This Sunday, arts and social justice marry at Unit 1, the new Lake Worth gallery and performance space, as it hosts a fundraiser for the South Florida Prison Book Project. It is the latest effort in the group's many years of providing free books to citizens who've run afoul of the law.
The day's agenda includes a show of prisoner art, the local debut of a new documentary about the consequences of the War on Drugs, and an appearance by Florida state Rep. Katie Edwards, who will talk about legislation she introduced last week to reform Florida's strict mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws.
The afternoon's art exhibit comes courtesy of Carol Strick, who for some 20 years has been collecting inmate art, both to, she says, "change the public's misconceptions about prisoners" and to sell it to raise money for them.
"All prisoners are victims themselves," Strick told us by email. "They may have victimized someone but now they are all victims of a system that seems like it's from the Middle Ages."
The day's "Sunday matinee" is The House I Live In, a film by director Eugene Jarecki, probably best-known for the documentary The Trials of Henry Kissinger. (Don't we wish.) Executive produced by Danny Glover, John Legend, and Russell Simmons, the film's been described as "an angry and personal attack on America's war on drugs [that] contends it is a grotesquely wasteful public-works scheme." We're down with that.
Katie Edwards is a surprising late addition to the event, whose legislation is a bit of a surprise too. The Plantation rep is a nominal Democrat, but one who often tends to the more conservative side of the aisle. But if Edwards has seen the light, more power to her.
The event's organizers, in addition to raising funds to purchase books for inmates, have dedicated the day to the memory of Herman "Hooks" Wallace, one of the Angola Three, inmates whose convictions have been hotly contested (and one reversed), and who were subjected to terms of solitary confinement that lasted, incredibly, decades. Wallace died October 4, just days after his release from prison. The campaign for justice for the Angola Three goes on.
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