Archive for the 'Events' Category

Laughs Unlocked benefit show—Thurs., May 18

2017 Laughs Unlocked Web Graphic450
Recommended by Chicagoist and the Reader!
Tickets on sale now! Buy online or call 773.697.9693.

Prison is no laughing matter, but we’ll make an exception because some of the best improv actors in Chicago are throwing us a benefit. Again!

In this two-act show they’ll create scenes based on stories from our friend Colette Payne. Colette, who was formerly incarcerated, is a community organizer with Cabrini Green Legal Aid/Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers.

CAST Brooke Breit, TJ Jagodowski, Brett Lyons, Beth Melewski, Nnamdi Ngwe, Saurabh Pande, Dewayne Perkins, Asher Perlman, Sue Salvi, Jim Scheidhauer, Kevin Sciretta and Robyn Scott
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Julie B. Nichols

100% of the proceeds will go to Chicago Books to Women in Prison. Many thanks to all the actors and the theannoyance.com for donating their talent, time and space. Don’t miss it!

Download the poster.

Visit the Facebook event page.

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Benefit concert—Saturday, April 8

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We’re delighted that Praxilla Femina—a new women’s music collective of professional opera singers—has chosen to benefit us with their first concert. 
According to the group, “Our aim is to improve the lives of women in Chicago, especially those who are marginalized. We thought it would be a great idea if the proceeds from our concert were donated to your organization, and if we collected books people may purchase while at the concert for your cause.”

Update: Thank you to the members of Praxilla Femina for a marvelous performance—and to everyone who supported us with a financial contribution or a donation of books.

Praxilla Femina

Dismantling Barriers to Life—Sat., March 11

dismantling-barriers

Dismantling Barriers to Life:
A speak out on mass incarceration

Saturday, March 11, 12:30–4 pm
First Baptist Congregational
1613 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago (map)

Hear from people directly affected by incarceration, share ideas for action and more at this community event hosted by Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Community Renewal SocietyGrowing HomePrecious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, StoryCorps and the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois.

Continue reading ‘Dismantling Barriers to Life—Sat., March 11’

Chicago Premiere of a New Documentary—Sat., October 22

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Saturday, October 22, 2–4 pm
Frederick A. Douglass Branch Library
3353 W. 13th St., Chicago (map)

The expression “sent up the river” was coined by individuals who were sent up the Hudson River to do their time at the infamous Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. FIRST DEGREE finds hope in this seemingly hopeless place by exploring an unusual prison education program that appears to keep Sing Sing inmates from being sent back up the river after their release. Nationwide, over half of released inmates return to prison within five years, but for the past 14 years, less than 1% of the inmates who earned their college degrees at Sing Sing returned to prison.

Continue reading ‘Chicago Premiere of a New Documentary—Sat., October 22’

Poetry from the Inside—Weds., September 28

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Join us with the Poetry Center of Chicago and Free Write Jail Arts & Literacy for:

Poetry from the Inside:
A Collaborative Reading and Book Drive

Wednesday, September 28, 7–9 pm
Chicago Art Department
1932 S Halsted St., Suite 100 (map)

There will be a reading from several of Free Write’s former students who were previously incarcerated in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

The incarcerated women we serve send us many poems, and we’re delighted that acclaimed poets Hannah Gamble and Erika L. Sánchez will read a few this evening: Continue reading ‘Poetry from the Inside—Weds., September 28’

Laughs Unlocked benefit show—Tues., April 5

Laughs Unlocked banner

Prison is no laughing matter—but we’ll make an exception this time because some of the best improvisors in Chicago are throwing us a benefit!

In this two-act show they’ll create scenes based on stories from Dionna Griffin-Irons. Griffin-Irons, who was formerly incarcerated, is a writer, alumna of Second City, and current Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the legendary comedy theatre. Continue reading ‘Laughs Unlocked benefit show—Tues., April 5’

Book Event with Maya Schenwar & Crystal Laura—Mon., March 7 in Evanston

prison reform

We’re proud to co-sponsor this event with Cabrini Green Legal Aid—in particular our friends at CLAIM, a program of CGLA.

Come join authors Maya Schenwar and Crystal T. Laura as they explore the impact of prison on their families and advocate for sweeping change to the criminal justice system. Schenwar will share her recent book Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better, and Laura will discuss her book Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Continue reading ‘Book Event with Maya Schenwar & Crystal Laura—Mon., March 7 in Evanston’

Join Us for a Benefit Dinner—Tuesday, January 19

EatsSweetslogoUpdated January 15: SOLD OUT!

Our friends at Eats & Sweets Cafe are celebrating Dolly Parton’s 70th birthday with a fundraiser for us. Dolly is well known for her literacy program Imagination Library, and Eats & Sweets owners Tim and Margaret wanted to support an organization that works to improve literacy. We’re delighted to be honored in this way—all the more as Eats & Sweets is right in the neighborhood and their food is delicious.

There will also be a book drive the week before, as well as a photo booth and raffle at the dinner. Reservations are required and costumes are optional. Learn more and make your reservation today. We look forward to seeing you there! Continue reading ‘Join Us for a Benefit Dinner—Tuesday, January 19’

Book Talk & Discussion with Maya Schenwar—Sun., Nov. 22 in Evanston

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Meet author Maya Schenwar, a good friend of Chicago Books to Women in Prison, and join the discussion.

Locked Down, Locked Out looks at how prison tears families and communities apart, creating a ripple effect that touches every corner of our society. Through the stories of prisoners and their families, as well as her own family’s experience of her sister’s incarceration, Schenwar shows how the institution that locks up 2.3 million Americans—and decimates poor communities of color—is shredding the ties that, if nurtured, could foster real collective safety.

Plan now to attend this free book talk and discussion.

Sunday, November 22, 12:30 p.m.
Unitarian Church of Evanston
1330 Ridge Avenue (map)
(parking lot and entrance on Greenwood)

For more information, call 847-864-1330 or visit www.ucevanston.org.

Change in Action: People & Prisons—Tues., September 15 at After-Words Books

You’re invited!

Hear two formerly incarcerated women speak on the importance of books during their time in prison.

− Learn how Chicago organizations are responding to prison issues
− Engage in discussion with community leaders and the formerly incarcerated
− Discover the wide range of ways you can become involved

Change in Action: People & Prisons

Tuesday, September 15, 6:30 p.m.
After-Words New and Used Books
23 E. Illinois St., Chicago

One block south of the Grand (Red Line) station
Parking can be found one block east at 430 N. Rush St.

Food and drinks will be served

In collaboration with our friends

− Black and Pink
− CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy to Incarcerated Mothers) with Visible Voices
− Community Renewal Society with F.O.R.C.E
− Liberation Library

Let us know you’re coming on the Facebook event page.

Download the event flyer.


3,738 packages so far in 2017!

That’s 3,239 packages of books and 499 blank journals—and counting. In 2016 we sent 3,901 packages (3,310 packages of books and 591 blank journals). Many thanks to all our supporters! (updated October 15, 2017)

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Learn what we’re looking for now (updated September 10, 2017)

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