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Community Conversation Series

THE POETRY OF JUSTICE: POEMS, ESSAYS, AND OTHER STORIES

SPONSORED BY IN OUR NAME INITIATIVE

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4 | 6 PM TO 8:30 PM | FREE & OPEN TO ALL

“Conversations to Build An Inclusive American Community” is a monthly discussion series in which our community’s brightest thinkers articulate their perspectives on important civic issues. The goal is to catalyze fresh thinking by bringing together people from a wide range of fields to share a conversation that is respectful, deep, empowering and unique.

The curator and sponsor of this series is In Our Name Initiative, an organization dedicated to civic learning and legislative action for social, economic and criminal justice matters. In Our Name is a component of the Skidmore College Project on Restorative Justice, a national thought and training organization dedicated to the work of reconciling victims and offenders and finding more constructive ways to deal with crime and punishment.

Featured Poet: JONATHAN GRADESS

Jonathan Gradess has spent his life fighting to bring justice to people who have no voice. He recently retired after a long and very distinguished career as Executive Director of the New York State Defenders Association in Albany. His career has been focused on combining thought, principle, and action to achieve real change. He has worked to eliminate the death penalty in New York State along with being an advocate for restorative justice and prison reform. He has also focused on bringing constitutionally effective counsel for people who cannot afford to pay for a criminal defense lawyer.  These days, Jonathan spends his time writing poetry and organizing materials and stories for what will be an extraordinary book about justice and service.

featured speaker: Anthony dixon

Anthony Dixon is the National Employment Director for When People Work and has prepared thousands of people for the prison-to-community transition. As a core adviser to the Parole Preparation Project organization and the Releasing Aging People in Prison campaign, he has contributed to strategic partnerships, provided critical advocacy in the formation legislative bills, and helped increase the release of people serving excessive sentences in New York State. An expert in developing cogitative treatment programs, Anthony received commendations for developing an anti-violent program entitled Breaking Free from Criminal Thinking and an anti-drug program called Life Areas. For his extraordinary efforts among marginalized groups, Anthony was issued the 2015 RISE Award by the Community Minded Organization. He is also a recipient of the 2018 Freedom Fighter Award issued by Citizens Against Recidivism. 

featured writer: Cara Benson

Cara Benson’s writing has been published in The New York Times, Boston Review, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and is at work on her first novel. Benson taught poetry for eight years at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility and served as Committee Chair of the PEN Prison Writing Program.