My 410 days in solitary confinement taught me that in order to have impact we need to be part of something larger than ourselves.
The pandemic has invited all of us into a space of deeper empathy and understanding of the harmful impacts of isolation, and by extension, incarceration. The message is clear: We need each other as much as we need fresh air, food, healthcare and water. We need each other if we are to prevent the greed, ignorance, and incompetence of a few from undermining the human spirit. We need each other to survive.
We are thrilled to invite you to three Bay Area–wide Fundraising Salons to support and raise funds for the End of Isolation Tour (EIT). EIT, hosted by the Pulitzer Center, will travel from Oakland, California to St. Louis, Detroit, Arkansas and New Orleans, performing The BOX, a play I wrote (in collaboration with other survivors) about resistance and hope in solitary confinement in a U.S. prison.
• August 13, 5 pm at Jo Bauen's home in Oakland, CA
• August 19, 6pm at The Battery, 717 Battery, San Francisco CA 94111. To RSVP email firstname.lastname@example.org
At the salons you will hear from me, plus cast and crew members. We’ll enjoy food and drink and experience a restorative justice circle, similar to what will be provided to audiences throughout the tour. Donations are tax-deductible and both checks and credit cards will be accepted.
The End of Isolation Tour is more than theater alone; it’s a process of building, strengthening, and knitting together communities across the country on the frontlines of fighting mass incarceration—through theater, traveling visual art, and restorative justice practice. Our crew (half of whom are formerly incarcerated or systems impacted individuals) will be traveling across the country in a converted school bus, painted by muralist
DJ Agana. Every day we will sit in circle in the tradition of restorative justice, both to process the play and create a space to imagine better ways to address harm and heal our communities. Out two-month journey will be captured in a documentary series made by filmmaker Bobby Field.
The lifeblood of our tour are our community partners: organizations and campaigns across the country actively organizing to end solitary confinement and stop mass incarceration (DeCarcerate Arkansas,Close The Workhouse, Abolitionist Apostles,Solitary Gardens, Detroit Justice Center, VOTE, and Detroit’s Love Campus). To quote Jon Comstock from Fayetville, Arkansas, the End of Isolation Tour will “act like a booster-shot that will energize people doing the work, infuse the community with energy for action, and help us to the finish line.” Then, if we’re successful, we’ll do a second tour in 2022!
I collected stories from people trapped in the hellish deep end of prisons across the country nearly ten years ago. Now, in a cruel twist of history, there could not be a more powerful moment to bring these stories back. I believe the movement to replace punishment with rehabilitative and restorative values is unstoppable; being a part of this movement alongside formerly incarcerated people continues to be the honor of a lifetime.
Join us! Come ready to be inspired to learn more, to give generously, and to help us hit the road!
Sarah Shourd, End of Isolation Tour