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Art and Freedom

Sarah Kay Peters, Author

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Changing Ways

Changing Ways is a group of formerly incarcerated individuals who have come together to reach out to youth using Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to encourage the youth to not go down the same path they did. Through TO, they hope to connect with youth who are at high risk of becoming part of the prison industrial complex. Their collective experiences as youth before they went into prison and also the 20+ years that they have all served give them a unique perspective and understanding from where they can reach out and affect change in the lives of these youth. 

We started in August with a core made up of six members who are currently working regularly, James “JC”, Ralph, David, Johnny, Windell and Derrick. Along the way, some had to stop coming because of life changes while we added a few new members, Yusef and Noah, and Omar, another original member came when possible.

Through our work this year, they have also discovered what a valuable asset they can be to their own community of men who are trying to transition back into society. By taking on issues that are both very personal to them and reflect systemic issues of their community, they have begun to create a space for men to experience internal freedom as well as freedom from the prison walls. The original group is transitioning into managerial positions as Changing Ways has learned what it is to be a sustainable organization rather than a group that comes together for a short term project.

With a strong core of the original members, they invite newly released men to participate in the theatre games and scene making that has given them space have freedom of expression and deep exploration of self.

As a request from the members who wish to avoid the stigma of being a former "lifer," there last names will not be used.

You can contact Changing Ways through their website.

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