Hey SPEARfam!

First of all, a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of you who made the SPEAR conference possible. We have heard nothing but rave reviews, and the conference had a wide reach outside of Princeton’s campus and facilitated many transformative connections and educational experiences for all those who attended.

We are especially grateful for the hard work of our main organizing team, Kiki, Micah, Frelicia, Equia, Jackson, and Bhavani, as well as all the volunteers and hosts who helped everything run smoothly.

As always, SPEAR will have its weekly working full group meeting this Monday, March 4th at 8 p.m. in Campus Club, and all are welcome to get involved with the work SPEAR is doing anytime!

Our D.O.V.E.S. team, which hosts social and educational events for young women from a local alternative incarceration facility (and is looking for new members!) will meet at 7:30 p.m. in campus club, and our conference team will meet during the weekly meeting as well.

New to SPEAR? Fill out this onboarding guide to get fully plugged in to all things SPEAR and to schedule coffee with one of our presidents to talk about how you can get more involved!


  1. The Ban the Box Campaign x Woke Wednesdays watch party and discussion is rescheduled for Wednesday, April 17th at 5pm in CAF 105! Come through to support the Ban the Box campaign in a fun and casual setting! We will premiere the video, hold a discussion afterwards, and enjoy food -- what more could you ask for?

  2. Join Petey Greene, PTI, and more on Monday, April 15th, 4:30 - 7pm Lewis Library Room 120 for the Prison and the Academy Symposium XIII: “Prison Education and Engaged Scholarship.”“Engaged Scholarship” denotes a rapidly growing movement to connect teaching and research “to our most pressing social, civic, and ethical problems” (Boyer, 1996). Ideally, engaged scholars work on equal footing with community partners as they co-create knowledge for mutual benefit. That ideal can be very difficult to achieve in practice. Prison education, including but not limited to combined courses, represents a rich opportunity for scholars inside and outside carceral institutions to learn with and educate each other. This panel of engaged scholars will offer short presentations about a range of teaching, research, and policy initiatives.

  3. Solitary: A Conversation with Albert Woodfox

Albert Woodfox, prison activist and Black Panther, survived more than four decades of solitary confinement in Louisiana’s notorious Angola state prison—punished for a crime he did not commit. In his new book, Solitary, he tells his story of struggle, transformation, and hope.

On Wednesday, April 17, 2019 from 5 PM to 8 PM in JRR, Growing up impoverished in segregated New Orleans, Woodfox was arrested multiple times for petty crimes as a teenager. Cycling in and out of jail as a young man, he learned how to survive the brutal, violent world of prison. After being exposed to the teachings of the Black Panther Party while incarcerated, Woodfox dedicated his life to the struggle for justice, organizing his fellow prisoners to challenge the inhumane conditions behind bars. in 1972, he and another Panther were falsely accused of killing a white prison guard. For this, Woodfox and two comrades, known as the “Angola 3," would collectively spend over a century in solitary confinement: 23 hours a day in a 6’x9’ cell. Since winning his release in February 2016, Woodfox has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe advocating for the freedom of political prisoners and an end to all forms of torture.

The Department of African American Studies welcomes Albert Woodfox for a conversation with Professor Joshua Guild about his remarkable life and inspiring story. Book signing to follow.

Link to the facebook event here.

  1. Race, Gender, and the Law - Anita Hill with Imani Perry.  Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 8 PM – 9 PM in Richardson Auditorium.

Anita Hill is University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University.  She is Of Counsel in Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll’s Civil Rights & Employment Practice group. In December, 2017 she was named as the chair of the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, formed to combat sexual harassment across the entertainment industry.  Professor Hill’s books include Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home (2011) and her autobiography Speaking Truth to Power (1997). She also co-edited, with Emma Coleman Jordan she co-edited, Race, Gender and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings (1995).  Professor Hill’s commentary has been published in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Ms. Magazine, including a September, 2018 column in the New York Times addressing how the Senate Judiciary Committee should conduct the Kavanaugh hearings to avoid the mistakes of the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings.

Imani Perry is Princeton’s Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies and faculty associate in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and Gender and Sexuality Studies.  She has written and taught on a number of topics regarding race and African American culture. She has published five books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant Life of Lorraine Hansberry  (2018); Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation (2018) and the upcoming Breathe: A Letter to My Sons.

Free Ticket Required:  Tickets for Princeton University members will be distributed at the University Ticketing Office in Frist Campus Center between 12 and 5 pm while supplies last.  Distribution to Students begins Tuesday, April 2, with a limit of one ticket per TigerCard (individuals can present a maximum of two TigerCards). Distribution to Staff/Faculty will begin Thursday, April 4 at 12pm (again, an individual can present up to two TigerCards).  General Public Tickets will be available starting at 12 pm on Monday April 8 online at tickets.princeton.edu or through the Frist Ticketing Office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Doors to Richardson Auditorium will open at 7:30 pm, and there will be a wait line for those unable to obtain a ticket in advance.  

5. Mark your calendars for Petey Greene at Rutgers’ Prison Awareness week from April 22nd to April 26th! SPEAR will follow up soon with logistics on how we can travel and show our support for the incredible work they are doing!  


Jussie Smollett and the Impulse to Punish Josie Duffy Rice, The New Yorker.

If Smollett lied, it is deeply insulting, not only to the people of Chicago but to anyone who has been victimized because of his race or sexual orientation. But not all immoral behavior necessitates criminal punishment. To stem the tide of mass incarceration, we must get comfortable with less punishment, even for some of the people we find morally reprehensible.

Family Separation Has Scarred These Kids For Life  Angelina Chapin, HuffPost.

“In some ways the hardest part is the aftermath [of family separation],” said Neha Desai, the director of immigration at the National Center for Youth Law. “You’re putting your life back together and uncovering layer upon layer of how the trauma has wreaked havoc on every aspect of your life.”

When Prisons Cut Off Visits—Indefinitely Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project.

“It’s been nearly 25 years since Michigan adopted a controversial visitation policy. Families have been fighting it ever since…’There’s really not a lot left of a constitutional right to visiting after that case,” said David Fathi, director of the ACLU National Prison Project. “This vital form of association … can be taken away pretty much at whim.’”

Money Changed Everything for Me in Prison Morgan Godwin, The Marshall Project.

“Does that mean prison “worked” for me? Or have I managed to thrive just because I was among the 1 percent of prisoners in the first place?”

Chicago’s Ankle Monitors Can Call and Record Kids Without Their Consent Kira Lerner, CityLab.

“The stated purpose of these devices is to communicate with the people wearing the devices, but they are raising concerns among civil liberties watchers that they are actually a mechanism for surveilling the conversations of these kids and those around them—and potentially for using the recordings in criminal cases.”


Kiki, Amanda, and Masha


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