Monday, October 19, 7 pm

Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black) and Victoria Law (NYC Books Through Bars co-founder) on the importance of sending books to prisons

Register here

Five months into Freebird’s book drive for incarcerated readers (over 3,000 copies donated!), we wanted to pause and have a conversation on the invaluable work NYC Books Through Bars does, how these books are distributed to prisons nationwide, and what they mean to the recipients.

As part of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s “Books Beneath the Bridge” series, Freebird Books is hosting a conversation between Victoria Law, the co-founder of NYC Books Through Bars, and Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black and a former incarcerated reader herself. Law and Kerman will discuss how prisons make access to literature exceptionally difficult, compounding institutional barriers to education. Often books are the sole instruments of learning for a prisoner. Books-to-prisons programs remain some of the few supply chains for making this happen. It’s particularly critical now, as many of the incarcerated are in lockdown due to the pandemic. ​

As Albert Woodfox–held in solitary confinement for 40 years–put it after helping a fellow prisoner learn how to read: “The world was now open to him”

Piper Kerman is the author of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in Women’s Prison, a memoir of her prison experiences, which was adapted into the critically acclaimed Netflix original comedy-drama series. Since leaving prison, Kerman has spoken widely about women in prison and about her own experiences there. She has taught nonfiction writing classes for incarcerated men and women in state prison systems for a number of years.

Tuesday, Sept 29, 7 to 8:30 pm

Study & Struggle 2: Abolition, Intersectionality & Care

Join Dean Spade, Andrea Ritchie, Pauline Rogers and me for a conversation about what it means for abolition to be intersectional and how abolition demands a reimagination of what it means to be in community and to care for one another.

Audio and video clips from previous events:

Asians For Abolition

Tuesday, August 11. 2020 (virtual via Haymarket Books)

If you missed it, you can watch on Haymarket’s website



With Historic Release of Drug Offenders & Help for Reentry, US Takes “First Step” on Prison Crisis

Watch me on Democracy Now! talking about historic release of 6,000 federal drug war prisoners–and the impending deportation facing one-third:


Conversations in Black Freedom Studies at the Schomburg Center

If you missed the discussion between Dan Berger (author of Captive Nation), Bryan Stevenson (founder and director of Equal Justice Initiative) and me about race, the criminal justice system, mass incarceration and resistance as part of the Black Freedom Studies at the NYPL’s Schomburg Center, you can see it here:


Prisoners and Formerly Incarcerated Persons v the USA

How can those of us outside support the struggle of those of us inside? From Troy Davis to Mumia Abu-Jamal and Bradley Manning, from the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers to the Georgia Prison Strike and the Formerly Incarcerated Persons (FIPs), anti-capitalist leadership has come from inside the Prisonhouse of nations, and from the families campaigning outside. Many rebellious young people and movement points of reference are locked up in what are in effect concentration camps. We want them back! We need them back!
Panelists: Eric Gjertsen, Frances Goldin, Theresa Shoatz, Rev. Edward Pinkney and Victoria Law
Moderated by Selma James
At the 2012 Left Forum which, once again, refused to address childcare issues.