The Graduates

Won't Bow Down

The Graduates

Won't Bow Down

BEYOND INCARCERATION SUMMIT “Empowering incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women to transform”

A premier summit in New Orleans, Louisiana, hosted by The Graduates, a group of formerly incarcerated women addressing the failings of Louisiana’s criminal justice system and connecting to a global movement to eradicate mass incarceration.

National speakers include: Susan Burton (A New Way of Life: Reentry Project), Topeka Sam (Founder, Ladies of Hope Ministries, Director of Dignity for Incarcerated Women, Cut 50 ), Andrea James (Founder of Families for Justice as Healing), Kathy Boudin (Center for Justice at Columbia University), Susan Rosenberg (Political Prisoner in My Own Country—A Prison Memoir), Rhodessa Jones (Performing artist and founder of The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women), Tomiko Shine (RAPP Releasing Aging People in Prison) and Lois Ahrens (The Real Cost of Prisons)

Friday – Sunday, April 6-8, 2018 New Orleans, La.

Friday, April 6, 2018
St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church
7100 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
6:00 pm-10:00 pm

Opening Reception
Keynote Speaker Topeka Sam Performance “Won’t Bow Down” by The Graduates & Queens of the Nation


Saturday, April 7, 2018
St Charles Avenue Baptist Church
7100 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
8:30 am-5:00 pm

Keynote Speakers: Andrea James and Rhodessa Jones
Performances by: A Scribe Called Quess & Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes 

Workshops facilitated by Fox Rich, Dolfinette Martin, Norris Henderson, Syrita Martin, Spirit House, Susan Rosenberg, Tomiko Shine, Kathy Boudin, Lois Ahrens, Tufara Muhammad and others

Saturday Evening Discussion: What’s God Got To Do With It? A Panel on the Role of Faith Communities in Ending Mass Incarceration 

Part of The Mabel Palmer Lecture Series 

St Charles Avenue Baptist Church 7:00 pm-9:00 pm

Panelists: Pastor Elizabeth Lott (St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church), Ivy Woolf Turk (Project Liberation-New York), Rev. Wilfred Johnson (P.U.S.H. New Iberia, La.), Ricky Banks (City of Faith Church Monroe, La.), and Mary Ulloho (SisterHeart)

Performances by: The Conquerors & former members of LCIW Drama Club


Sunday, April 8, 2018
Beyond Incarceration Closing Ceremony: Tombar Life Center
1683 N Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116
8:00am -12:00 noon

Unveiling of the Life Quilt: The names, of 107 women serving life sentences, in Louisiana, beaded by Black masking Indians, woven into a tapestry by Brandan “Bmike” Odums 

Keynote Speaker: Susan Burton 

Performances by: Wendi O’Neal, Dr. Ysaye Maria Barnwell (formerly of Sweet Honey & The Rock), Michaela Harrison, Sula Spirit & Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective

The Graduates are co-created and co-sponsored by ArtSpot Productions and Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective. The Graduates are Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellows, and are supported in part by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Alternate ROOTS Partners in Action Program, made possible by support from Nathan Cummings Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Surdna Foundation. Additional support for the Beyond Incarceration Summit has been provided by St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church.