songster is currently leading the Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project’s pilot Healing Futures Restorative Justice Diversion program. Prior to that, he spent three years as Amistad Law Project’s Healing Justice Organizer and host of ALP’s Move It Forward podcast. He is also a founding member of Right to Redemption, the Redemption Project, the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI), and co-founder and director of Ubuntu Philadelphia. Since his release in 2018 after thirty years in prison – starting when he was 15 years old – Ghani has emerged as a leader and visionary in Philadelphia’s movement to end mass incarceration and to create transformative and restorative responses to harm and violence.
Kris Henderson is the Executive Director of Amistad Law Project. They are a movement lawyer, a co-founder of Amistad and a co-founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration. They are on the steering committee of Free The Ballot! Incarcerated Voter Family Network and on the board of directors of Black Youth Project 100. They are a 2018 Law for Black Lives and Movement Law Lab Legal Innovators Fellow and a 2019 Soros Justice Fellow.
David “Dawud” Lee is a co-founder and member of CADBI (the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration) and sits on the inside advisory board for the Human Rights Coalition and Decarcerate PA. He regularly works with Amistad Law Project and Abolitionist Law Center and is one of the co-founders of ARC (the Abolitionist Reading Circle). He is also a co-founder of the Dare-2-Care youth leadership and empowerment project at the State Correctional Institute at Coal Township and has helped to facilitate that program since its beginning. Dawud is 57 years old and has been incarcerated for over 32 years, serving a death by incarceration sentence. He has been a part of the Lifelines Project since 2014 and is also a co-founder of the Life Line Association at SCI Coal Township.
Robert Saleem Holbrook is the Executive Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, a law project dedicated to ending race and class based discrimination in the criminal justice system and all forms of state violence. He has worked with the Center for Constitutional Rights to end Death By Incarceration sentences in the United States and the National Unlock The Box Campaign to End Solitary Confinement. He is a co-founder of the Human Rights Coalition, an organization with chapters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that is composed of family members of prisoners and advocates on behalf of the civil and human rights of prisoners. While incarcerated, Saleem wrote extensively on prison abuse, social injustice, state violence, and juveniles charged and sentenced as adults. His writings were featured in Truthout, The Appeal, San Francisco Bay View, and Solitary Watch. He was released from prison in 2018 after spending over two decades incarcerated for an offense he was convicted of as a child.
Emily Abendroth is a poet, teacher and anti-prison activist. Much of her creative work investigates state regimes of force and power, as well as individual and collective resistance strategies. She is the author of the poetry collection ]Exclosures[ and The Instead, a book-length collaborative conversation with fiction writer Miranda Mellis. Her newest book, Sousveillance Pageant, coasts restlessly between fiction, poetry, and research essay. She is a founding member of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (a grassroots campaign working to end life without parole sentencing in Pennsylvania) and Address This! (an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania), as well as a co-creator of LifeLines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty.
Layne Mullett is a founding member of Decarcerate PA and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration, and a co-creator of LifeLines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty. They have been active in social justice movements for over a decade, organizing against gentrification, austerity, and the prison industrial complex, and working for the freedom of political prisoners. Layne’s writing has been published in the journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, in the anthology Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency, and in The Long Term. Layne currently serves as the director of media relations for the American Friends Service Committee and sits on the community advisory board for Critical Resistance.
LifeLines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty is a media/cultural project conducted in extensive, long-term collaboration with people serving Life Sentences Without Parole or Death By Incarceration sentences in Pennsylvania. The project uses interviews, creative media interventions, and sound installations to support an emerging statewide campaign to abolish Death By Incarceration. We use the term “LifeLines” to refer to the fact that this project highlights the stories and analysis of those serving life/death sentences and to point toward the many collective relationships and infrastructures of support (familial, community, activist, and beyond) that are forged in resistance to mass imprisonment.