community engagement

A major component of this project is engagement with prison abolitionists, abolitionist organizations, and currently and formerly incarcerated people and their families. Our commitment for this project is to create a vision of an abolitionist future and then offer pathways to engage in real time organizing toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex and the creation of transformative, community-led processes that address harm. We do this with our community partners and through direct communication with survivors of the prison system. During the life of this project, Papel Machete has engaged with the below partners in different ways including offering workshops to their members, creating artwork and media to support their campaigns, and artistic exchange. 

community partners

AgitArte is an organization of working class artists and cultural organizers who work at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality and ideology. Through a praxis of cultural solidarity, creative process and popular education, we initiate and facilitate arts and cultural projects with grassroots communities that contest U.S. cultural hegemony and propose alternatives to existing systems of oppression. 

Prison Radio is an independent multimedia production studio producing content for radio, television, and films for 30 years and distributing throughout the world. Prison Radio streams our high-quality audio material to media outlets and the general public in order to add the voices of people most impacted by the prison industrial complex. Listen to commentaries on their website

Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. They build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.

Sisters Unchained  is a prison abolitionist non-profit organization dedicated to supporting young women and girls with incarcerated or formerly incarcerated parents.  Based in Boston, MA, Sisters Unchained is a refuge space where young women of color can focus on loving and improving themselves and their communities in the way they see fit.

Gallery of the Streets  is an evolving network of artists, activists, organizers, scholars, cultural workers, and community supporters committed to exploring radical possibilities within Black geographies.

Mask making workshop led by Deborah Hunt with community members and abolitionists in Dallas, TX | September 2022.

Papel Machete and SONG New Orleans collaboration in New Orleans, March 2023.

collaborators inside

Portrait of Pitt Panther

Pitt Panther (Peter Kalamu Mukuria) is a visual artist and Prison Radio Correspondent, currently incarcerated at Interstate Compact-Facility in Maryland. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya and grew up in Maryland (check). Pitt is a prolific revolutionary artist, the Minister of Labor for the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP), and is on the steering committee for the Incarcerated Workers of the World Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWW/IWOC). We first made contact with Pitt in summer 2021 when he was at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia and invited him to be a part of the creative process and development of On the Eve of Abolition. Since then, Pitt has created several works of original artwork and recorded interviews like this one which have been incorporated into the live performance. We’re grateful to Pitt and his partner Sojourner for their generosity and willingness to build this abolitionist vision with us. @pittpanther_art

Krystal Clark is a 39 year-old mother of four, grandmother, devoted friend and Prison Radio Correspondent. She has been incarcerated at Women’s Huron Valley (“The Valley of Death”) in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the last 13 years. Krystal is slowly being killed by the state of Michigan due to serious health issues and allergies to mold which the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) refuses to address in WHV. She has requested assistance from MDOC medical staff, The Warden and public officials but her concerns go largely ignored. It is widely believed and confirmed by friends, family and outside medical professionals that if Krystal is not released from WHV soon, she will die in that facility. We initially reached out to Krystal in 2022 with concern for her situation and to lend what resources and support we have to help get her released. Please see Actions for Abolition for ways to support Krystal.