Prison Activism

Since 2013, I’ve been volunteering with two projects organized by members of the Hamtramck Free School, a rhizomatic educational project based in the Detroit area, consisting of curriculum generated by the community members who participate.

Writer’s Block is a poetry group that started at Macomb Correctional Facility outside of Detroit. To learn more watch The Writer’s Block in the Rivera Court from Katie Barkel on Vimeo; watch The New Yorker video; or read Detroit’s Critical Moment.

The Incarcerated Archive is an online archive of poetry and creative works submitted by incarcerated individuals across prisons in Michigan, many who are or were formerly participants of Writer’s Block. Members of the Hamtramck Free School have been editing and publishing poetry chapbooks from participants of Writer’s Block.

Listen to an account of the Kinross Prison Strike that took place in September of 2017, by one of the original members of Writer’s Block, Fred Williams.

My work has focused on securing grant funding; community outreach and event programming in Detroit; editing poetry for chapbooks; facilitating communication with incarcerated participants; and assisting with the maintenance of the archive online (recording poetry and testimonies, uploading and organizing work).

Grant Funding and Awards:

2015    People’s Choice Award, Knight Foundation   $20,000

2015    Knight Arts Challenge, Knight Foundation   $10,000

2015    Public Programs Grant, Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)   $2,000