Schedule for Dec 13 “Care Down the Walls” Free University

​Care Down the Walls:
Education, Health, & Housing beyond Prisons

Free University

Sunday, December 13
11:30AM – 4PM
Sixth Street Community Center
638 E Sixth Street (between Avenues B & C)

Welcome / Statement of Intentions

*All Day*
Virtual Writing Workshop: Spaces for the Future
Susan Naomi Bernstein

Describe a real or imagined community space that creates hope for the Future. Your writing can:• Illustrate with thick description and details• Explain emotional significance• Consider symbolism• Document history• Make a case for necessary changes

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: Structuralism in Black Literature
Nicholas B. Powers

From Frederick Douglass to Sapphire’s novel ​​Push, learning how to read was intimately tied to freedom. In this teach in, we look at how literacy re-subjectified the blackened body and created a structuralist vision that is the radical seed in Black literature.

Alternatives and Divestment from the Treatment Industrial Complex
Root Cause and Hospital Care Workers Collective

In Part One of this workshop, Root Cause will share a Divestment Presentation (see video to discuss cutting ties with the Treatment Industrial Complex, using an activity to understand the TIC’s web. Points for discussion: How can we can cut these ties? What are recommendations for different stakeholders? How can we push Rangel to take tax breaks away from prisons (see petition We will identify resources and strategies healthcare workers and community groups need to improve public health while reducing the need for police and prisons.
In Part Two, public hospital workers will share experiences and discuss possibilities of expanding concrete alternatives to abolish prisons that are based on non-hierarchical and transparent forms of collaboration between community groups and healthcare workers. More specifically, we’re interested in how healthcare workers can more effectively collaborate with communities to resist racism, police brutality, and incarceration. Our guiding question: How do we liberate health from surveillance, privatization, and racism?

Introduction to Warrior Sisters and Demo Class
Warrior Sisters – Hetal Sheth

Warrior Sisters is a non profit organization dedicated to ending systemic male violence against women. The group was started in Oregon in 2013 by a handful of women and now has representatives building communities and facilitating free self defense trainings for women and events in cities across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and now in NYC! We draw inspiration from Gulabi Gang, a grassroots women led movement in India, in working to build a culture of resistance and empower women as a collective force. We believe that strong women’s communities are a vital element of assault prevention. We are dedicated to building these communities through discussion, sharing of stories, mutual support, and respect. Join us to hear a short introduction about Warrior Sisters which will be open to all and a demo class right after for women only.

HIJOS in Argentina: Breaking Social Silence – Community Power
Marina Sitrin

I will share the experiences of HIJOS in Argentina so as to help us think together about options for where we place our energy/demands/focus and well as how. HIJOS (Hijas y Hijos por identidad y justicia y contra el olvido y silencio – Daughters and Sons for Identity and Justice and Against Silence and Forgetting), began in the later 1990s in Argentina and in many ways is both precursor and emblematic of the forms of organization of the post 2001 rebellion. Different from the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo and the Abuelas, though in solidarity with them, HIJOS does not place demands upon the government as their strategy for justice, but rather organizes itself so as to address society as a whole. They do this to break a “social silence” that they argue is largely to blame for the dictatorship and mass disappearances of their parents, family members and others in society. The perspective of HIJOS is horizontal – looking to those around them as the source of power – both in attempts to transform society, and as the location of the silence that has supported the status quo. Hundreds if not thousands of people who were active or complicit in the dictatorship live free in society in Argentina. Until recently there was a total silence about this. HIJOS organizes in this silence. HIJOS’s goal is not to speak to the genocidas (those involved in the dictatorship), but their neighbors and society in general. Those who were letting people who committed such atrocities live in peace and silence. The form their protests take is more of a public outing than a traditional protest. It became known as the Escrache. An Escrache is this process of outing, it is a tactic for social awareness, using direct action, theater and education against silence and forgetting.

Using Meditation to Achieve Outcomes
One Thousand Arms – Kara Dansky

Meditation can help us connect our intention with concrete outcomes. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of meditation practice, mindfulness and awareness, cause and effect, obstacles, and the development of confidence in our ability to achieve our goals, including education, healthcare and housing for all and an end to the prison industrial complex.

Overdose Reversal
Streetwork Project – Graciela

I will teach an overdose reversal & safer injection training. Using naloxone & talking to your communities/networks about safer injection can save lives. Drug users are constantly targeted by police and are at great risk for health concerns, even death, if the stigma & shame around it are not addressed. I will teach how to obtain naloxone (I can bring some kits to give out as well), how to prevent an overdose through safer injection strategies, how to talk about IV drug use without judgment, how to address health concerns, referrals for needle exchanges, how to care for & support injectors in our communities, how to access needle exchanges, and how to administer naloxone as a harm reduction-focused workshop.

Free Your Mind
Beyond Attica/Close Rikers/Stop Mass Incarceration/Riverside Direct Action Response Team – James Litkett

This revolutionary activist poet ( will talk about empowering the formerly incarcerated and protecting their freedom in mind, body, and soul so as to not become victims of circumstance.

Teatro Vida: Theater and Public Health, Bronx New York 1990s
Thea Martinez

The facilitator will provide a historical context for discussing the early experiments of government funded programs bringing theater arts into public health education during the AIDS crisis of 1990s. Further discussion will explore how we can utilize theater in and outside The (Prison) Walls to improve public health today. In the second half of the workshop, Thea Martinez will share some of her experiences as actor/educator during the 1990s and offer exercises that introduce the Teatro Vida method to workshop participants.

Attica and Abolitionist Strategy
Critical Resistance – Bryan Welton

How is care an alternative to caging and control, and when is “care” a strategy for remaking repression? Where can we find obstacles, traps, exits, and openings in this moment of prison reform? How can we transform the power and scale of abolition? Critical Resistance members will discuss coalition building and non-reformist reform through their experience in building the Beyond Attica campaign, working to free people and resources from the prison industrial complex toward reconstructing healthy, whole, and self-determining communities.

Reflections/next steps dialogue
Free University-NYC

We will all come together to reflect on the day, and to lay out concrete strategies for a larger city-wide network that can amplify our projects and gain wider support. We will share recent/upcoming actions to build bridges between our groups, and will brainstorm what themes Free University-NYC can explore in 2016 and beyond.
@FreeUnivNYC #CareDownWalls

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