Mar. 19, 2015 12:30 pm

Gender Justice and Mass Incarceration: Bread & Roses Hosts Town Hall Event

The event, in partnership with the Leeway Foundation, will take place on March 25.

The Bread & Roses Community Fund, a grantmaking organization that has awarded more than $10 million to support grassroots organizing over the past 40 years, is hosting a gender justice and mass incarceration town hall on March 25.

The event is part of RELEASE, an exhibit and program series presented by Bread & Roses in partnership with the Leeway Foundation. RELEASE features original art and the narratives of women and transgender people who have experienced incarceration. The exhibit runs through June 30.

At the town hall, activists, artists and organizers, along with the formerly incarcerated, will engage in discussions to discern fears and barriers and build a “shared vision for community safety and individual safety that doesn’t rely on imprisonment,” according to an announcement about the event.

Aarati Kasturirangan, the director of programs at the Bread & Roses Community Fund, explained that as coalitions are forming in the wake of Black Lives Matter to address mass incarceration and community policing practices, women and transgender people are notably absent from leadership roles.

“There are folks who feel that the people who are standing in front look a lot like the people who were standing in front in the civil rights movement,” Kasturirangan said, referring to men and members of the clergy.

Noting that Black Lives Matter was formed by three queer women of color, she added: “Where are the women who we know are leading these efforts, where are the transgender folks, and where is their visibility?”

The town hall, which is expected to draw upwards of 200 people, is a space to explore those questions using the mediums of art, poetry, music and storytelling.

A goal of the event, Kasturirangan said, is to create “cross-dialogue to elevate this conversation to the next phase and make it a central point of conversation that grows from here on forward.”

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