Fighting mass incarceration means building an alliance from the inside out.
From the Inside Out: Reflections After Incarceration was a joint production between Boston artist & organizer Ernesto "Eroc" Arroyo-Montano (UFE's Director of Cultural Organizing) and the ACLU of Massachusetts that explored many of the obstacles faced by our friends and neighbors after they have been incarcerated and are continuing their life on the outside.
There is a crisis of incarceration in our state, and the country at large. Of particular concern are the disparities in the number of people of color represented in the Massachusetts system of incarceration. This disparity is far worse than the national average. The Commonwealth has entire communities that have been impacted by racially disproportionate policing, charging of crimes, sentencing laws and correctional practices.
And the crisis of incarceration does not end upon release. Despite the fact that 98% of incarcerated people will return home, our sentencing laws and system of incarceration do not prepare people for release after their term of incarceration. Additionally, programs for those suffering from drug addiction or mental health issues are rare, and there is limited access to vocational and educational programming.
From the Inside Out helped put a face on the crisis in the system of incarceration and its impact in our communities. Now more than ever, we need to be re-centering discussions about reforming the justice system and ending mass incarceration around those experiencing the crisis first-hand.
The evening featured performances by Pedro Picasso (Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción's youth arts coordinator), Amber Aliyah Rasool (a local poet), and Toussaint the Liberator (local musician). Tina Williams read a poem by Massachusetts' own Mel King (politician and organizer).
The event was held on May 26th, 2017, at the Black Market in Roxbury Massachusetts. Admission was free, and participants enjoyed free food, music, and dancing during performances from local artists, organizers, and advocates.