Your donation will connect people behind bars with the outside world.
Human Kind United will salvage these people who have been written off and broken. We will engage inmates via mail call: the one moment everyone in a cage looks forward to. Through correspondence, inmates will receive hopeful as well as provocative messages, develop their understanding of inequities, and share their insights with the world. This is critical if we are to reform the prison industrial complex as well as address the injustices that occur before and after humans are incarcerated.
The broad menu of project components will be coordinated by a former prisoner. It will be offered through a vibrant timebank currently operating in southern New Mexico, in which people from all walks of life exchange services with each other.
Human Kind United consists of six components: (1) a print newsletter sent to inmates; (2) pen pal pairs on the inside and outside who co-create narratives and art that speak to societal inequities; (3) a website that shares these and other creative works beyond the prison walls; (4) inmates who participate in advocacy efforts to reform the prison system; (5) inmates’ family members who join the timebank and utilize the time credits earned by their loved ones behind bars; and (6) meaningful employment for former inmates.
With your help, we can bring community members on both sides of the wall together to fight injustice as well as build social cohesion. Please join us by donating as you are able!
--$32 will pay for the postage and supplies for one inmate to receive the newsletter for a year.
--$50 will cover the costs for a former inmate to process the letters between a pair of pen pals for a year.
--$125 will purchase drawing and writing supplies to award the winners of one online writing/art contest for inmates.
Human Kind United is a project of Doña Ana Communities United (DACU). It will extend the documented benefits of DACU's existing timebank to a broader audience, resulting in positive change on three levels: individual, relational, and systemic. The project will be carried out in a collaborative fashion by a diverse team of Dona Ana Communities United members, including former inmates. Human Kind United will be sustained through an innovative combination of foundation funding, donations, and timebank hour credits.
To learn more about DACU's initiatives to advance health equity in southern New Mexico, including social equity mapping and our timebank, visit our website!
Continue reading for detailed information about the six components of Human Kind United:
1. Newsletter to inmates:
Daedalus Ink is a thought-provoking secular missive already being initiated by Raúl Esparza, a former prisoner of the New Mexico State Correctional System. The monthly issues will feature prose and art related to social justice themes. In addition to mailing the newsletter to inmates, we will publish it online so family members can send portions of it with their own letters to loved ones who are incarcerated.
2. Pen pals:
People in custody will be matched with members of our existing timebank, a vibrant community of 250+ residents who exchange services using time as their currency. The partners on the outside will come from varied walks of life, many learning about the realities of prison for the first time. Both parties will remain anonymous in order to keep motives pure. The pen pal correspondence will focus on narratives and collaborative art projects that speak to inequities in our society. This project component will enable inmates to develop the critical social connections needed to survive and heal, as well as foster an inclusive community that circumvents the wall.
3. Website featuring inmates' works:
Writing and drawing contests on social justice themes will be held for incarcerated individuals, with materials awarded that enable them to further pursue these crafts. With inmates' permission, their works will be featured on the Human Kind United website. This platform will provide an opportunity for people in custody to develop their talents as well as be heard by a wide audience on the outside.
4. Policy advocacy:
People in custody will collaborate with DACU staff and other organizations in our efforts to educate policymakers about mass incarceration. Communication will be primarily through letters. Incarcerated individuals are crucial to this work: they are the only ones who can describe with any certainty the current conditions in our nation's prisons, and they have the lived experience and ingenuity needed to inform successful out-of-the-box reforms.
5. Timebanking for inmates' families:
Family members of inmates will join our existing timebank. This will enable them to exchange services with other members at no charge. At the same time, their loved ones in custody will be earning timebank credits through their participation in components 2-4 of the project, which their family members will be able to redeem. Inmates will gain a sense of pride by providing for their families, while their family members will broaden their social support networks.
6. Dignified work for ex-cons:
Human Kind United will employ three formerly incarcerated individuals at a living wage. They will develop marketable skills in time management, communication, web design, and database management as they carry out components 1-5 of the project. They will work alongside DACU staff members and timebank volunteers as full partners.