Archive for March 14, 2011

Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home – It’s not just black and white…

As we await our inmate collaborators’ graduation from the ALPHA program, their release from jail and for them to rejoin us in the exhibition space as members of the outside community, the projects and conversation of It’s not just black and white continue to build.

Last week Gregory hosted the students of the Women & Social Change class of Assistant Professor Durfee of Women & Gender Studies at ASU. The students are in the beginning process of organizing a social action on the ASU campus to raise awareness of the untimely death of prison inmate Marcia Powell. Powell, 48, died May 20, 2009, after being kept in an outdoor human cage in Goodyear’s Perryville Prison for at least four hours in the Arizona sun with temperatures in the 107 degree Fahrenheit range.

As a social practice and performance artist, Gregory has much experience with public action. He listened to the student’s ideas and provided insights into possibilities of making the action more impactful. The students were engaged and passionate, and we are excited to see their event in action. We will definitely share dates and times for their action when they have been confirmed.

On Thursday Gregory and I met with Alan Gómez, Borderlands Scholar and Assistant Professor of the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, and Scott Henderson of theTempe Chapter of Amnesty International. Together, Allan and Scott are developing one day of programming for the 3-day First Annual Human Rights Film Festival at ASU.  On Saturday, April 9, the ASU Art Museum will host the afternoon program PRISONERS’ RIGHTS, MILITARIZATION OF JUSTICE. The afternoon will present three short films: Cointelpro 101, The Response and a new video based on It’s not just black and white by Gregory Sale. The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion on the program topic led by key figures of the community.  I have posted the complete festival screening program below; the panels are still being confirmed, and we’ll share that as well once it is available.

On Friday, GINA’s Team hosted a volunteer informational gathering for the Welcome Home project. The Welcome Home project is a volunteer mentoring organization that welcome’s home female inmates upon release. The program included an amazing introduction and insight from Sue Ellen Allen, a former inmate of Perryville prison and co-founder of GINA’s Team. She shared the story of Gina, a 25-year-old mother who befriended her at Perryville and who died of leukemia while serving time. She introduced Gregory by stating the importance of his project in creating greater community awareness and dialogue, and Gregory shared his project with the audience. Sue Ellen went on to introduce Gina’s mom; Karen Hellman, ATS Program Manager, Counseling & Treatment Services of the Arizona Department of Corrections; Jan Weathers, Re-Entry coordinator, Counseling & Treatment Services of the ADOC; and Marianne Petrilloa, a GINA’s Team board member. They all spoke with grace from multiple perspectives, providing additional insights into the complex topics of the current state of corrections in Arizona.

Lastly, the key note speaker was introduced, member of the Arizona State House of Representatives Cecil Ash (R.Mesa). Rep. Ash shared stories of his years in a position at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. He presented example after example of cases where he felt the mandatory sentencing (for those not from AZ, mandatory sentencing laws in this State leave very little, if any, flexibility for a judge hearing the case – sentences must also be served consecutively) was beyond extreme. He talked about his efforts to get sentencing reform bills heard on the house floor and the lack of support for such bills at this current time. It was clear that Rep. Ash is passionate, has clear vision and insight, and most of all has complete integrity when it comes to these issues, yet still confesses that he is constantly attacked by those who stick to the “tough on crime” mentality often used as a defense for not even considering possibilities of change to the current system.

It was once again an eye-opening week at the ASU Art Museum, and much more is on the way, like tomorrow’s (3/15) discussion Art’s Role in Resilience Science and Other Innovations in Thinking from 2 – 3:30pm. 

And there’s still time to sign-up for this Saturday’s (3/19) tour of Tent City Jail at 2 p.m.

We hope you’ll join us!

- John Spiak, Curator

It’s not just black and white is supported a grant from
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

First Annual Human Rights Film Festival at ASU 
Free and open to the public; each grouping of films will be followed by panel discussions.

Friday 4/8
5-8 pm — ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The Economics of Happiness

Saturday 4/9
12-3 pm — PRISONERS’ RIGHTS, MILITARIZATION OF JUSTICE
ASU Museum of Art, in conjunction with Gregory Sale’s art exhibition “It’s not just black and white”
Cointelpro 101, The Response
5-8 pm — IMMIGRANT RIGHTS
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
FILM SHORTS: Dream Act Students, Arizona Women & Children Rise: Resisting SB1070, Testimonies of Resistance from Apartheid Arizona, Exiled in America

Sunday 4/10
12-3 pm — TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Long Night’s Journey Into Day: South Africa’s Search for Truth & Reconciliation
5-8 pm — INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The Snowbowl Effect

Co-sponsored by Human Rights at ASU, the School of Social Transformation, Justice and Social Inquiry, and the Barrett Honors College.

Visit humanrights.asu.edu as the festival date approaches, for updated times, locations and final film and panel selections.

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Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

March 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm 12 comments


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