Saturday, May 26th
On our final weekend, the conversation at Bring Down The Walls turned toward the future, inviting participants to imagine a society without prisons or jails. Speakers proposed visionary ways of evolving beyond punitive injustice, and considered the most forward thinking approaches to achieving real change.
Free Lunch by Mala Project
12:00 – 2:00 PM / Engine Bay
Join the Bring Down The Walls family as we kick off the final weekend, Radical Futures, and reflect on the project’s evolution over the last month. This is an opportunity to connect and build community while we kick off the day’s 24 hour marathon finale.
School Is In Session
Welcome to the final day of Bring Down The Walls! Join us as we introduce the framework and themes for the day’s conversations, exchanges, and debates, and look back on the highlights of the past four weeks.
A Post-Prison Society
2:30 – 4:00 PM / Big Room
Danielle Sered, Cory Greene
This panel examines alternatives to punishment that result in deeper and more far-reaching impacts than putting people away. Using restorative justice and human justice approaches, speakers will address ways to respond to harm that lead to healing at the individual, interpersonal, community and systemic level.
Danielle Sered is the Executive Director of Common Justice, which develops and advances solutions to violence that meet the needs of those harmed, advance racial equity, and do not rely on incarceration. She is the author of Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and End Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.
Cory Greene is a formerly incarcerated co founder and organizer with How Our Lives link Altogether! Cory is currently invested in developing and supporting the development of an inter-generational youth led city-wide Healing Justice Movement. Cory is also a 5th year PhD candidate in the Critical Social Personality Psychology doctoral program at the Graduate Center of the CUNY where his/our research justice efforts engage in Radical Healing and youth community organizing.
Rikers Debate Project: Face Off
2:30 – 3:30 PM / Small Room
The Rikers Debate Project Fellows take on the most pressing issues in the field of criminal justice advocacy, such as voting rights, the “raise the age” campaign, solitary confinement, and bail reform.
The Rikers Debate Project is dedicated to teaching people at Rikers Island the skills of competitive debate.
Walking Tour with Jay Holder
3:30 – 4:00 PM / Leaves from Lafayette Street & White Street
Bring Down The Walls is situated amongst the institutional pillars of the prison industrial complex, including the Manhattan Detention Complex and New York City’s courthouses. Map the journey to prison and back on a walk through Lower Manhattan’s maze of courts, facilities, and administrative buildings hiding in plain sight amidst the day-to-day of New Yorkers.
Behind the Music
4:15 – 5:25 PM / Big Room
Phil Collins & Collaborators
Hear the classic house covers from the Bring Down The Walls benefit album, and the story behind the project from the artist and his collaborators.
Campaign Step Up with Critical Resistance
5:25 – 5:45 PM / Big Room
Take action! There are a number of campaigns challenging the prison industrial complex and supporting those affected by the system. This weekly series will introduce you to various local campaigns and provide opportunities to join their work.
Critical Resistance is a grassroots organization working to abolish the prison industrial complex.
Nobody’s Business: Ending the Cash Bail $y$tem
4:15 – 5:15 PM / Small Room
Bronx Freedom Fund
Close to half a million people are in jail today awaiting trial, many of them incarcerated because they are too poor to afford cash bail. The time has come to abolish this system that currently criminalizes poverty. What would the end of cash bail look like and what can we do to get there?
Bronx Freedom Fund is a nonprofit with a revolving fund to pay bail for people accused of misdemeanors. They aim to keep people in their communities while they await trial – and to fight for a system that no longer criminalizes poverty.
Approaches to Justice
5:15 – 5:45 PM / Small Room
Jay Holder, Jarrell Daniels, Geraldine Downey, Robert Wright
This conversation focuses on ways that advocates and activists are collaborating to change the issues within the existing justice system in New York City. Through insight, scholarship, and dialogue with those directly impacted and formerly incarcerated, they develop initiatives that can inform policies that lead to real change.
