Arnie's Story of Ending Isolation
It’s what we are doing right now
When I came out of prison two years ago I had no idea what Zoom was. I didn't know what a Google doc was either, let alone a Google drive. Then, I met Sarah Shourd at a restorative justice circle (on zoom) and discovered The End of Isolation Tour (EIT). A year later, I’m one of the core organizers for the tour.
The End of Isolation Tour will knit together communities on the front lines of imagining a world without prisons and passing legislation to ban solitary confinement. We’re coming out of isolation with a bang, bringing transformative theater and restorative justice to places like Fayetteville, Arkansas and Winston-Salem, North Carolina that don’t get to see this kind of art very often.
We’ll be traveling to these ten communities in Big B, our renovated 40-foot school bus, which will be wrapped in a mural by systems-impacted artist DJ Agana. Our cast and crew, nearly half of whom are formerly incarcerated, will be sleeping in bunks that convert into couches during the day, cooking and eating and performing together on the road for two months, in an act of powerful solidarity.
In addition to doing a lot of EITs gruntwork as a volunteer organizer, I’m also a significant donor. To pull off an groundbreaking, ambitious tour like this, you need both vision and practicality, and transformation isn't cheap. Today I’m asking you to join me in helping us raise 7,000 for essential bus gear, like installing an air conditioner and kitchen supplies. I want you to know your tax-deductible donation will impact law and power in this country. Inviting local legislators, cultural influencers and activists into this visceral experience, has and will continue to influence the laws our audiences are penning and voting for.
I studied Buddhism in prison. I learned that if something is going to happen, it can only happen right now. Dancing, for example, is forbidden in prison. While walking the track in the yard, I would listen to my songs on my mp3 player, and inside I would be dancing. Ending isolation isn’t a painful longing for something that’s going to happen in the future, it’s what we are doing right now. It’s not going to happen in the future - we are ending isolation right now.
Arnie Fischman, Co-Organizer, End of Isolation
P.S. Please follow us while we’re on tour:
This post was adapted by Sarah Shourd from an interview by Zeph Fishlyn.