Posted on September 1, 2011 / By Hakim Bellamy
By the end of our Prison Justice workshop two weeks ago, I learned a lot about Albuquerque. I learned that more than a few of us are deeply impacted by jails, immigration detention centers and our culture of incarceration in America. However, I also learned that Albuquerque’s alternative newspaper, the Weekly Alibi, cares about prison justice as much as we do.
Between now and Wednesday, you can pick up a free copy of the Alibi on newsstands around the city and see the cover story on Media Literacy Project’s (MLP) Prison Justice training. MLP hosted Nick Szuberla of Thousand Kites at La Plazita Institute in the South Valley of Albuquerque. The free three hour training began with dinner, as is customary for the “Thugs Making a Change” (T-MAC) meetings that traditionally happen on Tuesday nights at La Plazita. Fortunately, with a mix of potluck volunteers and MLP provisions, there was enough food to accommodate the 60 attendees. The diverse turn out included some of our Digital Justice Coalition partners, prison ministries, state agencies, government officials, law firms, judges and the District Attorney’s office. Nick Szuberla was astonished by the diversity and collaborative energy of the gathering. He made a point to let MLP know that he has done these trainings across the country and has never seen a group so integrated by color, class, gender and experience as he did in Albuquerque. What Nick did not know is that New Mexico has a history of using media to create community amongst prisoners and prison families.
For 15 years beginning in the early 80’s, Charlie Z of the Hot Lix Radio Show on KUNM held an annual concert for inmates and their families at the state prison called Outta Joint at the Joint. Our Prison Justice campaign is just a continuation of that legacy in New Mexico. There’s no need to rewrite the story. It is public knowledge thanks to Marisa DeMarco from the Alibi and her photographer, Eric Williams, who both stayed the entire duration of the program. What I can add is my thanks to you who were there and those who could not be there but helped us spread the word. If you missed it, there are still ways to support our Prison Justice Campaign.
You can call 877-518-0606 or visit http://www.kitescampaigns.org/submissions/get_started/and tell your story about how your life has been impacted by America’s culture of incarceration. (For an example you can view Joan’s story here.) You can pick up a copy of the Alibi and share the article with your network. (Forwarding this link electronically is fun. Sharing a good old fashioned print copy and a conversation is priceless.) You can watch an exclusive 30 minute interview with Nick Szuberla (Thousand Kites) and Allen Cooper (New Mexico Independent Media) on Friday, September 2nd at 10pm MST on Channel 27 in Albuquerque (www.quote-unquote.org streaming worldwide). You can hear YOUR phone calls as part of a Prison Justice Radio Program hosted by Generation Justice on KUNM 89.9FM at 7pm on Sunday, October 2nd.
Call in today and add your story to the movement!
Hakim Bellamy is the Strategic Communications Director with Media Literacy Project