The Economics of Decarceration
6:00 – 6:45 PM / Small Room
Jarred Williams, Soros Justice Fellow at Open Society Foundations
If prison abolition is the goal, what do we do with all of the prisons? This session uses nationwide data to inform how prison closures can be prosperous for communities, safe for incarcerated people, sensitive to economic realities, and politically viable for elected officials to transition incarceration-based communities into healthy, sustainable alternatives.
Rules of Engagement: Working With the State?
6:00 – 7:15 PM / Big Room
Alex Anthony, Jewel Cadet, Jay Borchert
This panel explores different positions on if, when and how – as a radical abolitionist – one can work with law enforcement, the judicial system, and politicians. What does engagement with representatives of the system look like and can it serve as a vehicle for generating a radical future?
Alex Anthony is Director of Queens Operations at Bronx Freedom Fund. As a Bail Disruptor, she pays bail and provides pretrial support. Alex works to push for an end to the criminalization of race and poverty through advocacy and direct-action campaigns.
Jewel Cadet is the NYC Chapter Co-Chair of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100). Hailing from Brooklyn, East New York, with Haitian blood through her veins, Jewel is deeply rooted in the concerns of the rights and freedoms of black girls, femmes and trans & cis women. Jewel boldly claims all of her intersecting identities as she fights for her ultimate freedom and the freedom of those around her.
Jay Borchert is a Visiting Professor of Sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a public sociologist and public criminologist whose research and advocacy focus on prisons, prisoners, prison staff, conditions of confinement, and the law as subjects of intense social negotiation and conflict.
Break 4 Love: Remembering House
7:15 – 8:00 PM / Big Room
House music is more than just a genre. Many house fans discover a rare and unique community amongst their fellow music lovers which runs deeper than most family bloodlines. In this conversation, engage in reflection on what it means to create and maintain family within this close-knit community.
Dr. Micah Salkind is a DJ, sound designer and cultural historian interested in queer histories of technology and the social impacts of Afro-diasporic cultural production on local, national, and transnational economies.
BYP 100 Closed Session
7:15 – 8:00 PM / Small Room
Jewel Cadet, Arissa Hall
This workshop is a closed session for Black-identified participants, and hosted by BYP 100, a national, member-based organization of Black 18-35 year old activists and organizers. Dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people, BYP100 building a network focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and political education using a Black queer feminist lens.
Arissa Hall is a born and raised New Yorker, mama, wife and sister-friend that is passionate about about achieving transformative socio-economic justice and base building. Currently, she co-leads the work of the National Bail Out- a collective of Black organizers committed to ending pre-trial detention while doing tactical bail outs. In addition, Arissa is a founding member of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), NYC chapter.
Bring Down The Walls Live Performance
8:00 – 8:30 PM / Big Room
Robert Pollack, Cameron Holmes and the Remnant Praise choir from Bethany Baptist Church
As a powerful way to close out our final week of daytime programing, vocalists from the Bring Down The Walls benefit album will perform selected music, accompanied by one of Brooklyn’s vibrant and soulful gospel choirs.
Live Performance by Ian Isiah
We’ll start off our final night at Bring Down The Walls with a live performance from Ian Isiah, from 10:00PM – 10:30PM.
Papi Juice, an art collective composed of DJ/producers Oscar Nñ and Adam Rhodes, and illustrator Mohammed Fayaz, that aims to celebrate the lives of queer and trans people of color closed out Bring Down The Walls with an all night bash. Structured around curated events, Papi Juice lives at the intersection of art, music, and nightlife. For the past five years, the collective has been changing the face of nightlife in New York City and beyond with intentional platforms for artists of color including panels, artist residencies, performances, and, of course, fabled DJ sets and parties.
The final morning of Bring Down The Walls was a closing celebration.
6:00AM – 9:00AM // DJ Reborn
9:00AM – Noon // Breakfast by Ovenly